I just got a note from…

I just got a note from the department asking if we'd be interested in teaching next summer, and if so, what. In the course of replying, I realized that there's a class I'd really like to teach at some point, especially if someone will pay me to do so:

Course title: Writing Nonfiction: Blogging

Course pitch: My personal blog is actually one of the five oldest on the internet (established in December 1995), according to the Online Diary History Project, and I'd be excited to teach a course on blogging, which could fall either under the creative writing nonfiction category, or some sort of contemporary lit / media studies? We'd look at the history of blogging over the past decade, from early personal expression to individual marketing to community building to serious news reporting, etc. and so on. At the end of the course I'd probably want to focus on a few particular genres that have emerged as major players: military blogging, mom-blogging (I'm a member of the Chicago Moms' Blog), ethnic culture blogging (Sepia Mutiny, for example), tech blogging (BoingBoing), confessional and/or protest blogging (the infertility/adoption/birthmother blogs are fascinating in this regard). The students could create their own blogs if they haven't already as part of the course requirements; I can lead them through that process, and we'd talk about privacy concerns, personal/professional divide, legal worries, etc. and so on. This class would work better as an eight-week or longer class, so they could follow various blogs over time.

Doesn't that sound like fun? Maybe the department will think so too...

3 thoughts on “I just got a note from…”

  1. That is a neat idea! And if they’re forward thinking, they’ll realize that they could be on the forefront of something big in being the first (or one of the first?) to teach this.

  2. Cool! There are really a lot of different blogs out there. There are also ‘home blogs’, most books these days either have blogs or a website associated with them.

    There are quite a few blogs for food allergies, as people get frustrated with the recipes that call for specific flour mixes…. just all kinds of things out there.

    Maybe even some examples of how blogs can change your life or how people look at you. The book I just finished is an excellent case in point.

    And even libraries have blogs now…at least ours does (in Farmington).

  3. I agree that that sounds great.

    The one specific genre I would add is political blogs. My understanding is that it was the warbloggers in the wake of 9/11 who really brought blogging to the national attention; those gradually morphed into a more general set of political blogs. Even now, I think when a lot of non-tech people think of blogs, they’re thinking of Andrew Sullivan, Daily Kos, Instapundit, Huffington Post, Talking Points Memo, Wonkette, etc.

    …Oh, okay, I guess I would also add two other categories, though they may just be specific aspects of things you already mentioned:

    1. Journalist blogs (which may be a subcategory of your “serious news reporting” category). It seems to me that a bunch of mainstream news organizations have started letting their reporters blog lately, and places like Google News often have links to those blog entries; I end up getting a lot of my news from those blogs these days.

    2. Corporate-employee blogs. I suppose this is more or less a subset of tech blogging, but it’s often fairly different from the BoingBoing model; it brings up all sorts of issues around what the blogger can and can’t say. (Which ties in to the issues you mentioned–privacy, personal/professional, legal, etc.)

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