The New York Times article, Blogs Wane as the Young Drift to Sites like Twitter, discusses the evolution of posting content online and how recently young people are moving away from blogging; opting for shorter methods of communicating their thoughts, such as Facebook posts and Twitter. Many young bloggers say they are too busy to post lengthy entries, and feel many of their friends don’t have time to read their long posts but will be apt to comment, reply or retweet on their content.
There are some who still feel blogging has its place. Quick updates, tweets and status posts don’t always provide an outlet for more detailed information, research and reflection. The article points out that while younger generations find blogging cumbersome, and are moving to methods that convey their information in shorter bursts, the older generations are still interested in blogging.
It is important we are aware of shifting interests in our students’ social media habits but I believe blogging is still an important part of the online landscape, and in the classroom it can be a great educator’s tool. As we see an increase in written shorthand and a rise in grammatical errors blogging provides an online platform for students to write, not just craft a one sentence summary. Including a blogging component in your curriculum encourages students to improve their prose, work on their essay style, develop an argument, present findings, analyze information from multiple sources, and find a voice. Encouraging students to craft a message, think critically, and present a body of information in essay form is an important skill; one that they don’t engage in as much as past generations. Gone are the days of letter writing, replaced by the text, tweet or Facebook post. Using blogging as a curriculum element encourages the students to think about their audience, because instead of just an instructor grading their work they have their peers and the online community reading their writing as well.
*Tip: If you have students write a blog they can still post their blog title and weblink to Twitter and Facebook to encourage their peers, online friends and followers to engage on the topic.