Blogging and Writing: is there a difference?

An example of a social network diagram.Image via Wikipedia

The social networking merry-go-round continues turning. It’s not all fun and games and party and let’s all wear hats on Seesmic today type stuff … though that’s fun too. There are more than enough engaging conversationalists and provocateurs out there with something to contribute to the hive and to keep us all ticking over, thinking, responding in words, images and sounds.

The other night I responded to Terry Freedman’s video post on Seesmic. He wanted to know how teachers were using Seesmic.  Here’s the thread: Terry’s to me and mine to him with a link to a blog post I’d written a while back.

Terry’s a UK-based writer who’s been commissioned to go beyond the chatter and to do some research on the way we’re communicating on and offline these days. He’s keen to get some responses from users with a point of view to share. Here’s the link with more details.

By the way Terry got back to me via Facebook with this request to pass it on.  This blog post is going to find its way to my FriendFeed, and via that to a whole lot of other social networks and friends of friends … and so the message goes on its merry viral way.

Anyhow please help Terry out or post your response here if you’d like. I’m sure he’ll get it either way.

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8 responses to “Blogging and Writing: is there a difference?”

  1. Ken Allan Avatar

    Kia ora Kate!

    A most interesting take you gave of the use of this technology. No Kate, I won't record a video comment, not that I'm in any way opposed to that new technology.

    Y'know, it's very postmodern, this video comment business. Jaques Derrida would be smiling at the exploration that's going on right now. But something you mentioned about the whole media thing, and the word, I mean the written word, caught my ear.

    In many ways the written word is a metaphor, as you and I have discussed before. That can provide a genuine barrier to communication. But the video comment cannot easily permit the commenter to annotate what is being spoken about the way I have done in the sentence at the start of this paragraph. In this way, the video comment would not permit another 'reader' to easily understand the reference that I may even have given cursorily in the video comment to our previous conversation on the word as a metaphor.

    For all that I can see that Derrida's idea permitted the speaker to cut to the chase, I wonder about the use of these other, most powerful attributes of the human mind, the imagination and ability to reflect given enough time to do this effectively (not that I think one can't do some of these when 'reading' a video comment).

    Writing, for me, provides a reflecting tool in itself. What I say when I'm writing might be subtly different to how I might say it in a video comment. Who is to judge which of these methods of communication would convey the most expressive meaning?

    Derrida might have argued that the video comment would be the way to go. I would argue that the video may provide distractions that conveyed other things, such as facial expression, tone of voice (and even body language, if you are warmed to that sort of thing). And Derrida might have pounced on that and used it as a prime reason for using the video comment in the first place.

    There is a debate going on at the moment about the merits of learning styles. I suspect that some of the factors that may be seen to be involved in all this would be pertinent to what we are discussing here too. Does the video switch you on? Does someone talking directly to you stimulate your interest in what's being said (more than a written comment about the same)? For sure, if the reader/listener is interested, then it may be logical to assume that the communication would be more effective.

    The fact is, they are totally different media, as different as a series of still pictures is from the video shoot from which it may have been taken. To argue that one is better than the other in conveying meaning comes down to aesthetics, steeped in the realm of the creative interpreter. But if interpretation is a major player here, we are talking about quite a different aspect of communication.

    Ka kite
    from Middle-earth

  2. Kate Foy Avatar

    Hi Ken
    lovely to hear from you again. It's been a while between drinks. I've been MIA in northern parts but back for a month or so now, and exercising the curiosity muscle in a slew of other platforms. I want to get back to reflective blogging aka using words!

    Thanks so much for your comments. Like you, I love words … crafting them and using them to suit my purposes. Yes, they help me to reflect and to extend the conversation … which is blogging … in a way that the asynchronous conversation of platforms such as Seesmic tend not to.

    I wonder whether you might not be interested in this post I made a few days ago in a conversation on Seesmic. It addresses some of the matters you raise in your post and agrees on each media's difference and 'value' in terms of a communication tool.

    By the way, a 'voice person' I disagree that you can't 'annotate what is being spoken' for the reader. What is inflective nuance and facial expression … linguistic choices made on the fly and so on … if not annotation … though I may be misinterpreting your use of the term.

    I'm also interested in your further thoughts on your final statement about 'interpretation' as a 'major player.' I'm afraid I'm sufficiently po-mo in believing that reading of all kinds is a creative activity.

    I look forward to your comments … ooh this is fun stuff, eh?

  3. kallan Avatar

    T?n? koe Kate!

    By 'annotate', I meant put a link to a previous post, as I did when I wrote of our previous conversation on 'the word as a metaphor'. I also put a link, later in my comment, about the debate on learning styles.

    How could I have done this in a video comment? I guess I may have simply spoken about the link and popped it in as a written comment – no joy lost there presumably.

    I do appreciate the nuance of voice tone, timing, emphasis, facial expression, etc, but as I also mentioned, these can be distracters that lead to misinterpretation.

    Arthur C Clarke, who had an amazing imagination, believed that communication and its effectiveness depended strongly on connotation, previous knowledge and understanding, and the commonality of experience. He typified the barriers in communication by referring to the extreme example of a human civilization attempting to communicate and interact intelligently with an alien civilization. His postulate was that the commonality of ideas, objects and thought patterns would be so meagre, almost non-existent (he reckoned less than 0.1%) that intelligent communication would be practically impossible.

    I guess there will come a time when he may be proved right or wrong 🙂

    Ka kite
    from Middle-earth

  4. Kate Foy Avatar

    Cheers Ken!

    You actually can link to a previous video post … at least in the Seesmic platform… as 'conversations' are threaded, each has a permalink, and it's possible to provide a hot-link and written comment underneath each video 'pane.' I 'annotated' my last reply to you with a hotlink to another conversation … mixed media eh? The issue of 'scanning' a video post quickly, as one can do with a piece of written text, remains a challenge for the technical designers. I am sure it will come!

    As for Clarke and his take on the difficulty of communication between different 'intelligent' species because of the non-existence of pre-existing connotative 'prompts' or a shared vocabulary … I have no argument. However, we're working in the realm of communication amongst members of the same species, where certain culturally specific, non-verbal 'signs' can and do lead to misinterpretation. However I would suggest that a text may contain verbal and linguistic choices ( not confined to the lack of a shared vocabulary) which are also open to minsinterpretation. And of course, that opens the whole issue of content and its relationship to meaning.

    Shivers, it's a bit late for all this!

  5. kallan Avatar

    Thanks for the insight on video posting. Not being a video-commenter, I'm not familiar with the ins and outs of the technology with linking to previous video posts. I guess the same applies to links to blog posts.
    Ka kite

  6. Kate Foy Avatar

    Hi Ken
    and just a little while back not many of us old hands hadn't a clue
    about blogging and all that stuff! Cheers.
    On another note, hope early spring is lovely over the ditch! Spent the
    morning planting roses, lavenders and other goodies in some new garden

  7. kallan Avatar

    Yes, spring started well but has deteriorated recently 🙂
    Though I love the summer, I have fond memories of some wonderful springs:

    Above The Wallflower

    Of all the pleasure gardens bring,
    The handsome pied Red Admiral
    Must touch the zenith of the spring
    With form and grace ephemeral;

    To see these patterned wings full spread
    In all but a fleeting glance,
    Fine lace veil in feathered thread,
    Enraptured eyes in trance

    Will follow with a languid gaze
    The soft hypnotic flutter,
    Through the soporific haze,

    Near honey scented bower,
    Gliding with a liquid ease
    Above the blood-red wallflower.

  8. Kate Foy Avatar

    Thank you Ken. Your poem is the nicest spring gift so far. The rain
    falls softly on the roof as I speak … 1.04am and winding down after
    a great night in the theatre.

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