Monday, January 17, 2005

The Writing Way and ORBlogs

I just visited ORBlogs, the public site hosted by Paul Bausch, and was thrilled to see my blog listed in its directory. As early readers of this blog know, I began it with a good deal of trepidation--and maybe also a bit of skepticism. After all, I write all the time, and to multiple audiences. Why do I need a blog?

But since I'm studying blogs and other online forms of communication as a scholarly project, I realized that I should at least try hosting my own blog. So far, I've found that the more engaged I am with it--and the more comments my blog gets--the more interested I am. One sign of this is my desire to personalize my blogs more. Blogger is a wonderful software tool, and I never would have created a blog if it hadn't been as easy as it is, but now I'm hoping I can add some distinguishing features.

For an example of a blog that does that, take a look at This is a blog by Clancy Ratliff, a Ph.D. student in the Department of Rhetoric at the University of Minnesota. Clancy is one of the co-editors of the blog-published Into the Blogosphere collection that I've mentioned before. I think her site looks very interesting--but then it's clearly addressed primarily to academics. Which is what (for better or worse) I am.

I wonder what others think of Clancy's site......

Sunday, January 16, 2005

A visit from Paul Bausch!

Well today is a red-letter day for my new blog for sure!

(Interested in the origin of red-letter in its current use? According to an historian at OSU who specializes in Russian history--I heard this at a talk he gave--the origin of this term dates back to the practice of illuminating feast days for peasants in red in the Catholic liturgical calendar. On feast days, which were days honoring this or that saint, the peasants didn't have to work. This is why a "red-letter" day is a good day. I don't recall whether this practice was limited to Russia or was broadly practiced across Europe.)

But back to Paul Bausch. For those of you who don't know, Paul Bausch is one of the co-developers of the Blogger software. I've already mentioned the sites he maintains, but he's also written the books We Blog and Amazon Hacks. Paul lives in Corvallis, Oregon, as I do, and he's been tremendously helpful to me as I attempt to find my way around the blogosphere.

It was a real boost to have Paul visit my site. This will encourage me to make some changes this coming week. I'm hoping to add some links and to personalize the template for The Writing Way.

I'm taking baby steps, but I'm taking them.

Thursday, January 13, 2005

Some sites of interest to academic bloggers

Hi again,
I just learned about a special issue of Lore: An E-Journal for teachers of writing that focuses on blogs. Here's the URL:

Also, last year the first online book on blogs was published by Laura Gurak et al in the Department of Rhetoric at the University of Minnesota. It's called Into the Blogosphere: Rhetoric, Community, and Culture of Weblogs. The URL is:

Laura Gurak emailed me a few weeks ago to say that this site has had over 36,000 hits since it was published online.

Some sites of interest to bloggers (especially Oregon bloggers)

Hi there,
I do not intend to--and can't--post to my blog every day. I'm an academic, as I noted in an earlier post, so I've got lots of other writing to do. But today I thought I would post links to two sites of interest to bloggers, especially Oregon bloggers.

The first site is This site is maintained by Paul Bausch, one of the original co-developers of the Blogger software. There's lots of good stuff here.

The second site is This site is also maintained by Paul Bausch and is a directory of public blogs in Oregon.

Both are quite interesting, so check them out if you've got time.

Wednesday, January 12, 2005

Thanks to early readers--and why I started this blog

First of all, thanks to those who read and responded to my blog yesterday. Special thanks go to Hope of Humor Hangout for sending readers of her blog my way.

Unfortunately, I am a serious and earnest person rather than a witty and humorous one, so if you're expecting witty posts--like Hope's recent post on driving (which I thought was great) you'll have to go--well, you'll have to go to Humor Hangout.

I thought I would follow up my first post by explaining why I started The Writing Way. It may be helpful for readers to know that I'm a professor at Oregon State University. My area is rhetoric and writing studies. This means basically that I study writing and the rhetorical tradition and also teach future teachers of writing.

I've got lots of research interests, from the rhetorical tradition (think Aristotle, Plato and Quintillian as early founders of this tradition) to contemporary feminist and critical theory (did I just lose all my readers here?) to collaborative writing. Recently, I've become fascinated with the changes that online technologies like blogging are bringing to contemporary communication. Do blogs and customer reviews (for instance) represent a utopian overturning of what we academics refer to as cultural and political hegemony? (Basically this means the old guard who control things and determine who's an expert and thus gets to publish his/her writing and who isn't.) Or do they represent a dystopian vision of the future?

In this regard, I'm fascinated by reviewers. They represent a powerful challenge to a tradition of expert reviewers that's held sway for several centuries. In that sense, they seem exciting and vital--democratizing. But you could also view them as being in effect coopted by Amazon's business structure and existing primarily to further its profitmaking.

Hmmm. I've written enough--probably for a blog too much. If anyone reads this and wants to post a comment, here are some questions I'd love to have your thoughts on:

--Why do you blog?
--Why do you read others' blogs?
--What do you think of customer reviews? How much credibility to you give them?

That's it for now. Again, thanks to those hardy souls who visited my blog yesterday.

Tuesday, January 11, 2005

Hello Blogosphere!

Hello Blogosphere! This is my first post to my first and only blog, "The Writing Way."

Though I'm a writing teacher and am in the process of studying blogs and other online forms of communication, I feel quite intimidated writing this first post. Will I have anything interesting to say? (After all, I mainly write for other scholars and for students.) Will anyone read my blog? What will they think?

In other words, this form of communication feels very public to me--which is perhaps ironic since few people may find their way to it. Well, here goes..........

Lisa Ede
Oregon State University