I did not expect to have much readership to this blog, so I was quite surprised when Footnote Maven emailed a few weeks ago regarding the classroom project and asked me to write a guest column for her historic photography blog Shades of the Departed. It seems that my comment on her article about postmortem photography prompted a visit to The Family Curator, and she wants to hear more about our classroom experience with transcribing old letters. My article will appear this week, Friday July 4th. Should be lots of fun.
I have also learned more about the entire blogging community from attending the SCGS Jamboree in Burbank this weekend. Newsblogs, musing blogs, family history blogs were all featured at the two sessions I attended. It was great fun to “meet the bloggers” and hear new ideas about where the trend is heading. Schelley Dardashti, Dick Eastman, Leland Meitzler, and George G. Morgan represented the news and podcasting blog world; Randy Seaver and Megan Smolenyak Smolenyak were there as general musers, and Stephen Danko commented on writing a family history blog. I was especially interested in Megan’s comments about blogging on Facebook and even MySpace because students are active on both sites. Family history and genealogy may be see a growth spurt of interest from young people if those sites build genealogy areas.
Several members of the audience seemed to be there not as potential bloggers, but as readers; people wanted to know how to “read” a blog. They didn’t quite understand how to subscribe and thought that perhaps they had to pay a fee, like most “subscriptions” require. I think there is real potential for educating the blogging audience about the genre itself. Many people have heard of this medium but just aren’t too sure about it. I recall then when I wanted to start a classroom blog at my school a few years ago, the administration was absolutely against it. They did not want the students using blogs at all, and did not want the school providing this “suspicious” new medium of communication. Two years ago, I was able to host a class blog but students had to sign in with a password to access the site. I don’t know if many other schools have a similar situation, but I think it does remind us that this is a new phenomenon. While many users are comfortable and have no trouble with technology, others are still trying to come to terms with this new media.