The following post was from my original blog on ronincyberpunk.com, it is archived here for posterity purposes
The following is an essay I wrote for my English class, it is rather short because of the word limit she placed on us, which is thankful because I feel I could have gone on forever had I been given the free reign.
Education consistently teaches formal writing styles, often neglecting the informal. Blog is a term that reporter William Safire of The New York Times reports to have originated in 1999 from a web site called "Robot Wisdom Weblog." Blogs, such as my personal website, encourage both formal and informal styles as a method for recording personal events, communicating both thoughts and ideas while offering a non-traditional way to exercise writing. As I read over my writings from the beginning to the end, I could see my writing style change and grow as I learned and practiced writing.
To learn something, someone must not only practice when directed, they must practice constantly. For a long while, in my own life, I did not realize that I could practice writing overall, I thought it was either formal or informal style, and so when I occasionally wrote informally, I was in truth helping my formal writing as well. My blog has given me a reason to practice, a way to record my life as a journal; but often when keeping a private journal the urge to write would decline and it would eventually fall to the wayside. With a blog, I have readers who I don't know and have never met, but they are someone who comes to my web page wanting to read about my life. This fact causes me to feel an obligation, I write to an audience but I write for myself.
Society is becoming very outgoing and open, sharing things that would normally be confidential; things that would be written only in a private diary are frequently published on newspaper headlines and discussed in depth on television talk shows. Whatever the content, blogs offer a way to post thoughts and feelings in a journalistic manner. They are not limited to news events; they allow a way to share ideas or concepts. However no matter how wonderful the idea, it must be presented well to be accepted, J. Michael Straczynski put it best by saying that "the quality of our thoughts is bordered on all sides by our facility with language." To build that facility we must be able to write well.
Bloggers form a community on the Internet, a large and extensive society of writers from all over the world. This is a communication system of real people, voices of housewives, television actors, jobless computer programmers, teenagers, authors and thousands of others. These people are bloggers; they share opinions on the mundane, stories on their daily lives, and compare thoughts among one another. They are one giant community filled with thousands of "contact zones" as defined by Mary Louise Pratt, this digital crossroad allows people to come together with others who they may never have gotten to know. The blog community is filled with "social spaces where cultures meet, clash and grapple with each other" (Pratt 607). So many opinions in a community guarantees that opinions will differ and emotions will flash causing these clashes as writers compose volley after volley in their debates, these opinions offer new areas for a writer to explore, a new perspective for the writer to consider.
All writers, when asked, speak of how it is necessary to practice – just as it is in any other hobby where style and ability is measured. Many great authors have kept journals as a form of tracking thoughts and practicing the written word. Since the advent of the Internet our society has sped up, language abilities in many have deteriorated into verbal shortcuts and ways to cut a few precious keystrokes in search of speed in communication. But with blogs comes an online medium for communication where we are judged by our words, talking to people who don't know us, only our words. Writing on my blog provides a way to practice my English skills, a place to write about what I want to write about without stress over grading, without an editor – only me. It is that place where my writing flourishes and grows.
Pratt, Mary Louise. "Arts of the Contact Zone." Ways of Writing. David Bartholomae, Anthony Petrosky. Boston: Bedford, 2002. 607.Safire, William. "Blog." The New York Times. 28 July 2002. 15 Sept. 2002.