Tuesday, October 12, 2010

My Blog as a Medium

Conducting an experimental project like mine on the authenticity of experience made it difficult to represent.  Because photography was such an important component to my research, mediating my experience through a blog made a lot of sense.  Having my final project in a blog format was something new to me, and it has been a bit of a learning experience.  Since digital writing seems to be taking over the realm of the conventional research paper, I also think it is important to learn to do it properly.  Being in Ghana, I ran into difficulties with the medium that I would not have experienced here at home.  Overall I have been exceptionally happy with the new way to explore my research findings and document my experience, but here are some of the benefits and challenges I was able to identify during my stay.

  • It was perfect for representing my different avatars in a meaningful way without getting too confusing
  • It also allowed me to display different mediums, the big one being my photography, that enhanced my reporting
  • With live feedback it made it easy to see how people were responding (or not responding) to what I had been writing.  Having that active audience made the medium a lot more personal, encouraging me to write more.  I was also able to find people with similar interests and benefit from their ideas
  • Can provide links to earlier posts, other blogs, my photography sites, etc
  • Blogging also allows me to share my experience and findings with anyone who might come across my blog, where with a traditional research paper it would likely be for an audience of one (me), and others could not benefit from it
  • By documenting my progress I can show that the journey of my research was just as valuable as the final product
  • It is a more personal medium, allowing me more flexibility in what I can talk about, making it more authentic to my experience.  Since that was the main theme of my project, having a medium that encouraged that was essential
  • Unreliable Internet, power outages, etc all made it difficult to post regularly in Ghana
  • Being new to the medium, it did take time to figure out how to approach it
  • Sometimes I felt like I was looking for experiences to write about to match my project's objective instead of letting it come more naturally.  Being in avatar form also ran the risk of making it more composed and less personal
  • Blogger did not function on the Wiamoase computers, so I would have to take a day trip into Kumasi to make a post.  This meant I had to time it for certain days.  I could not just write whenever I had a burst of inspiration, etc
  • I could not upload photographs with the slow internet connection
  • Having the potential for a larger audience does tend to make posts more aesthetic, and potentially exaggerated
  • I had serious time constraints at the Internet Cafe, making the quality of my posts low, and limited my ability to read others blogs to make and respond to comments

Again, this has been the perfect medium for my project, even though there were some serious limitations I ran into in the field.  It has been much more valuable to me to chart the progress of my project rather than focus on a single end product.

Photo credit to ElbtheProf on flickr

(All conclusions can be found in my field notes-FN:8:13, FN:13:16, FN:15:1-3, FN:16:12, FN:17:3, FN:20:8, FN:20:1, FN:31:5, FN:31:18, FN:33:3, FN:38:4, FN:42:25, FN:81:7, FN:86:4)

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