Bookmarked Webrings by Charlie OwenCharlie Owen

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

Charlie Owen unpacks the idea of WebRings (or CircleJerks). She explains how they work and why they are different to blogrolls or decentralized spaces like Mastadon. She also provides some thoughts on how they could be rolled out using something like GitHub. For a different introduction, Greg McVerry has made a primer for CLMOOC.

Bookmarked Oh God, It's Raining Newsletters by an author
Email: The oldest networked publishing platform
Craig Mod takes a dive into the world of the newsletter. This includes an investigation of the platforms, as well as some ‘good people’ with newsletters. He makes an interesting observation that many writers are now doing their best work in newsletters. This makes me wonder how ‘newsletters’ as a form fit within the discussion of the development of blogs over time. Another post that is worth reading on the topic is Simon Owens’ ‘Email newsletters are the new zines’.
Bookmarked ePortfolios: Competing Concepts by Tom Woodward (Bionic Teaching)
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.
Tom Woodward addresses a number of considerations associated with ePortfolios:

  • 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.

Replied to Reading blogs in 2018: thoughts and things to do by Bryan Alexander (Bryan Alexander)
If some of us like reading blogs, perhaps it’s worth trying as a first step to RSSify as much of your world as you can.  That doesn’t mean using RSS, necessarily, but adjusting things around you to follow that principle.
I recently moved from Feedly to Inoreader as I liked the ability to subscribe to an OPML file that I can store on my blog. I actually find my of me reading in my feeds, as opposed to social media streams.
Bookmarked Should Your Class Or Student Blogs Be Public Or Private? by Kathleen Morris (The Edublogger)
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.
Kathleen Morris unpacks the benefits of both private and public blogs. She provides a number of arguments with evidence to support. This is particularly pertinent to schools and educators.

Edublogs on Private vs Public

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.