Wednesday, May 11, 2011

The "In-Process" Post Genre

As I was just telling a student, Nyssa Silvester, blog posts don't have to be opinion pieces, arguments, or finished pieces of thought. They can be a way of publicly drafting one's ideas while in the formative stages.  I'd like to call this genre of blog post the "in-process" post, and I want to encourage my students to try it.

Why create an "in-process" post? Well, there is always the possibility that others will chime in on your idea development. Here is an example of an in-process post from another course I taught. Brooke Knutson talked through her research ideas, and another student, Janelle McCune, gave constructive feedback on Brooke's research direction through a good comment.

Romeo and Juliet in the mall. Flash mob
organized by Whitney Call
There is also a long term value to in-process posts. They demonstrate to others your active thinking, and across your blog, they could see how you develop ideas or complete projects. For example, another prior student, Whitney Call, came up with the idea (from a classmate) to do a Shakespeare flash mob at the mall. She posted about the potential flash mob. Then, over the course of weeks, the event was organized, executed, recorded, and posted about. Whitney used the tag or label "flash mob" so you can browse through her whole process just by clicking on that link. If you scroll to the bottom and work your way up, you can see Whitney's whole process of going from a random idea to a concluded event that was meaningful to many people. Can you see how her in-process updates about the flash mob are valuable? They model to others how to organize such a project, and they tell people about Whitney: she can come up with and execute interesting ideas.

But how about the value of the "in-process" post in the short term? And what kinds of things could go into such a post?

In the short term, the in-process post can benefit the blog author. It's a simple fact that as you commit ideas to language, you get the chance to evaluate and order these ideas. In other words, a way to get out of confusion is to document that confusion.

So, what are some "in-process" kinds of posts?

  • Event planning (see an example from Cara Call, who organized a Skype performance of a scene from Shakespeare: proposed in this post; reported on in this post)
  • Class notes (see an example from Kristina Cummins)
  • Running bibliography ("Books and articles I hope to look up"; See Brooke's post, linked above)
  • List of things to post about (Nyssa told me she had so many ideas to blog about and she was frustrated at not being able to flesh them out. I see this as an opportunity, not a problem)
What are some in-process kinds of posts that you've read or written?

1 comment:

  1. In-process posts are the scariest things for me. I hold on to things forever until I feel good about them; I am working on getting over that kind of imperfect perfectionism.