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   Friday, May 02, 2003  
MA / writing exercises
Writing Exercise: Week One
One Letter in Each Word.

On Fridays for the next couple of weeks I'm going to post a writing exercise. If you do the exercise and post it on your blog please let me know and I'll link to you. If you don't have a blog, you can send me the exercise and I'll post it here, or you could write it in the comments.

This week's exercise involves writing a paragraph where every word contains the letter "E". An example of this can be found at Eunoia.

Suggested themes: exercise, mime, chance, nervous.

Here is mine (and yes, it doesn't make a whole lot of sense):

We have favourites, everyone does. Ever considered, when everything ends, whether these choices, these seemingly easily reached impulses mean something? The neuroglia cells are the glue- they hold together the nerve cells, their processes. They insulate. Tasting, hearing, seeing, feeling- these are the nervous system’s bequests. The betrayal’s inevitable, really- when we aren’t observing they begin the treacherous, darkening descent. They leave crushed notes under grocery items, confessing they desire freedom, rest, blankness.
Outside, the thunder mutters- the digestive system made large.

And some entries by others:

(is anyone else having problems with Blogger and archives? When I tried linking to the exact post for Doug and Boynton I got a blogspot error message. I'm having similar probs with my own archives.)

Thankyou for your contribution.
   posted by *mcb* at 8:24 AM


   Thursday, May 01, 2003  
MA / future
Future Blog

When I was trying to pre-empt questions that I might get asked on Friday Pluck last week I made myself think about what might happen to blogs in the near future. This is not something I really like to do- I live in fear that the whole thing will turn out to be a short-lived fad that will vanish before I finish my MA, leaving me with an embarrassingly outdated project.

It could happen, I guess, but I rather suspect that the blog will be around for a little while longer (oh please, at least for the next 2 years...). This is what I think the blog format has going for it:

-It's a very useful tool to the researcher, particularly the researcher of online resources. It is a useful way of keeping track of their progress, especially as all discoveries are date-stamped and routinely archived.

-They attract the attention of other people with similar interests so that clusters form. Clusters make the format stronger and everyone within the cluster benefits from the accumulated knowledge.

-The researcher with a blog receives feedback and assistance throughout the course of their research- links to similar resources that the commenter thinks the researcer may find useful, praise or corrections may be offered of pieces already written. Blogs are works in progress and ammendments can be easily made. Most bloggers tend to make corrections by using a STRIKE tag. In reviewing a blog this is useful to show what changes in thinking have happened for the researcher.

-If any money is to be made from blogging it will probably need to find some kind of application in the workplace. Knowledge logs where the collective knowledge of the workers is published in a centralised place, accessible to all seems like a good idea, in theory. To work well, however, it would require the commitment of all the workers, from the ground right up. I'm sure it will be attempted, but I suspect that it will only really be successful in small, tight-knit working communities or where various members of the team do not work in an office.

-Viral marketing is already taking place using the blog format. Barbie has one. Beck and Moby have one. Isn't there a Dr Pepper blog too, somewhere? Blogs lend themselves to advertising- it has the first person voice, you build up a relationship with the writer. You click on the links they provide, you read their book reviews. Inevitably, if blogging sticks around, there will be "cash for comment" type blogs where the advertising is not overt, but insidiously slipped in amongst the posts. Of course, people write about products or movies they like on blogs all the time already. But the difference happens once people are being paid to endorse something. It'll happen. Of course it will.

-Blogs do not pose a realistic threat to mainstream print and broadcast news. But they are a popular source of information online. People like the feeling that they are reading information that has not had to fit the constraints of a newspaper consortium. Inevitably, the online news services will include bloggers as part of their line up, which, of course, in many ways will defeat the whole point of blogging. Doesn't The Guardian already have a blogger?

A number of blogs have recently linked to William Gibson's comments that once he starts his new book he will stop blogging. Others, such as Stephen Johnson, as Jill has pointed out, feel that blogging has helped them with their writing. Perhaps for some writers, then, blogging might be a way of testing out new ideas and receiving feedback early on in the research stage of a book or article.

This is some initial thoughts on the future of blogging. Your thoughts welcomed.
   posted by *mcb* at 9:00 AM


MA / knowledge logs
Workplace blog

The Right Foot has started a new job this week and emailed me yesterday to ask my thoughts on setting up a work place blog for the seven staff he works with. His idea is that it would be a way of keeping staff informed of day-to-day issues as well as a way of recording all those bits of data that get lost in Word docs and emails.

I, of course, said that I thought it would be a great idea. The only concern he has is about privacy issues if this information was on the internet, but it could be password protected or it could be an intranet version. Anyway, I hope it gets off the ground because I'd be very interested to see how it went and how the staff responded. Blogging seems to be the sort of thing that people either take to or find pointless.

Anyway, it'd be a very interesting experiment. I've heard this kind of model suggested in articles but I don't know of anyone who has actually implemented blogging in the workplace (but I daresay there are some.) It's further proof, if any was needed, that librarians know where it's at.
   posted by *mcb* at 8:30 AM


   Wednesday, April 30, 2003  
MA / writing / blog format
Memorial Blog

Bernard Lane has been keeping Milon's Memory since September last year. Lane calls it a "living obituary", memories and fragments of information about a friend of his who died 20 years ago. Teh site has recently been updated and has a new look and feel. The first thing that you notice is that it breaks the blog convention by having the oldest entries at the top, so that you need to scroll down to read the most recent ones. I can see why Lane decided to do this- he wanted to have Milon's picture and some information concerning the blog's purpose at the top of the page, so that it did not get lost in the archives.

I've written about this project before and I think it works really well. I think the blog format lends itself very well to a memorial, especially a memorial of someone who died such a long time ago. These recollections are likely to be fragmentary and disjointed, and will arrive in fits and starts. The blog is a perfect vehicle for these pieces, along with the blog expectation that this is a continuing concern, not a static, finished piece and that regular visits will reward the reader with further information.
   posted by *mcb* at 8:45 AM


Celebrity Blogs

Beck has joined Moby and now has a blog (although he calls it a journal). I wonder if it's good marketing? I also wonder how long it is before lazy celebrities hire writers to keep a blog for them?

Funny to read Beck's recent entries, as he's been in Australia. He talks about visiting Federation Square being a guest programmer on Rage and even paying a visit to The Melbourne Zoo.
   posted by *mcb* at 8:31 AM


   Tuesday, April 29, 2003  
Masters- chat Chili Lights
flashing chili lights. Our real chili lights don't actually flash, but that wouldn't be a very interesting animated gif, would it?

What are you doing?

I'm watching our chili lights flash.
Doesn't the flashing become annoying after a while?
Probably. I'll let you know.
I think it's just an excuse for using an animated gif.

previous Grumpy Girl
   posted by *mcb* at 8:46 AM


   Monday, April 28, 2003  
MA / interview

A friend of mine, the wonderous KB, is currently doing some work for a show on Channel 31- Friday Pluck. She emailed me late last week and asked if I would be a guest and I said Sure, why not. So last Friday I turned up at RMIT for my first live-to-air TV experience. I woke up that day a touch petrified that the host (KB's brother) would ask me questions I didn't know how to answer and that they would receive millions of emails from angry bloggers asking why on earth they had this pseudo blogger on the show, who clearly knew nothing about the topic. This didn't happen- he asked good, and easy questions about what blogging exactly is, how can you tell if a blogger is who they say they are (we discussed blog hoaxes) and why you might want to start a blog. It was fine.

Acutally, it was really quite fun. I have a rather simplistic world view which helps me at these times. I am only aware of the audience that I can see. So as there were only about 10 people in the room, I felt like only 10 people were watching. And as I only told Petite that it was on, so I was fairly confident that no one I knew would see me, except accidentally. This helped, too.

The other guest was a woman from scienceworks who performed a couple of simple science experiments / party tricks, including that thing where you pull a table cloth out from under a dinner set. I was most impressed. Apparently, the trick is to have a shiny table and a slippery tablecloth.
   posted by *mcb* at 8:43 AM


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