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Sunday, October 05, 2003

Today's New Blawg

Christophe Courchesne is a member of the 3L class and Board of Student Advisors at Harvard Law School. Christophe is attending BloggerCon at the suggestion of his professors John Palfrey and Charles Nesson, and mentions that the Digital Democracy class at Harvard Law will discuss blogging during next week's session, Smart Mobs, Weblogs, Hacktivism: Social and Political Implications of Decentralized Networks, featuring guest Joi Ito.

Christophe has several good comments and observations from BloggerCon, including:

  • A comment raised in the education context is that making blogs a fundamental part of education will potentially contribute to dilution of writing's power by eliminating intermediary filters?
  • The education forum had a tremendous optimism about the use of blogs in education. As a law review editor and a legal writing teacher, I have tremendous doubt about the editorial quality of work that is published "unedited" (including my own). This presents some tension between the Internet prophecies about the wired democratized future and the values of discipline as to writing skills and "thinking carefully before one speaks."
  • Do students who blog develop more finely tuned skills of listening or just a highly developed ability to mouth off within a sophisticated zone of self-publishing?

I don't think these questions can be answered in terms of absolutes. I see weblogs as more of an aid than a threat to edited/quality writing; they make it easier than ever to disseminate. They also can motivate editorial compression in the interest of time (or impulsiveness), and this may may mean an increase in the sum total of unedited or lightly edited writing. My take is the two varieties can peacefully co-exist, both have unique usefulness and value, and good, well considered, well edited writing will continue to distinguish itself from the pack.

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