Tuesday, October 25, 2005

A bit more on blogs and usability

Mark Lindner, of . . .the thoughts are broken, has written his thoughts on the Jakob Nielsen article. I wrote my own here. I think Mark's post brings forth an interesting question, one that some other bloggers out there may struggle with: do we need or have to separate our private from our public lives? I am sure the Tribble article only added fuel to the fiery question in the minds of many academic bloggers. It is a question I have struggled with myself. On the one hand, I do firmly believe that certain things should stay private. They are my business and no one else's. I am pretty sure Mark would agree to this, though I am also sure he would correct me for taking the liberty to guess if he does not agree. On the other hand, when I chose to create my blogs, I chose to make myself known. It means my public and private lives cross somewhat. I can be googled now, and people will likely find a good deal of stuff about me. I still try to be very careful about what may go online, since you never know who is out there seeking. At any rate, I think the struggle for some comes in deciding how and where to let those lines of a public life and a private life to cross. As a writer, I think we always bring a part of ourselves to what we create. An anonymous blogger may bring out more of his/her unfettered thoughts, but that blogger still reflects his/her person in the process. These are just a few thoughts on something I think now and then, and they are definitely a work in progress.

I went with the path of a second blog, but in my case, that just reflects the fact that I have a few "random" thoughts and interests. For example, last month I posted a quiz or two, went to a festival, read about Cognac and lesbians (not in the same post), and a few other things. My second blog is my place to indulge the urge to go unconventional now and then. I wanted this blog to be my professional development/librarianship blog. The second one is my "whatever else strikes my fancy, I got to say something out of bounds" blog. Two sides of me? Not really, maybe different moods. Hey, I learn a few things, reflect on my practice and trade, and have some fun as well. It sounds like a great reason to have a blog or two.

I loved Pharyngula's line about worrying over your future boss when you blog. Mark shares the line. I think it is so good it deserves to be posted here as well. The line is:

"This is his worst suggestion of them all: muzzle yourself now in preparation for your future corporate overlords. Screw that, bozo."

I think I could not have said it better myself. By the way, I pointed to Pharyngula's blog, written by P.Z. Myers in my earlier post, but if you have not seen it, it is worth a look.

On classic hits? Hmm, not sure about that. I have not been around long enough to compile "Gypsy Librarian's Greatest Hits" or "Itinerant Hits from an Unconventional Librarian." (Catchy titles, huh? No? Oh well). I did read someplace else, and I have to look it up, that revisiting older posts now and then is a nice way to reflect on your writing as well as give you ideas for content. So, in that sense, maybe you don't want your classics too buried. Then again, for the blogger, that is what search tools are for. Just another thought.

I am getting the impression the Nielsen piece will get some wheels turning for folks, so I will be looking at the biblioblogosphere and beyond to see what pops up. I think librarians, and writers as a whole, are too rebellious to be bound by a set of rules.

P.S. I came across a response by Jenne, of Redhaired Librarian, to Nielsen. It is well worth a look as well for another point of view. I got it through LIS News and its feature This Week in Library Blogland.


Mark said...

I do certainly agree that some things should be kept private; and that point is different for all of us.

Just to be certain, although I don't see this in your response at all, but I do not have an issue with folks having multiple, separate blogs, nor I do I feel that this necessarily implies fragmentation. One blog is, for now for me, a (personal) ethical stance.

"Itinerant Hits from an Unconventional Librarian." I love it! The other could maybe use a bit of work, though. ;->

I do agree with the going back and re-reading your own previous stuff. I do just that on occasion and I do try to link to the older stuff as appropriate, but I know I often must miss some connections.

Rikhei said...

I've also taken the path of a second blog; in fact, my personal blog has been around much longer than Lethal Librarian. I have definitely struggled with finding a balance between the personal and public. I agree with your point that as writers, we always bring a part of ourselves to what we create. Still, I've found that I enjoy blogs that tell me a little bit more about the person I'm reading about. I enjoy reading about Karen Schneider's MFA program, and I was quite cheered to discover other librarian-bloggers eagerly awaiting the release of Serenity about a month ago. Nowadays, I find myself trying to be slightly more personal in tone, without burdening or boring my readers with too much irrelevant content.

Angel, librarian and educator said...

Thanks to Mark and Rikhei for stopping by. Mark, I know, the other title could use some serious work, but hey, you caught me on a spur of the moment. The rereading idea is one I have not practiced as often. I have been writing in journals before I jumped to blogging, and I am sure there are some things there I could revisit. We'll have to see.

Rikhei, I went the other way around. I started the "professional" blog first, and the "play" blog later when I sort of felt the need to have a place for "things not said in polite company," namely politics and religion. Actually, I have not put that much of that if at all, but the second blog moved on to be more of a play space or a place for the miscellaneous. I did enjoy reading Karen's posts on the MFA as well. I am not ga-ga over Serenity (yes, I know all about it, I just never caught it on TV), but I will watch it as soon as it is out on DVD (I am not much of a movie theater person, preferring actual live theater). I am sure you will strike your balance in time.

Best, and keep on blogging.