I got this survey from a girl on the derekwebb board who is trying to do a project and needs answers by Friday, April 15h. I sympathized with a fellow English Education major, procrastinator, and webboarder, so I decided to answer her questions. I spent so much time on my answers that I thought I might as well post them. If you would like to answer her survey, please click here. She even has questions for non-bloggers, so no one is left out!
Name: Allison Redd
Original Hometown: Geneva, Alabama.
Hometown Now: Atlanta, Georgia.
Native Language: English
Occupation: Soon-to-be English Teacher (as of August 2005), currently a wife, graduate student and apartment event planner.
Level of Education: Master of Education, Secondary English
1-Do you blog?
2-What is the name of your blog?
TeamRedd (It is a joint blog with my husband.)
3- How long have you been blogging? Why did you want to start? (What was its appeal?)
We have been blogging a little over one year. I'll have to admit we read a lot of blogs before we started ourselves, so it was almost a "bandwagon" thing. Mostly, though, we started blogging because 1.) It is a way to keep ourselves writing more regularly 2.) It is a way to stay involved in online discussions and link to stuff we like 3.) It is a way to keep up with friends (real and online) and family across the U.S.
4-How often do you update your blog? Are you happy with how often you update it? Why or why not?
Gaines updates it more than me. Probably 3-4 times a week. (Well, if updating just the list of books I am currently reading or have read counts as an update, then I update it every few days.) Lately, I have been posting very rarely, because I am so busy with school and everything. I probably post twice a month now, which is sad. But I do try to read it everyday and sometimes Gaines says stuff I'd want to say. I'm not happy with how often I've been blogging because I have a backlog of saved "drafts" that never get posted, and now I feel too behind to post most of them. I do want to write more and I feel too busy to do so just now. Soon, though, I will be finished with student teaching, so that should help. On our best week, I think one of us posted every day. Maybe. I could be wrong.
5- How would you classify the people who read your blog? Can you categorize them? (In other words, who do you believe is your audience?)
Our audience is mostly a very small number of online friends who are interested in similar things, as well as our family and close friends who like to know what is going on in our lives.
6-Do you know any of the people who read your blog personally (or in ‘real’ life)? Why or why not? If you do know any of them personally, why did you choose to meet him or her?
Yes. We keep up with Gaines' sister through our blog. That, of course, is someone we know well. My mom reads it, too, fairly often I believe.
Well, richard is an online friend who reads our blog because Gaines met him on a roadtrip a few years ago. So we met him in real life before we started our blog. He is one of the people who probably finally got us to start blogging. I don't think we have that many readers...
Oh, we did meet some folks at a theology conference in January who we knew through the blogging world. That was kind of cool, in a very geeky sort of way. I like to put faces and personalities to names.
There's another English teacher here in Atlanta that has a blog. I first heard about her through her blog and I'd like to meet her. Some of my grad school friends are student teachers at the school where she works and say she's a neat person. Also, I had posted a comment on her blog, and one of my "real life" grad school friends who didn't know I had a blog, found my comment on this teacher's blog while searching for lesson plans, and found TeamRedd. It was a funny round-the-world sort of connection.
7-Do you keep any other kinds of “journals” besides your blog? Why or why not?
Yes. I have always kept a journal off-and-on, but currently I am going through the book of Proverbs and journaling daily-ish responses verse by verse. I used to keep a diary of sorts as kid, and for a semester or two in college, and they are extremely amusing to read now. I hope I've matured.
8-If you do keep a “traditional” journal, is there any difference between your online version and the pen and paper version? What kinds of similarities are there? Differences?
Well, some of the differences are obvious. My current paper journal is a "prayer journal" of sorts, more of a study journal. The blog is more of a "these are the thoughts I'd like to share." I am more aware of my audience on the blog. I correct punctuation, spelling etc.; however, my paper journal is more of a "freewrite" where I do not go back and correct my writing.
9-Which do you like better, online journals or traditional journals? Why?
I like both equally, but I think it is easier to keep up with an online journal, because I can access it from anywhere and don't have to carry it around with me. I can update and check it from school or work or the library. It's great for quick thoughts and is definitely more convenient. But it is not private. We're very aware of that and are mindful of keeping some things off the blog.
10-What is your language itself like when you blog? Do you edit for spelling errors, capitalization, or grammar? Why or why not?
I'm a perfectionist when it comes to writing in almost any form, so I will spend an hour on one post making sure it says exactly what I want and that the grammar and mechanics are correct. I'm anal like that about anything that someone else will see. I do the same thing with message board posts and e-mails. Do I really need a reason, though? I'm an English major! And English teacher. It should be expected.
11-Do you think it is important to do this? Why or why not?
To blog? Or to correct the grammar? I'll go with the latter.
Yes. I think correct form, mechanics, etc. is important even in technological communications. Again, the English teacher in me takes hold here. I think real communication can only take place when everyone stays within the bounds of formal English-- it is too difficult to decipher posts or e-mails without capitalization and punctuation and proper spelling. Though I will attempt to read posts and discussions where someone does not do this, sometimes it may be too difficult and I may just give up altogether. Sometimes, I may say something (see a recent thread in the theology board for a good example.) Things like posting big chunks of text online without skipping spaces between paragraphs, or flagrant grammar mistakes in messages and online communications really irk me.
Lately, I've been getting regular e-mails from someone who cannot spell, conjugate verbs, or use punctuation (not spam). It is almost every other word. Reading those correspondences actually upsets me and, to my shame, somewhat lowers that person in my estimation. It's really just funny. And sad. I'm not laughing at the person, really.
Of course, with my high school students my reaction is very different. I am more lenient and understanding. When I work with students, I know them by name, I see them every day and know their struggles and their personalities. I know where they need help, and I can usually figure out what they want to say even when frought with errors.
However, when it comes to adults posting online, I am very picky, because I think you need to know the basics to be able to communicate well. It is very difficult to have a reasonable discussion without these basic standards in place. In addition, I am also a visual person-- I was an art minor in college-- so when things are not visually appealing it hurts my asthetic sensibilities. :)
I hope the above wasn't too harsh... I'm really a nice person! As a teacher, I even think content should be assessed before grammar in compositions. However, I have found the internet to be a very impersonal place. I find that on the internet the only aspect you can judge a person by is their words. Therefore, that one area makes a big impression.
12-What subjects do you write about in your blog? Is there any topic that is off-limits? Why or why not?
I write about almost everything, but as I mentioned above, some personal issues, church issues, etc. are better left untyped. We are a married couple attempting to project the aroma of Christm\, in our home as well as in public, and I think that influence extends to our blog as well. It is a public proclomation of our relationship, and therefore is a representation of Christ and the church. As a result, our blog should not be used as a place to air dirty laundry or as merely a rant page. We try to share our sense of humor, and our shortcomings, but not each other's shortcomings. Mostly I write about books, interesting links, and local goings-on. And how greatly I have been blessed by my husband. :)
13-Is there anything else you think I should know about why blogging is important or about why you blog?
I think blogs are best used when they connect communities of people who have similar interests and/or situations, especially when that community is already connected by a real life circumstance or event. As a future educator, I am also interested in using blogs within my classroom and my school. I am currently creating a class website (for wherever I end up teaching). I think blogging is a great way for educators to learn from each other, for teachers and parents to stay connected to their school and classroom, and for church members and cross-county friends to discuss and talk and connect in ways that are much more efficient and economical--blogging is cheap as free! One of the best ways I have kept in touch with friends who live for long periods of time in other countries is through blogging. I keep in touch with friends who live in Russia, Brazil, the Honduras, and California (to me CA is a whole other country) by reading their weblogs.