Wednesday, March 29, 2006

Taking the Blogger Pledge, well, sort of. . .

I had seen the reconstituted Library Juice Blog by Rory Litwin, but until I saw the reference to Mr. Litwin's "Blogging Pledge" in Mark Lindner's blog here, I had not really given the pledge any thought. So, in the interests of a little reflection and sort of keeping myself on my toes, here is where I would stand. By the way, I used to read Library Juice in its first incarnation, so I am glad he is back again. I am sure a lot of other readers are very happy he has returned. Mr. Litwin's pledge makes for an overall good set of principles for bloggers.

First, Mr. Litwin pledged not to refer to other bloggers by their first name. He gives good reasons for this. In my case, it is a bit more simple. Most other bloggers out there are people I have not met personally, so calling them by first name does not seem appropriate. Now, there are a couple of people who have told me it is ok to use their first name (and they know who they are). Otherwise, it's full name if provided or blog name (i.e. the blogger or author at so-and-so). I usually open references to other blogs by full blog name and blogger the first time I make the reference just to make sure people know where to go for the information.

Second, and this is where I may diverge with Mr. Litwin but only a little. I will not talk about my own life, much. For the more personal, I have a personal blog. However, don't expect details of my breakfast or my laundry. Unlike Mr. Litwin, I have no idea why readers come to my academic blog, but I am sure knick knacks is not it. So folks, it's simple: you want stuff about librarianship, instruction, some campus events, articles, books, my subject areas, reading and literacy, this is the place. If you want the more personal with a bit more rebelliousness or playfulness, go over there.

Third, I will not get ugly, tempted as I may be at times. I will admit there are days when I would love to rip someone who deserves it a new one. However, doing so only lowers the civility, so we can keep that out. By the same token, I don't tolerate ugliness, so comments with invective or other rudeness will be removed. Don't make me turn on the moderation.

Fourth is a bit trickier, but I will try not to get into what Mr. Litwin calls "rough-and-tumble." Sure, I have some political ideas, but I try to keep them close to my vest. Readers are free to speculate. In my case, I was raised with the doctrine of things to avoid in polite company. While I do discuss some of those in my personal blog, I try to keep it minimal and civil. As for the politics of the librarian profession, I try to stay out of those. However, if something needs to be said, I will say it, even if it means "Damn the torpedoes! Full speed ahead!"

Tht fifth point is an important one to me. Mr. Litwin proposes to pay attention and be fair. Fairness to me is very important. I will strive to consistently treat people fairly. They deserve at least that much. I do strive to pay attention, and I often take my time replying to issues I see because I am reading, listening, and paying attention. In my book, fools do rush in. I also want any debate, if it comes to that, to be civil and rational. Sure, I am aware that in some debates, some people will never change their minds no matter how "wrong" they may be, but I will at least give them a fair chance. It does not mean I will keep dealing with someone irrational. Even Don Corleone knew that you could not negotiate with some people (you see, that movie does have the answer to everything). At any rate, how can one grow without exposure to differing and often opposing viewpoints and ideas? Actually, that is something I wish the overzealous censors would think about in their drive to deprive the rest of us of any materials they deem unfit. But I disgress. On this topic, also, if I make a mistake, I will own to it. It is only fair to do so. I will work on being accurate.

On the sixth point, I am not so sure. Mr. Litwin says he will not talk much. I can be talkative when engaged, but he says what I often think very well, so I will let him say it:

"I pledge to be silent on an issue where I have nothing of substance, or nothing that is new, to contribute. I will not say what I find obvious, what other people are already saying, what amounts to an emotional reaction that I have not reflected upon with at least an attempt at depth, or what doesn’t contain something that feels to me like an insight or that I think might be of some use."

In other words, for me at least, I am not adding to an echo chamber. This is probably why I stay out of certain librarianship topics. It is not because I am not interested or lack my own thoughts, but what is the point of adding an echo? Sure, I may post something with some emotion, but that may be rare since I often let drafts sit before I post them. Well, this goes for the long ones I like to ponder. I do the quick short stuff as well, but I have no aspirations to be anybody's timely source of information. There are other blogs out there that do the whole awareness thing very well. For me, this blog is a reflection tool. In the end, my professional blog is a learning tool, so I see no sense in retreading paths that are well worn by others.

So, there you go, a partial pledge. Partial because over at my personal blog I may break a rule or two with more ease. After all, rules are meant to be broken sometimes, but there is a place and a time for everything. At any rate, since this month is my first anniversary of blogging, this seemed like a good time to reflect a little on what principles I consider when blogging. I also wanted to make some nice and insightful "end of the first year" thing, but it seems work may trump that. Heck, seeing this is a busy time for me, it's a miracle I started blogging last year. So far, so good. We'll see how it works in the coming year.


walt said...

Nicely said, nicely nuanced. "Blog name" is important for one point: I'm trying to do better about using the full name, at least the first time, when referring to someone else--but many bloggers only use one name on their posts; there, I now feel free either to use that name or simply the name of the blog.

Mark said...

Nice job Angel, and congrats on the anniversary!

As I said last night, I've been doing some thinking it seems, whether or not I had time to be aware of it. I might be making some changes soon, some along the lines of some of this. I guess I'm just conflicted over some of these and a few other things and I'm thinking I need a bit of distance.

Anyway, you know where to find my thoughts when I get them stitched together myself.

Again, congrats and keep up the excellent work! Oh yeah, a definite congrats on getting listed by Walt as a blogger deserving of more attention!

Angel, librarian and educator said...

Walt: Thanks for stopping by. When I started out, I debated if I wanted to include my full name or not on my blog. While I currently do not have my last name, it certainly is not a mysterious secret since the link to my library is on my blog. Anyone really curious can hop over and find me since I am the only Angel who is a librarian at my library (not to mention I am THE Instruction Librarian). So, I usually go by what people offer on their blog (real name or pseudonym), or blog name if they offer nothing. By the way, have not had time to look over C&I, something I always look forward to. Students are coming in for consultations as papers are closer to the due dates. Best, and keep on blogging.

Mark: Thanks as well for stopping by. I have been bad this month about keeping up with comments, in part, as I told Walt above, due to students. Hey, they are the ones I do my work for. I am kind of at a rethinking stage now. I don't know if making it to your first year does some of this. I have more than enough prompts, but getting them together is a different matter. We'll see. In the meantime, you keep stitching those thoughts together. Best, and keep on blogging.