Notes from a Laptop

April 3, 2008

A blog is not an online diary!

Filed under: Blogs,dangers — Lindajay @ 10:45 am

diary.jpgQuite often people describe a blog as an online diary, and while to some extent and in some instances this could be true, I think it can be a misguided answer.

Think about what a diary has been to most people – a place to write their secret thoughts, an account of their love life maybe, and probably something kept locked away from prying eyes. On the other hand, a blog (though it can be a private stream of thoughts) is most often a place to be shared with a wide audience.

I make this comment after seeing entries made by students on different blogs – entries without proper grammar, little, if any, puncuation and sometimes questionable statements for online discussion. The use of text/SMS language is also occasionally used. With moderation, this can be discussed with students, and adjusted if necessary. (There could be appropriate places and blogs on which to diverge from conventional grammar and spelling, of course.)

Overly revealing comments are probably of more concern. We need to have a conversation about what is and isn’t appropriate to place on blogs and social networking sites, since many students have their own Facebook, Meebo or MySpace pages – even if access at school is banned.

Examples of the possible risks of overexposure and need for privacy considerations have been highlighted recently in the media. Already facing troubles with respect to his night club activities, Nick D’Arcy (potential Olympics swimmer) has had photos from Facebook plastered over the newspapers. Team-mate, Stephanie Rice, has also had personal photos revealed in the media. The consequences of this is unknown, but I sure sure his family is feeling very exposed at the moment.

While not directly linked to blogging, this is a useful example to discuss with our students about online posting – a great warning to be careful what you post. An oft quoted rule could be useful here: if you wouldn’t want your grandmother/parents/ boss to read it/see it, then don’t post it. A useful video on YouTube to illustrate this is ‘Think before you post’, It’s also provides a good reason to talk about blogs in broader terms than ‘online diaries’. They are so much more than that!

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