LIBR 200: Issues with Special Groups in the Blogger Community

Special Populations and Multiculturalism in Blogging Communities

Blogging is the perfect place to build a community of diverse and specialized participants. Not only does it afford equal access to users across the globe, giving little to no preference to time zones and post times, but it is easily available for free from a multitude of platforms as long as the blogger is not overly invested in a personal domain or too many customizable options.

Of course certain bloggers who belong to special groups will seek out each other in order to form sub groupings. This can be done in a number of ways including searching blog content and tagging posts to be aligned with specific industries and subjects. In addition other third party sites post blog lists allowing a blogger or reader to search items like “fashion blogs” or “poetry blogs” and find a fast few sites that will link them to the larger community.

Multiculturalism is both present and invisible in the blogging community. In some ways a blogger can become a member of a culture based community, delving into the intricacies of regionalism and history. Or they could float on the main stream, claiming a more generic name and an avatar as a personal identity. A blogger enjoys the option of being involved or the anonymity of relinquishing any specific limitations other communities may rest upon. Where in reality there is a threat of prejudice, outside assumptions and the physical constraints of who we actually are, bloggers can become someone else, take on new identities and emphasize small slices of their lives.

Blogs fascinate me because they are the ideal compromise of who we are and who we want to be. They connect us with people we would never meet and bridge gaps that would otherwise be impossible to cover without deep pockets. We can group up with fellow enthusiasts and cultural participants or keep our shades on, it’s up to the blogger.Of course, this is mostly observation, since not too much has been written concerning special populations in blogs other than information professionals themselves.

With the power to comment, like, converse, share and reblog, multicultural groups in blogs are a thriving pulse in the web at large. These days, if someone is looking to connect with fellow fans, share drafts of their latest novel or even plan a revolution (no joke on that one) blogs are the ideal place for special populations and multicultural participants to form strong bonds and lasting relationships.

Keep Writing

–ECW

Smaller Still: The Process of the Petit Four

The miniature poems I have been calling Petit Fours were inspired by the french pastry by the same name: a small often square multi layered bite sized dessert sometimes garnished with a bow or flower.

The Petit Four process came out of a realization that people don’t really like reading long poems. There’s a fatigue that sets in around line 20 or 25, or at least it does for me. Even as a Poetry Editor I had trouble with longer pieces… sometimes they were vague, other times they went on tangents that bored me. As a reader and lover of poetry I had to be honest with myself — long works are kind of hard to follow unless done expertly.

It’s the same reason I haven’t gone back to edit my longer poems, I don’t know where to start. So instead of continuing to write poems which toed that line between middle-length and unbearable, I decided to commit to a project that was both rewarding and bite sized.

& thus the Petit Fours were born.

If you want to read up on what inspired them, you can find that here:

Petit Fours: Tiny Poems with a Bite

May 6, 2015

I have a great affinity for short poems because of their structure, They belong to a class of poetry that still follows rules. Not that poems need to have rules: being free is one of my favorite parts of poetry. No, I linger on haikus and couplets for their puzzle-like structure, with every word serving a small perpetual function. I didn’t want to have rules for my poems in a traditional sense.

Instead I developed a simple format to make them consistent:

petit four grid image
(as you can see Microsoft Word doesn’t agree with some of my made up words!)

The format was simple: fit the poem within the space.

I gave myself about 5 lines with each poem (some got 6) and made the page a 3 column format to give myself enough room to see them all at once. You can easily adjust the column width at the top with the rulers, so I was able to make them a little wider as words required.

Then it was go time!

I wrote 12 at a time depending on the mood. I have only done 24 of these total, so I assume eventually they will feel repetitive. The other fun part was adding space to fill out the square. I felt very open and free when writing them… I could capture a small concept in the given space without muddying it with my usual over explanation.

The next part was harder. I made small squares in Photoshop and then imposed images in various transparency to make the poem feel fully formed. In the process of moving them the spacing and lines were adjusted to fit the new font. I lost a little of the squareness but gained a visual element. I think if I planned to print these I would stick to just text… but the internet is a fun place and I didn’t want to seem drab!

So that’s all there is to it!

Ingredients:

1 WordDoc split into 3 Columns

12 Poems by 5 Lines each

Add Images & Flare as desired

Hope you try something similar and let me know how it goes! They were fun and fast – a good warm-up to larger pieces or a nice do-one-every-day committment size!

Keep Writing!

–ECW

LIBR 202 Information Communities – Ethics of Blog Writer

Ethics of Writer Bloggers

Ethics are a tricky thing on the internet. Some feel the internet is a volatile place, like the wild wild west of the world wide web, and they wouldn’t be wrong. Most days no one is in charge, and we post and comment as we please. On Blogs, where the content creator is also the editor, decider and enforcer, there is not much that goes on without their knowing.

Other days, the internet is not so neatly organized. Content creators on third party platforms, especially message boards and community sharing sites are subject to moderators, or mods, who make judgement calls on what is and is not appropriate for the site. They patrol from page to page looking for language and content that offends or violates human rights. They also may decide a post is irrelevant, which poses questions about freedoms of speech and self expression on the web. Bloggers are in many ways relieved from the eye of the mods, but must make the same judgement calls on their comments. Are people allowed to comment without approval? Who makes the final call on a shared space blog? What constitutes inappropriate? Are negative comments permitted to stay?

Of course ethics extend far beyond the mere decision to delete a nasty troll.

Content creators wrestle with plagiarism, borrowing and apprenticing work of others in order to improve their craft.

Plagairism, the most black & white of the three involves a willful copying of other’s work without fair credit. Copy and Paste makes this especially tempting, but most of us are in the clear of this ethical breach. However, posting images without credit (which I have done on occasion) may be considered unethical, if they don’t link back to the original source…

Borrowing and apprenticing are forms of copying that are less recognized and fall within the preverbal grey area. Borrowing is the act of taking content and elaborating upon it. Perhaps this means quoting another article; maybe you leave a trail with a link. This is more a matter of length. How much can someone copy before it is plagiarizing? Is it fair to host someone else’s content on your space without asking? Are there ramifications if you misrepresent?

Apprenticing, which is something I did in undergrad, is the close study and emulating of another’s work. Not copying in a traditional sense, but mirroring, practicing, sometimes repeating what has already been created by another to improve one’s craft. This level is in some ways the most dangerous in an ethical sense. Where does your work begin and there’s end? How do you determine what is too similar? What happens when it gets published? Do you mention that you studied their work closely in a footnote?

Bloggers are as uninhibited as anyone on the internet, which makes them culpable for the ethical issues they face every time they post. Are your words really your own? Do you represent yourself and others fairly? Is your conduct in line with the spirit of the community?

Sometimes having no rules makes it even harder to play fair.

Thanks for reading!

Keep Writing!

–ECW