March 4, 2011
Posted by Sam Jackson
I was interviewed by the Yale Herald for an article about blogging which was published this week. I am mainly writing to correct a misquote or two, but will briefly reprise the article's main points as well...
Aside: Is it possible to be interviewed for a student journalism publication and not end up misquoted? : ( I don't think this was intentional in this situation, I just *always* tend to have negative experiences. I completely refuse to cooperate with the Yale Daily News for anything because they just simply can't be trusted; I've been misquoted in such horrible ways in the past. Please don't go to their website to investigate this statement. Over-eager freshmen reporters unaware of the pyramid scheme hierarchy of the YDN have good intentions, but something always goes wrong. I know that editors are often to blame as well, but, still. Anyway, this instance was not really harmful in any way, I am just saddened that 'I' in the article wasn't able to express clearly my views on the subject of blogging and its so-called decline among young people.
I had a quite good conversation with the author, Caitlin Cromwell BR '14 about changing norms about privacy, the decline of blogging and rise of social media, etc. Here's the paragraph mainly stemming from this discussion:
Jackson is the author of a blog called “The Sam Jackson College Experience,” to which he has devoted a significant part of his last five years writing, analyzing, and responding to comments. He says that this endeavor has been valuable to him in several ways. Since high school, when he began posting, he has followed the hot-button issues of college admissions and higher-education marketing, meanwhile documenting his own college process. As he blogged, though, Jackson simultaneously witnessed “the decline of blogging,” and a shift away from more traditional blogs. “In the last five years, there’s been this rise of social media where blogging has been overshadowed by these social interactions,” he says. “But I try to make blogging as social as possible. Ideally, I want to have interactions with people.”
Almost all of this is unrepresentative; maybe it was my lack of clarity... or the hand of an editor which made things strange? I won't blame anyone, and it doesn't really matter. (That's why I have this blog - to present an 'authoritative voice online,'blah blah blah). What probably got cut from this were my explanations of the particular benefits I have received from blogging (such as, getting into college, getting jobs, etc). I was speaking broadly about the ways which social media is related even to a more 'traditional' blog like mine, since I always enjoy interacting with commenters (when they exist!!!) and to get people to otherwise interact with the ideas I am presenting. The last line in particular was truncated or rearranged with the cumulative effect of making me seem like an asocial loser. But hey.
Later I'm said to approach social media cautiously, even though I talked a lot about how I use posterous, Twitter, Facebook, whatever else... very confused about where the different things about me in the article came from, but anyway. The only part that really bugged me was the last line, which was I thought funny when I said it, but in its misquoted form sounds mean:
Jackson says, “Even if 99 percent of blogs are boring and trite, you have 1 percent that are interesting or insightful or even help people express themselves better. To put it another way, I’d rather spend more time blogging than watching American Idol or Jersey Shore.”
First off, who would rather do *anything* more than watch Jersey Shore? But seriously: what I said was that I'd rather that PEOPLE in general spent more time blogging; I wasn't speaking personally at all. Which makes sense in the context of my previously saying "people express themselves better" rather than "me," and why I said "99 percent of blogs" rather than, say, "99 percent of my blog posts."
Long story short: Teenagers aren't really blogging anymore, but they do things which could very well be considered different forms of blogging. I think that blogging is still a good activity, even if I don't do it very much myself, and I think the key virtue of blogging is its social nature: whether this is interacting with commenters, merely sharing your views online at all, or indeed having long-form conversations in your Facebook news feed about a post that you made, these kinds of communications and interactions are great.
I'll save the discussion of whether student blogging is still useful for admissions purposes (yes) or whether blogging is still worthwhile (sure) for another time. Until then, you'll just have to follow me on Twitter.