The feeds are starting to come in to the FSLT12 blog aggregator. And it is already a rich source of information and potential conversation. Questions are being asked about what makes a good teacher, and what makes a bad one! Jenny Mackness addresses the issue of blog aggregation generally in a MOOC. We are struggling with this and will be making changes to the template so that syndicated feeds only show the first 100 words or so.
But my question is more about the nature of conversation in this context. I will need to locate references, or ask if anyone has any to support my assertion, here. I wonder if this new epistolary form may be going a bit Baroque or even Rococo.
I am reminded of the extreme business of late Renaissance painting: allegories everywhere you look. Blogs provide the author with an opportunity for extended reflection, in a networked public (boyd 2008). The reported joy of older postal service-based extended reflections in letters intended to be collected and published (maybe posthumously), i.e. letters intended for in part for public eyes, was the time between the conversational turns. In days of sail that could be months or even years. So we have this form of extended reflection, intended for a public, that benefits from taking time to digest, but swinging back and forth in Internet time not sailing ship (or even airmail).
There seems to be a scale – a continuum, if you will – between Twitter cycles, through discussion forums, email, what I will call midi-blogs (Tumbler and Posterous) and “proper” blogs and out to newsletter publications, journal articles and finally to books. All are dialogic, All may refer to one another, but each works on a different cycle: has a different clock-speed. In mechanical engineering terms sometimes these different cycles may resonate in pleasant harmony, but at others there may be wicked vibrations set up. Lately I have been feeling increasingly epicyclic about the pace of my work. I can work fast.I can work slow. I can work at paces in-between, but I am finding it hard to work at all paces at once. I slip in and out of Twitter time, wish I had more blog time, need to remember the expected email turn-around, and articulate that all with discussion forums. I am feeling the vibration and it is not always good.