Writing Machines is the course website for English 170L at Pomona College in Claremont, California.
It's already been said in numerous posts that the increased blogging activity in the last day has been quite interesting and amusing. This has been the first time that I have visibly seen evidence of shared procrastination, and yet again, is another sign that this class has done so much for me in changing the way I view academics and knowledge exchange. Also, coming to this blog the last day has given me seizures. I can't keep up with all the new posts! It actually forces me to skim everyone's entries just because there's so many, whereas before I actually read all the entries word for word.
At a loss for words...
Currently reading up on Alternative Dance Competitions while MC Frontalot blares via Winamp in the background (more on the genre "Nerdcore HipHop" in... umm... never)... and i'm realizing the internets [sic] are a wonderful thing. A Slashdot debate pointed me in the direction of a Business Week article about a lawsuit that (from TFA) "is reviving debate over whether Web overuse may be classified as an addiction." Not going to touch that one with a ten foot pole, but it goes something along the lines of "Sure I was chatting in a sex chat room at work but... I've got a serious addiction to the interweb so you're not allowed to fire me."
Early in the semester, we asked the question 'What is a blog?' John McCain has a definitive answer. In a new and frightening piece of legislation a blog is defined as "any site that allows comments, authors and personal profiles." His bill proposes that blog sites be responsible for all content in their comments and user profiles. Its ostensible purpose is to curb the distribution of child pornography, but in reality its effects will be much more wide-ranging. Blogs are required to report any illegal images or videos that are posted or face stiff fines. Bloggers will have to police themselves, and since they may not know whether an image is copyrighted or "legal" some might have to shut down rather than risk paying the huge fines.
I just ran across a really interesting blog post on The Daily Dish about the nature of interpersonal connections online, particularly on blogs. It's definitely worth a read.
It makes me think a lot about the nature of online communication. I don't necessarily agree with the commenter in the above post that online communication is false. I would argue that it is just incomplete. Blogs (and forums, chatrooms, etc.) offer a way of connecting with people outside of their normal context. It's hard to get an accurate picture of someone if you never see them interact with their real-life friends, family and co-workers.
This is in response to Oz's post about email diaries. I had a similar experience at one point a few years ago, except mine occured on IM. I have a friend who I was intially introduced to by a mutual friend in real life, but who I first got to know well on IM. We were both working boring summer jobs far away from our normal circles of friends, so we ended up talking online a lot, sometimes for hours every day. When we got back to school, we started to see eachother in real life more, but we kept up with the incessant IM conversations for a long time.
It was, I believe, during Pimm's presentation about Online Diaries that someone brought up how email correspondence sometimes becomes diaristic in nature. This leads me to a somewhat embarrassing confession: I am engaged in just such a correspondence. In and of itself, that revelation may not seem all that embarrassing, but embarrassment is all in the details.
The correspondence originated earlier this semester, shortly after a point in late September when I decided to quit AIM like a smoking habit I could no longer afford.
This blog has (among many other, more important functions) shown me the multitude of different ways in which people procrastinate. For what it's worth, I procrastinate by reading the news compulsively, and I just came across an article on BBC.com about this game called "Left Behind: Eternal Forces." Maybe some of you have heard about the Left Behind book series, which is a Christian series about, as far as I can tell, the apocalypse. The series is bestselling, and it looks like now they've made a game based off of it. Sounds like a pretty typical formula.
The above title is my manner of expressing that when it rains, it really freakin' pours, and also of giving voice to some of my frustration over how life-consuming academics can be. Is this in line with other people's experience of the end of semester? It always seems to happen that each fall and each spring, right around finals time, everything hits at once, and work is demanding ALL of my attention, but so are a million other things, generally emotionally volatile things, and it's the emotional things that are constantly gnawing at the edges of my thinking, and at the center of that thinking is the work, but it's the emotionally gnawing things that I'd much, much rather be attending to.
My dad works for Disney, so by the graces of nepotism I spent a number of my high school summers interning for said corporation, usually on pretty cool projects. That's not to say that my working contributions to these projects were all that cool or interesting. After a summer spent sticking things in filing cabinets, I graduated to printing and photocopying. There was, however, an organizational component to the print and photocopy project that actually required some use of brainpower: my assignment was to print out the entirety of the existing Disneyland website (which contained over 1,500 discrete pages), and then figure out some way, via lots of tabs and color coordinating, to organize those pages in an easy-to-access manner among several large binders.
It's true that the end of semester increase in post frequency has allowed for a lot of fun interaction. It also seems that without a ton of class reading to discuss, people are making fewer monologues and are actually responding to eachother, which I think is fun.
Early on, we talked a lot about whether blogs were truly interactive, or whether they offered a false interactivity. I think in these last few weeks I've gotten a better sense of the kind of interactivity that really serious bloggers manage. Professional bloggers often post several times a day, and when you have a group of peop