History and the Web

“It Isn’t Writing, It’s Only Typing”
Truman Capote’s slam of Kerouac’s writing sums how I have felt about blogging in the past. Prior to this class I have blogged for several other classes and I honestly never really enjoyed it. I always wondered why I had to express myself in this format when no one would read my blog except for my professors and classmates (and they do this simply because they were required to.) However, after this week’s readings, and my writing class, I am beginning to see a real purpose and reason to blog. As Cummings and Jarrett, blogging is “freer and faster” than formal writing and it offers an easy forum to express my ideas (255.) The format also allows me to work on my writing in a forum that is not for publication or promotion. This allows us as bloggers to enjoy ourselves as we try and digest readings, formulate our thoughts, and make connections in a broader historical context.

Blogs make our ideas available to a wider audience, the general public. Posts are available to anyone with a computer and internet connection. I never looked at blog posts this way until I started having to use tags for a previous class. But as Tanaka points out this is just one of the ways the past is “becoming larger.” (36) As more information finds its way onto the web and more people, of varying levels of expertise, use and interpret the information “history and the way we write history will change.” (37) As our writing instructor always asks, “Is this good? Or Does this suck?” I am not sure. The collective body of knowledge existing on the web has its positive and negative features. There are many examples to support both sides of this issue, but I believe the pros far exceed the cons, especially where the field of history is concerned. My one example for the positive aspects of the web would be our class blog. By writing down my thoughts about the readings and reading your posts I have a better understanding of the information covered for the upcoming week’s class. I tend to agree with Weinberger’s assertion that the web and all its features, both good and bad, “can make us smarter, if we want to be smarter.” (91)