Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Bloggers are Writers for Real

If there is anything that I learned from seeing the movie Julie and Julia, it is not how to make the perfect hollandaise sauce, but that blogging is powerful and that bloggers are authors.

Early on in the film, Julie is struggling with the fact that she never finished her novel and that she is not the writer she planned on becoming. She laments over and over that she never became a "real" author, until her ever-patient-in-the-face-of-whining husband suggests that she start a blog. Of course, this story starts in 2002, which is long before the term "blog" was recognized as an actual word. The notion that bloggers are writers was a new idea for Julie then, and it probably is for many, many Americans still.

Since I started blogging with and for students, I have heard several remarks that basically boil down to this: students are not learning to write for real any more and they are just playing online when you assign blogging projects. I would like to point out that I think students are writing more now than I ever did when I was in high school. I never went home and chatted with friends using a computer. I never corresponded with the public (or the entire globe) through any of the writings I completed in high school. When I turned in a piece of writing, the teacher was probably going to be the only person to ever see it. End of story.

Now, students have the ability and the want to communicate their ideas and findings with the outside world on a regular basis. Most are engaging in social networking daily. They have instant feedback and regular feedback on their thoughts and ideas when they update their status on facebook; shouldn't we give them the same opportunity for regular interaction and feedback from a global audience in our classrooms?

As for Julie of Julie and Julia, I think that we all know how that turned out. Blogging led to public interest, which led to interviews and a book deal. Now there's a movie and Julie is probably feeling very comfortable with the idea that she, a blogger extraordinaire, is actually a writer. For real.

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Further evidence of a writing revolution can be found in this article from Wired magazine.

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