Once More unto the Bloggy Breach

22 05 2007

It appears with this announcement that America’s Civil War magazine will once again broach the topic of Civil War blogging.  Hey, the more the merrier, I say.  I’m looking forward to reading it.

On a like note, I’ve been mulling over a new post that looks at the value of letters, collected letters, and selected letters.  As I’ve been bouncing ideas around, I’ve noticed that the attraction, relative value, and potential for misinterpretation attendant to letters and our new medium are not dissimilar.  I think Dmitri Rotov may have hinted at this in my article in the March, 2007 issue of the same magazine:

He [Rotov] enjoys experimenting with blogging as a medium – in particular with the way it allows essays to be posted in pieces over time, discontinuously, and seeing how different essays interweave over time.

I wrote the article before I dove into blogging.  I can now say that Dmitri hit on what I have found to be one of the truly unique, if misunderstood, aspects of blogging.  And it’s not dissimilar to what is unique and misunderstood about letters and, especially, selected letters.  Individual posts, like individual letters, are more often than not like one episode of 24.  Context is critical.  A blog entry is not a book.  A letter is not a life.

More later, once I get my woefully small brain wrapped around all of this.



2 responses

22 05 2007

Hey Harry,

I’m excited to put the blogging article together. As I mention in my blog post, blogging is become a force to be reckoned with as the medium for daily updates, debates, controversies, thoughts, research, etc. In researching the history of blogging, I was astonished to find out that it is projected that by the end of this year, there will be around 100 million active blogs on the internet. That’s active ones – currently there are already nearly 200 million in existence, but just less than half are active.



22 05 2007
Harry Smeltzer

I look forward to reading the article. When Dana first contacted me, the idea was to do a review of CW blogs. Unfortunately, the lead times required for the print media meant that the reviews could be only very general in nature, and of course we would have run the risk of a blog disappearing before the mag hit the stands. My article on CW blogging in general was the result.

I’m working on another project for ACW that addresses the impact of web resources on the academy, both in teaching and researching. It’s kind of a mess in that the responses I have received from academics are all over the board, but I’m trying to pull it all together into something that makes sense.


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