Leigh Blackall has bandied the free range philosophy to an educator's online presence before but revisited the concept again over the weekend. What prompted me to comment on his post was the fact that edublogs.org has been out of action all weekend, popping up for brief cameos every now and then but generally, being down when I was itching to post. In his reply comment, Leigh himself admitted that he would be a bit lost if blogger was down for more than a day but a free ranger would have a number of avenues to record his or her thoughts and ideas.
Leigh explains how he is envisaging this free range world would operate:
So you see, I think it quite a different and liberating thing to think about in terms of web publishing - comparing web publishing to graffiti and pavement chalk poetics. Once we're prepared to accept that time will wash even things digital, then we'll realise that for our presence to persist, for our markings to remain, we must remain active in remixing, reformatting, recreating, and republishing our works so that they reappear and reappear again - copied and redistributed by others across the Net.
I think its quite liberating to let go of the obvious - that digital means recorded, and think of it as a more fluid and transitory medium. The fact that a record or archive can be dug up if you really tried is just an added benefit, but its the here and now and what we say about before that catches me.
Because my own blog has developed to a certain stage, there is an element of
fear attached to the possibility of it all being lost in a server
meltdown and all that digital musings and growth being lost
permanently. I'll have to admit that for the first 100 posts or so of
my blog, I saved as a backup the complete webpage (complete with
comments; just as valuable) on my home PC - just in case! I've gotten
complacent since then and hope that James can weave his magic with
edublogs.org and we can all breathe a huge sigh of relief. Ewan McIntosh thought that had happened to him a while back when his Typepad account went under and he was hoping to recover as much as possible via the different distributed versions that might have still been hiding in Bloglines accounts, SuprGlu pages and re-purposed posts on other blogs. Luckily, he got it all back but Typepad is a paid service and I reckon that if you part with your hard earned for online presence, then you are also paying for peace of mind. However, free ranging wouldn't want to be duplicating stuff just in case. That would turn more new users off than attract them to the global conversation. So the easier the tools are to use and to connect together, then free ranging is the way to go. I suppose grahamwegner.com does has a certain attraction but it's not the way to model this approach. Our students don't have money to splash out on domain names and server space, and our teachers will see it as too much trouble. So like so many edubloggers out there, I need to continue linking the different bits of my online identity together - free ranging is the way to go.
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