Friday, March 21, 2003

As We May Blog: My Response to The Survey

Dear Kara:

From one cyberstudies person to another, I'm really looking forward to seeing the results of your work. Myself, I'm working on best-practice methods for blog curriculum integration at a bleeding-edge technology-using Prep school; if you think your work might benefit from a discussion with a teacher teaching blogging to teachers and students, let me know and I'd be happy to chat. Survey follows:

*** Questionnaire ***
1. How long have you maintained your blog?

5 months or so.

2. In the last week, how many entries did you post on your blog?

Twenty two. It's been a slow week.

3. In the last week, how many hours have you spent writing entries for your blog, or otherwise maintaining your blog?

About eight -- average an a day, plus or minus.

4. In the last week, approximately how many hyperlinks to external web sites (not your own) did you post within your entries?

43 hyperlinks TO external sites, but there was some site duplication (two docs/pages at one address, for example). Figure 35 different sites linked to, if that's a more useful statistic.

5. Look at your first entry for 3/20/03. If you do not have an entry on that day, use the next entry after that time. Did you include a
hyperlink in that entry?

Two, actually.

6. If yes, what page did that hyperlink point to?


7. (If you remember), where did you first encounter that hyperlink?

1. Went hunting for it [via google] to create the link. The linked text is the title of a book by today's all-school speaker; the link .
2. Known it for some time -- it's the URL of the school where I teach.

8. In general, how do you find the links that you add to your blog entries?

Pretty equally split, two ways

1/2 wandering the web, something catches my eye and I "blog it" using blogger's right-click "blog this" option, adding comments alongside.
1/2 I'm talking about something I did (went to a museum, ate dinner at a nice restaurant) or purchased (like a new CD, or a puppet), and I use google to find the address so others can see what I'm talkiing about.

9. What criteria do you use to decide if you will add an external hyperlink to your blog entries?

Generally, if it is the kind of thing I'd tell people about if they were right there, I "tell people about it" by blogging it. Maybe it's funny; maybe it is politically interesting or thought-provoking; maybe it's relevant to something I was alreadyt hinking about.

10. Do you list permanent links to other blogs (such as a blogroll)?

Yes, but not with a blogroll -- I have a hand-coded list. It's short (maybe 20 blogs).

11. If yes, what criteria do you use to decide if you will add those blogs to your site?

Essentially, the criteria is whether I read them or not. Some of them are people I know from Real Life; most are just blogs I found when surfing and they struck my fancy. All are blogs I follow, albeit some more sporadially than others.

12. Do you list permanent links to other web sites (other than blogs)?

Yes. The list includes museums, jigsaw puzzles, and my own thesis work.

13. If so, what criteria do you use to decide if you will add those links to your site?

In all cases, permalinks to non-blog websites are selected because their content relates to my persona. I read (or have been published) at some; I used to (or still) work at others. Some are websites of mine (poetry, Media Literacy course), or to which I am connected in some way.

14. Approximately how many hours do you spend surfing the Internet in a typical day?

Not counting blogging, since that's not "surfing?" About a half an hour per day, mostly in increments of just a minute or two. .

15. What sources do you rely on the most for your news information?

5 different media, one "channel" each, all used daily:

The Boston Globe (hard copy). local NPR stations. The Daily Show at 11:00 p.m. each night. The grapevine -- when you live at a prep school, news is contantly buzzing through the community.

16. If applicable, please describe how you interact with other blogs. This would include, but is not limited to, leaving comments, following hyperlinks
from entries, and following hyperlinks from blogrolls.

Ready for the most unique answer you'll be receiving from this question?

I am actually HOSTING someone else's blog IN MY COMMENTS. Really. It started spontaneously, but the potential seemed too interesting for me to make Shaw, the blog's owner, stop. We're trying a sociological experiment. The term I've been using for it is blogsquatting, but underblogging or Guerillablogging works just as well. If you want to see how that's working, check it out here.

Other than that, my primary way of interacting with other blogs is by following referrer sites back from my bravenet visitor counter, which means I also read the blogs of those who have linked to me. I also like to click on random blognames that sound tasty at; I see one or two new blogs a day with that method. .

I leave comments seldom but not never, follow hyperlinks from entries often but not always, and regularly follow a small number of blogs, maybe six or seven, reading each more than three times a week.

17. What criteria, if any, do you use to decide whether or not you will follow a hyperlink?

In blog entries, it depends on whether I am interested in the original source as presented by the blog author. If the entry seems to say all there is to say about the linked item, why follow it? On the other hand, if the blog entry is a recommendation, it would have to be something I'd already be interested in. Mostly, that's quirky things about people and institutions.

On and on other people's blogrolls/permalinks, most often, it's the name of the website, actually.

18. If applicable, please describe how visitors to your blog interact with you.

Almost exclusively through my own comments -- we've had some heated discussion. I do have a guestmap but it isn't featured prominently on the page, and few people find it.

19. Is your writing style and content affected by having visitors to your site? If so, how?

I do occasionally say hi to my readers. Intellectually and habitually, I know they are real people. But stylistically, blogging ends up a bit like being on the radio -- because you can't SEE your readers, they're not fully real. They are, we might say, unrealized. To make them feel real, I necessarily clothe them with my own projected image, somewhat amorphously. Although I am externalizing my thoughts, I think more than anything I clothe the people I encounter with, mostly, a double of myself, for whom else do I have to project upon others than my own imagined mind?

I feel very natural talking to myself in public; I'm a teacher, after all, and I have been a radio DJ for many, many years. Tonally, I do think I was a bit stiff when I started, but I think eventually I stopped thinking about it, and I believe - although I cannot be sure -- that my now the "voice" I use is essentially my own "diary voice."

As for content selection, yes, there are some things, mostly secrets, both my own and those I hold for others, which are not for blogging. For some reason, I seem to have a lot of secrets.

20. What web sites, if any, have you visited today?

Well,, with the War on.

I visited Google several times, and a specific page on through google twice.

I visited my own blog a bunch of times. I checked out the photo of the day at I went to I visited my own syllabus for the class I was teaching today at so I knew what I was planning on doing today in class.

Please add any other comments about blogging or reactions to this survey.

There are at least five entries in my own blog which specifically address the sociological meaning and ramifications of the Blog as Medium. They are VERY easy to find: they're listed at the top of all my blogpages, on the right.

May I send a follow up survey to you?

Please do!

Thank you for your participation! Please refer to my site in the next few
days for preliminary results!

posted by boyhowdy | 1:30 AM |

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