A ring of websites. A webring.
This may seem a bit bizarre to readers in 2019, but you've gotta remember that things were different back then. There were no search engines as they exist today. Google was still an academic side project at Stanford. Social media didn't exist (oh my god the bliss). You couldn't see what was trending, or see a retweet. There were no "278 friends are talking about this". You relied on word of mouth for everything.
So webrings were ENORMOUSLY important for discovering new and exciting content back in the Age of Innocence. A 50 user per month site could find itself "next" to a 5 million visitor per month site, which would then start passing visitors to it. Hitting random would take you to things that you shared an interest in, but would never have any other way of discovering
One thing I wish we had that we used to have: blog-only search engines. You could go and search for a hash tag. Or for links to your blog or elsewhere. Or for keywords. Etc.
Email: The oldest networked publishing platform
I talked to some VCU people about ePortofolios1. It’s a conversation I’ve had any number of times over the years. I think that experience is leading to a better understanding of what’s going on structurally and the space we have to navigate competing interests. I’m also in a better position to show how certain technologies might help people find a middle way. However, I’m still trying to be honest about the complexities involved in an environment with shrinking resources and expanding expectations. That’s a rough line to sell when vendors have no compunction about pitching simple answers that aren’t exposed until after contracts are signed. For the record, I didn’t start with this peppy intro when I spoke.
- Strategy: trophy case vs. progress/reflective.
- Audience: internal vs. external.
- Ownership: institution vs. student
- Privacy: password protected vs. public searchable
Woodward provides a lot of nuance throughout his discussion and provides a number of examples to support this. It is a worthy addition to the discussion of ways to blog.
A dilemma that faces many educators new blogging is the question of whether they should be publishing their students’ information and work online. They might wonder if their class or student blogs should be public for anyone to see, or private for a limited audience (or no one) to view.
Personally, when I supported classroom blogs they were closed as I was not comfortable that everyone who needed to be was fully aware of the consequences. I think though that Kin Lane’s advice on APIs can be applied, approach everything as if it is public even if it is not.