The first day of Digital Humanities for me was actually the fourth day for everyone else in the class. Early this year I questioned my (Business) major, and in a frantic rush, before the add/drop period expired, I switched my entire major without very much research at all into what I was getting myself into. I didn’t even know what a blog was at the beginning of the semester and I was very afraid of the learning curve I thought I would be experiencing. To my surprise, it seemed everyone else knew very little about Digital Humanities and I wasn’t the only one in the boat. I was quickly brought up to pace and after a semester of playing in the blogosphere while trying to find my path through what DH really is, my decisions on this major were definitely solidified. Blogging has influenced the way I write as well as how I analyze everything on the web, ranging from my own posts to unique info graphics.
The medium of blogs has taught me a lot about both writing and analysis. The way I see blogs, they are both informal and formal at the same time. What I mean by informal is that that blogs are more of a casual atmosphere where personal statements and phrases such as, to quote myself, “I loved that line” can be written. I think blogs are a much more opinionated place to express oneself. On the contrary to this, however, is the fact that there are very professional blogs out there. Blogs can be used to reach an interminably large audience so professionalism should always be considered in the back of the author’s mind. It would not be a credible post if the author used language and internet slang such as “lol” or letters like “u” to represent the whole word “you.”
The weekly blog posts, both in this class and my personal blog created for English 121, has really encouraged me to be active and engaged with the habit of consistently reading and publicly reflecting. When reading a piece, whether it be another student’s or a professional’s, critical thoughts and possible responses often run through my mind. Blogging has encouraged me to write organized, thought out, and structured responses. The fact that I know other people will see my written work almost obliges me to write in a manner that is clear, concise, and logical. Blog responses, I believe, have significantly increased the level with which I am engaged in another’s writing. I’m coerced to find the strengths, weaknesses, arguments, and counter-arguments within any given piece. To accompany increased engagement with material, a common theme enforces depth of development.
For this class, we studied Digital Humanities and so consequentially every weekly post forced us to delve a little bit deeper or in a slightly different direction of the Digital Humanities field itself. Another example of repeated theme is within my personal blog, centered on “good ideas.” The common theme forced me to discover and learn new things happening around the planet that are good ideas. To illustrate this further, I turn to my open posts within the Digital Humanities class.
In one of my open, free choice blog posts I discussed World of Warcraft, a virtual world. This open post was reflective to class content and the result of the post enriched my own (and hopefully my classmates’) understanding of the significance of virtual worlds by utilizing an info graphic. I also wrote a small personal blurb about why I chose to do this type of research as well as arrive at some of my own surprising conclusions saying, “never before have I considered WoW (World of Warcraft) as a topic of scholarly study!” I went on in the following week to continue my interest in virtual worlds and point my fellow classmates to another interesting article that I found. The open posts really broadened our conception as a class to the varieties of topics that Digital Humanities can cover.
Despite the fact that the semester is coming to a close, I have no intentions to stop blogging. I plan to continue writing a weekly blog post in my personal blog, and expect to become a stronger writer as a result. I want to be able to look back at older posts and see a literal post-to-post increase in the quality of my writing. Over this past semester I have learned that an active and consistent engagement with writing has broadened the way I analyze the world itself. I’m attempting to adopt the mindset of digital humanist as I look at and discover how technology is playing a role on our society in a very fundamental way. Hopefully the future will see me learning about and discovering new ways in which technology can be implemented in modern society and sharing these conceptions with others via refined written skills.
And, in light of the medium of writing that is the blogosphere…