Polar Viewpoints

Since school kicked into gear I've been finding it hard to find reading time, let alone blogging time. As I lay the foundations for a successful year, I've been pre-occupied with clear daily planning, curriculum linking to units of work and finding out about the students in my care. I've started some of the testing of spelling ages and collected a sample of writing from each student as a beginning point to see their raw written English language ability (spelling, grammar, punctuation) and how divergent or creative they can be when given a starting point. To "hook" the kids in, I used a YouTube video called "Kiwi" (via a Stephen Downes link to the TALO Group) - a three minute animation that is a really good watch. I'm going to read them tonight and see what insight they give me. Anyway, I'm straying off topic.

So, as the posts pile up in Bloglines (curse you, Dean Shareski, and your idea that more blogs in the aggregator is the way to go;-)) I've had to be more selective about what I have to read in the lessened opportunities of the past week and a half. And it's not necessarily the blogs in my Must Read folder that are the priority. It's the new (to me) voices that are capturing my attention - blogs that can be at odds with each other. And reflected back on the regulars I've been reading over 2006, there are some interesting contrasts.

I still read anything Leigh Blackall posts (sometimes within minutes of lobbing in my aggregator) and he recently had a play with words in his post No more new speak, back to old speak. As Leigh demonstrates, sometimes we can use different terms to describe the same thing in this brave (not so) new online world. But I'm thinking as I have read recently, sometimes we get the opposite effect in blogging. A post, one set of words arranged by the author can be viewed very differently by different readers. Not sure what I mean? I'll try and demonstrate by doing some polar interpretations.

I'm writing to get things off my chest. I'm frustrated by these bloggers who rant.

I just someone to agree with me for a change. I want someone to debate me on this.

Thank goodness someone thinks the way I do. Nice echo chamber you've got there.

This blogger really pushes the boundaries of my thinking. This blogger has no idea of the real world.

I like to write reflectively. Boy, this blogger's self obsessed.

Can't others see the big picture? Why isn't anyone concerned with the details?

Wow, what an interesting post, Graham. I think they've got the point now.


Attribution: Image: 'opposite electrical charges' by e.edward


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2 thoughts on “Polar Viewpoints

  1. Bruce Schauble

    Just watched the kiwi video. It’s pretty funny. Will share with my students as well. Thanks for the link.

    I also find the audience factor in blogging to be interesting. Given the potentially very large pool of readers, most of whom reside and think in different spaces and sometimes entirely different cultures than one’s own, it may often be that what you might think you are writing and what various readers might think you have written are quite different things. That’s one reason I really like to receive comments, favorable or un: at least I get a sense of what is happening after the words hit the screen.

    – B

  2. Miguel Guhlin

    I agree with Bruce…when I write something particularly good, I find that it elicits no response. So, now, I try to write stuff that is flawed, something that I find incomplete…surprisingly, that’s what gets comments, gets linked to. It reminds me that the Reader has a different perspective on what I write.

    What’s really interesting is that the best writing probably allows someone to interpret it the way they wish to…what hubris to think we could ever write specifically, that anyone else would have the same perspective on anything we had to say. In time, I have come to appreciate the jagged edges of blogs, the ones people get caught up on.

    One, less pleasant analogy might be an expulsion of air escaping from diverticula.

    Thanks, Graham!

    Miguel Guhlin


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