Wednesday, January 16, 2008

Quarter it.*

We have made our way through a quarter of the Winter quarter (which, if my math is correct,1 means we're a full sixteenth through the school year, give or take Daylight Saving Time), and look at how far the class blogs have come. With each passing week they get clearer in focus, fatter with ideas, and dressier with the pictures and lists of links and the like that lace the text. As a regular viewer of the blogs, I appreciate the lushness provided by the accoutrement of the blogosphere, although I can understand how some may be wary of too many frills. As with both putting together a winning ensemble in fashion and crafting a text online, we should rarely strive to sport flair for flair’s sake. However, if I’ve learned anything from those 5 minutes of House of Style that I watched back in November of 1994,2 it’s that sometimes the accessories bring additional meaning to the whole outfit.

And that’s the philosophy here. I hope that the choices that the students make when they trick out their blogs will add something to the texts as a whole. Surely, we find blogs with whimsical pictures and colors aesthetically pleasing, but these visuals also affect the way we view the text. A site with only words written in one of the standard Blogger templates will often be written off as “unserious,” and, depending upon the quality of the writing, “stark raving insane.” Those who humanize their blogs invite readers to put their feet up, sit with the blogs for a spell, indulge in the not-too-tart-not-too-sweet flavor of their prose. And the writers—I hope—achieve a stronger sense of ownership over their journals. If nothing else, perhaps they’ll be happy to fess up to the fact that they made that lemonade.

*With a wink and a nod to my high-school gambling buddies. You know who you are.
1 It isn’t.
2 I haven’t.

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