[MITIA] Second Assignment


Assignment #2: Mini Blog-Review[1]

Deadline: Midnight of Tuesday, September 7.

Objectives:
* Take the chance to look through various blogs and getting a feel for how they differ and in what ways they are similar.
* An opportunity for you to demonstrate to the rest of the class your writing acumen, and something of your personality, to aid in forming groups.

Elements:
* Your review should not exceed 250 words: a paragraph. Your task is to make the most of these 250 words. Your review should stand out from the crowd, should be interesting and exciting.
* Post as a comment on this entry, over to the right.
* You can review a blog of your choice, with the exception of mine. It will be much easier to do an original review if you choose a blog that someone else has not picked.
* Be sure to include a link to the blog you are reviewing. (In the comments, you can do this by supplying the URL, or using the A HREF tag if you know how to do that.)
* Do not review the visual design (graphic elements, layout), as we will do this in a later assignment. Concentrate on the content of the site. Why is it useful? entertaining? informative? interesting? unusual? What makes it different? Write your review in such a way that the reader will be interested in seeing the site themselves.
* There are many ways you can find weblogs. If you go to http://blo.gs, you can see some that have been recently updated. Eatonweb portal is a Yahoo-like directory of blogs, as is Blogorama. There are dozens of other specialized directories, like NYC Bloggers, which categorizes blogs by subway stop. Alternatively, it may be a good idea to follow the links in people’s blogrolls (the list of links to other blogs often found in people’s blogs) until you find a blog you like.

fn1. This assignment is inspired by one given by Jill Walker. You should definitely consider looking over Dr. Walker’s assignment, as she provides some links to examples from her assignment and some good advice. Note, however, that we are looking for a much shorter review, and one that is based heavily on the content of the blog, to the exclusion of visual design.

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18 Comments

  1. Posted 9/6/2004 at 4:19 pm | Permalink

    Over the past couple of days I have been searching the internet for unique Blogs to write about for this class. I found it very interesting how a lot of blogs looked the same. I searched the web for blogs that would interest me and were unique. One of the most interesting one’s I stumbled upon was Cagle’s Web Log: http://cagle.slate.msn.com/news/blog/ .
    I found that this blog was extremely entertaining, seeing as it dealt with political cartoons and that all the posting had to do with recent events in the political world. Some of the opinions represented on the blog I didn’t see eye to eye with, but, never the less they still made me laugh. Just seeing a cartoon of “The Terminator” dressed up in a pink leotard will make anyone chuckle. I feel that if a blog can make you think and laugh at the same time, it will draw in a large viewing audience. All the postings on the page were written extremely well in a very straightforward manor. The blog doesn’t just have postings of cartoons, but also lets the cartoonist share their opinions on their cartoons which add to the informative nature of the blog. The blog represents different opinions and cartoons of diverse nature. My favorite posting was by Kirk Anderson’s on music and beer. He pokes fun at the Miller Brewing Company’s new campaign for representing the top Rock N’ Roll artists of all time on their beer cans. I found that of all the blogs I looked at Cagle’s blog was fun to read, and I feel that anyone would find it’s content to be appealing.

  2. Adrienne McGill
    Posted 9/6/2004 at 6:32 pm | Permalink

    For the past hour I have been searching for a blog that I would want to write about and share my views and opinions on. Since we only have around 2 months till the next election, I thought that I would like to look at a blog that is about President Bush. One site that caught my attention was called MJG’s Political Blog at http://www.fjrp.com.
    Though I do not like President Bush, this was a blog that is devoted to President Bush and what he has done for this country, and comments made from bloggers who would like to see President Bush get re-elected. Though again I must say that I do not like President Bush, the content and comments made were put together well, straight and to the point. When comparing this site to other blog sites about Bush, I found that they were very similar to one another. Some sites seemed a bit more professional, meaning the comments made from bloggers seemed to be from more educated people, they were not so much to the point, and in my view, was not meant to be read by the “average Joe”. MJG’s blog site is not meant to be entertaining, in that you won’t see pictures of Kerry doing something deemed to funny, but you will find the latest stats, and a lot of information about what Kerry has done wrong, especially during the Democratic Convention. One discussion topic that I found myself taking a few minutes to think about was called: Sad lies By Kerry, which was about Kerry’s military career, and how Bush as nothing to hide, but Kerry does. I think after reading that, I found myself wanting to log off, because of how stupid the whole Kerry in the military and what he has contributed to America thing is.
    Overall, the comments were great, and would probably be very interesting for those who like Bush.

  3. Posted 9/6/2004 at 9:38 pm | Permalink

    Contrary to what you’re all thinking, I actually chose this blog because the combination of madam, mother and wife just seemed too interesting to pass up – endless sitcom-esque situations for our heroine to be caught up in! But alas, even though it’s a relatively new blog, it seems like “Cammi’s” blog will not live up to its potential. Besides some very vague details, and poorly described settings, the blog is probably as interesting as one my cat would write. There does seem to be dramatic tension of interest however, as she talks about how all of her 11 girls disappoint her (she runs an adult massage parlor, for those who didn’t check the link), so there is the potential for some funny and interesting posts, but I wouldn’t expect them. I think the idea of a madam writing a blog is unique, but the execution just isn’t there (not to mention the lack of proper grammar, spelling, punctuation, etc.) This blog, while not great, is decent; it’s definitely given me some ideas of what can make a blog good (interesting stories), and what can make a blog bad (poorly typed 10-page long entries without paragraphs or separation of ideas/thoughts). My best guess is that “Cammi” is hoping this blog will attract more business for her club, but what guys out there want to go to a ‘massage parlor’ whose madam also posts blogs on the internet and openly admits seeing her clients out in public? I know I’d be worried. I think this blog would be more likely to turn people off than turn people on.

  4. Melissa Plush
    Posted 9/6/2004 at 10:11 pm | Permalink

    Well finding a web log that interested me took much longer than I had expected. I searched for about 3 hours on Saturday and I couldn’t find one that kept my interest for more than 30 seconds. So it’s Monday night now and I’ve finally found one that I’ve enjoyed reading. You can find it at:

    http://www.maystardesigns.com/

    Although I’m very different from May (the girl writing this journal), I can relate to her about certain things that she has written about. Boyfriends, and clothes, and blah blah blah…all that jazz. Stuff like that never gets boring for me and she’s very up to date with her posting, so hopefully I’ll be constantly entertained. I’ve read all of her posting and viewed the pictures she posted and I’ve realized that whoever you are, rich or poor, smart or stupid, we’re all the same. May is from California and has a completely different background than I do, but I can still relate to her everyday issues.

  5. Posted 9/6/2004 at 10:39 pm | Permalink

    The very definition of “web surfer” leads one to think of a lifeless soul basking in the phosphor light of his CRT as he traverses the information superhighway trying to get inspiration for his next “Dr. Alex Halavais” assignment… oh wait, nuff said. With Jem blasting on my headphones, the Blog of the Day for me has to be the delicious BoingBoing.net. Featuring “A Directory of Wonderful Things”, it’s a colorful blog bursting with all things good since 2000. Made up of an interest group of fellow bloggers, BoingBoing.net was started by four interesting fellows namely Mark Frauenfelder, Cory Doctorow, David Pescovitz, and Xeni Jardin. It may be due to the simple, yet fun and bizarre pleasure of the site that won it allocades among bloggers. BoingBoing.net has consistently won Top 10 rankings in terms of best blog and even got first place in the numerous categories including Best American WebLog and Best Overall WebLog in the Fourth Annual WebLog Awards.

    BoingBoing.net has interesting titbits on media, culture, technology and more. There’s definitely something for everyone here: Geek or Newbie, Straight-laced Communication Scholars to the Sexually Deviant (who isn’t?). The latest features include survivability ratings of so-called “Indestructable Mailboxes”, to solar & USB powered vibrators. Yes, USB vibrators make sense and I can imagine all the happy college students finding a new use of their hard-earned mobile laptops other than just the surfing the internet (I use mine to keep my English tea warm). If anyone needed a reason to use the Internet, let it be

  6. Posted 9/7/2004 at 1:43 am | Permalink

    Coqueta’s Humor and Silliness is a welcome contrast to the self-important ramblings of the blog world. The weblog’s creator, Alicia spares us her thoughts on life and simply shares jokes. The posts do not come everyday, but there are consistently between three and seven new jokes posted each week. I realize that not every joke is funny and that this is not the only joke blog out there, but it is the first one to make me chuckle. There are several brands of humor present including racial stereotyping, semi-dirty water cooler jokes, and observations on the absurdity of life. Too many personal weblogs become platforms for people’s opinions. I am sick of opinions. Radio, television, newspapers, and the old people at McDonald’s every morning are all full of opinions. Maybe I am strange, ignorant, and irresponsible, but when it comes to blogs, I would rather read what Chinese parents name their retarded kids than another clever commentary on the Republican National Convention. Unlike most of the blog world, Alicia is providing a valuable service. I will spare you the thoughts on the importance of humor and simply recommend that you make Coqueta’s Humor and Silliness a weekly stop on your blog route.

  7. Rob Santos
    Posted 9/7/2004 at 9:49 am | Permalink

    Call me what you will- culturally naive, a typical American or just plain ignorant- I was unaware that a 23 year old man from Manila could have such insightful and relevant thoughts to convey to the world- or even that they blogged in the Philippines. Well, I take that back… I’m sure if I had thought about it before blindly encountering the blog I would have concluded that of course most of the world has access to the internet and of course they would possess the same intellectual level as ‘the rest of us’…. But that’s the thing. I never did think about it. Caffeine Sparks {http://caffeinesparks.blogspot.com/} posts many posts that although slightly long the reader has no problem getting through. He is witty and highly aware of the world in which he lives. He is concerned about the government, the human psyche and the fact that he’s having a ‘quarter life crisis.’ He discusses advertising and the concept of a ‘damaged culture.’ He claims to ‘think about thinking.’ His thoughts and musings are universal…. It is only when he posts a bit of poetry in an unfamiliar language do I recall that he is from the other side of the globe {if you’ll excuse the personal geocentric-ness of that statement} This blog is entertaining and thought provoking… and although I’m not supposed to discuss ‘the look’ of the blog, the graphics that accompany the entries provide an engaging experience.

  8. Posted 9/7/2004 at 10:25 am | Permalink

    Hi! A couple of you, though no fault of your own, have run afoul of my spam filter. For example, the posting above uses the word caffeine, which appears in many spam postings. As a result, the system holds your posting for my approval. So, if your posting doesn’t show up right away, this is probably why.

  9. Posted 9/7/2004 at 12:30 pm | Permalink

    How can you resist a blog with a first entry starting like this: “In a sinus-induced haze, I have decided to base all future technical decisions on this site on which technology kills more kittens.” I certainly couldn’t. Diveintomark.org is an often humorous blog about technology, everyday life and “whatever happens to interest” Mark Pilgrim, a self-described IBM employee. With sharp writing, he debates, among other things, the differences between developers who are assholes and those who are morons, and he points out the main difference between corporate and personal blogs (Hint: It’s being able to use a word that starts with “m” and ends with “ucker.”). The writing is direct – none of the rambling that a lot of the other weblogs that I visited had. Much of the blog is based on talking about software and technology, subjects on which he has authored several books, and he does try to sell his latest on there, but it’s not in an overly annoying way. Confession #1: I don’t understand many of the computer-related debates he posts. I’m sure I would get more out of the site if I did. Confession #2: I don’t care. The rest of the posts are funny as hell and definitely worth a read for the entertainment value alone. And who knows? Maybe I’ll pick up a little technological know-how along the way. (I’ve already learned about googlefight.com, a place where Homer Simpson beats O.J. Simpson in a head-to-head fight. Check it out.)

  10. Brian Wolff
    Posted 9/7/2004 at 1:21 pm | Permalink

    There are many qualities that constitute a good blog. Insightful postings, metaphors that capture the audience’s mind, oh and of course some mentions of the 1980’s. I found all of that and more in Dave Kelly’s blog, entitled Fu*k Angst! Dave welcomes his readers with a friendly picture of himself, which lets people know that they are in good hands when they are reading his blog. What I like about this blog is that while it is very informative, he also takes a personal approach and updates his life for his friends, as well as complete strangers who may just want to get to know Dave Kelly. As I mentioned earlier, I was really taken away by some of the metaphors that he used to describe the things going on in his life. For example, if reference to talking about his house, he says, “my house is a rough and ready street cop from the hood, while your house is a tame and weak poser from the suburbs!” That right there is a reason why you would want to read every single entry on the blog. What I like is that he cares about people who read his blog. He puts fun things in his entries like quizzes and little tests that the readers would get a kick out off. No two posts are the same and that is what keeps it interesting. I will definitely continue to read Dave Kelly’s blog and see where his life is taking him. The one thing that does upset me however, is that in his random 80’s tribute I have not seen a mention of Journey once.

  11. Hao Chen
    Posted 9/7/2004 at 6:07 pm | Permalink

    When I first sat down, dressed up with my “Internet surfing suit” (my keyboard and my mouse), started looking for targets by using google, thinking about how to fulfill this assignment, I realize that the objective of Dr. Halavais’ assignment is to familiarize us with the idea of “blogging”. To me, blog is the place the bloggers, as “pre-surfers”, put their digests of other webpages (including blogs, comments on the blogs, etc.). Now we are going to comments on these blogs which makes us some sense of bloggers too. Blogging is a fun way to express one’s ideas, thoughts, and comments, on the other hand, it is a good way to learn from others. My choice of blogs will be http://www.gizmodo.com/. It is a blog about gadgets. I admit I am a material person who fancy a lot of new and cool gadgets (even if I could not afford to buy them all), but who doesn’t? The blog has a typical blog structure which is very familiar to bloggers: daily entries at the major part, and archives links at the right panel. It is a safe way for blogging, because the content in the blog is the most important things. At this blog, you will have the newest gadgets news from all over the world (In order to explain the concept of “all over the world”, I saw a familiar-look-to-me Asian girl holding a Samsung cell phone at the frontpage). When you read over all these news, you will feel like you are among the first adopters of the innovation (Note: Just feel like, you are NOT until you buy one. The teacher on Diffusion of Innovation will not count you as innovation adopter.) Also after browsing a few layers of this blog, I would say the blog’s abundant images help readers read and enjoy the information. I don’t like those blogs only have words, words, words. The archive is also well-organized. You can dig into some specific field, say, cell-phone or PDAs, by clicking into the subgroup. I find it extremely useful when searching with objectives. At last, don’t forget to check out the Deals where you can realize your dreams.

  12. Jenn Heifetz
    Posted 9/7/2004 at 10:12 pm | Permalink

    As many others in the class expressed in their comments, I too had a bit of a difficult time finding a blog that interested me. Well, that’s not totally true. Many blogs that I viewed interested me, but not very many of them interested me enough to write about them. Finally, after much tedious searching, I came upon a blog that caught my eye, http://fashionslave.blogspot.com/ . The name alone grabbed my attention, Fashion Slave. In many instances, I have referred to myself as one of these. This is the type of person who, no matter what others think, will wear whatever he/she pleases, even if it means surrendering yourself to the various, evolving trends of Fashion. This blog included many entries regarding Valerie’s (the main character) struggles to successfully find a job in the impossibly tough fashion industry. One of my aspirations is to become a fashion merchandiser, so this blog proved very beneficial to me. It actually taught me something! Throughout many of her entries, she offers up some great advice, including tips for interviewing in this field. Although it is not at all hard to believe, I can totally relate to Valerie, and I feel that I will continue to learn from her experiences. Upon starting this assignment I never even thought that the information I would obtain from a blog could be so vital to me.

  13. Anne Marie
    Posted 9/7/2004 at 10:51 pm | Permalink

    Ok, just made it in time!
    The blog that I have chosen was based more or less on the title, More Than Doughnuts. I just figured that a 30+ woman living in NYC with a title like that for her blog must be my kind of chick. Low and behold she was. It’s funny to think that reading something that is just basically someone’s journal could be so self reflective but it honestly was. Her various topics included most of the things I think about throughout the course of my usual day, like being obsessed with small kitchen appliances (don’t ask, because I don’t even cook), thinking that Bush and Cheney look like fools when they hug each other (or just in general), she never buys anyone gifts but promises to do so, thinks that the way that younger girls dress “these days” makes you both jealous and disgusted at the same time (where are their mothers!!) and hates people who wear designer sunglasses at night just to show off the label.
    This got me think that even though this woman is 10 years older than me, we never really change our ways, sure we make look like we’ve changed but that is all just a way to “act” like adults. Ahh, growing up is just so hard to do, hope you check it out there were a few laugh out loud moments where my roommate would yell “what is so damn funny,” so I hardcore recommend you check it out!

  14. jennie hwang
    Posted 9/7/2004 at 11:04 pm | Permalink

    Blogging has become a phenomenon for free-expression of personal opinions. For example, after 911, many people blog and talk about their experiences during the event or the post effect evaluation. In particular for political blogging, people with different viewpoints, either republican or democratic, share their unique words online. Andrewsullivan.com, first introduced by my cousin in California, is pretty fun to read. Andrew could be said a gay conservative commentator and he writes columns at time magazine. First of all, I am not really political since I don’t care too much about America politics and all those controversy between the two parties. However, as the coming election approaches, who you support or how much you know about the campaign becomes significantly intriguing…I mean…socially it’s a hot topic! And once you are right on the track, you are so engaged. So Andrew writes pretty much everyday and the blog reflects his points of view about homosexuality, faith, politics, culture, people and the war. Each section on the blog lists archive articles and other bloggers’ letters for comments. For me it’s very interesting to get some ideas of how things being discussed and addressed in his very critical but somehow-let-you-think-more tone. The info part shows the readers’ demographics and site traffic, which I can identify who enters the site.

  15. Posted 9/8/2004 at 12:13 am | Permalink

    Blogs and blogging are admittedly new to me. This assignment has opened up my eyes to a whole new internet community. One blog in particular, http://wittandwisdom.blogs.com, caught my interest. As suggested by the title of this particular blog, the forum is used to share the author’s experience through various tales of witt or wisdom. I was shocked and amazed at the way common life experiences, jubilations, and insecurities were dealt with using such candor and unconventional appeal. Topics about meeting a girl in a human communication class strike a cord deep inside, and force me to remember such instances in my own life. One particular slice o’ life, titled “my penis may be a terrorist” was unlike anything I’d ever thought about. I’m still laughing out loud right now! This is what a blog should be about…provoking the audience to think about the world in new, exciting contexts. Despite humorous ramblings and insights, such as the notion that one day all of our clothing will consist of sock material and be simply rolled on and off our bodies, the sight has an existential undertone, and that really sparks my interest. The author shares his own strange ideas that individualize him with a sense of humor (I’m alone in this world, but it sure is a funny trip). This site is definitely worth a look, and might help us to cope with our own identities without feeling guilty about being different.

  16. Brenda Battleson
    Posted 9/8/2004 at 8:24 am | Permalink

    So many blogs, so little space… but nothing about Smurfs?? (Sorry… the “car shopping” post threw me into junior high school PTSD-related flashbacks. :)
    I’m a big fan of FARK, but wanted to discuss something perhaps less-familiar.
    I found Strindberg and Helium, a series of animated shorts of which I am a big fan. I wanted to see what blogs shared that interest thinking that there would be other commonalities. Authored by Bryan Alexander, Reply

  17. Anne Marie
    Posted 9/8/2004 at 12:10 pm | Permalink

    My link didn’t work, whoops! Here is the link to More Than Doughnuts : http://www.morethandoughnuts.blogspot.com

  18. Posted 11/2/2004 at 11:02 pm | Permalink

    Food for Thought-I know it’s late ut i still want to post even if it may not count.

    Blog after blog after blog; usually it’s a reenactment of a person’s daily events rewritten to the point of boredom. I have searched high & low and finally I stumbled upon a deliciously entertaining site: http://www.amateurgourmet.com/the_amateur_gourmet/. I love food & this site offers a thought-provoking site with many tasty delights of photos for readers who enjoy the art of cooking.
    The blogger use a delightful array of words to help the reader know exactly what the food tastes like and one can only imagine how palatable it is.
    This is an extremely appetizing read. I could even close my eyes and taste the food with the tip of my tongue.
    The blogger is so creative, he even concocted a game show on his blog called Gourmet Survivor 2004: which is a knock-off version of Survivor. Many have entered, few have survived!
    The game show tests ones amateur skills in cooking and lets the audience decide who gets to stay & who gets to be kicked off the show by having audiences rate the quality of the contestant’s food with a detailed depiction from the blogger about how good it tasted.
    Although we are not reviewing the visual design of the site, the blogger does show us pictures of things he has eaten but he also shows us recipes and step by step photos of how he preps the food & what it looks like after it has been cooked. This site is really useful for people who like to experiment with food. I highly recommend this site!

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