Thursday, May 10, 2007

Not Blogging With Gary Stager

My most entertaining ed-tech blog reading this week has been in David Warlick's comment threads (here and here), where Gary Stager has been cutting loose with both barrels:

I have disagree profoundly with some of the work and beliefs of the colleagues you mentioned in your original post. I would love to discuss both the subtle and extreme points of disagreement with any of them in a public setting. The audience would certainly benefit from watching smart people discuss serious issues.

So, consider this a challenge to conference organizers. I would be delighted to share a stage with David or any of our other colleagues for a sustained substantive debate about the nature of learning, the role of technology or the future of learning. Just tell me when and where to show up!

I'm certainly in favor of poking holes in David's stream of convivial babble, but I have a crazy idea: couldn't we do this on blogs?

If you're going to consistently criticize a colleague/competitor in comments on their blog, you really ought to give them the same opportunity to come back at you on your blog, where you sincerely lay out your ideas (and no, The Pulse isn't enough). David has at least had the sand to do this, while folks like Gary and Alan November haven't, and, quite frankly, Gary and Alan have never given me the impression they understand the medium of blogging at all.


Gary said...


I understand blogging. I'm doing it now, right?

I do lots of writing for The Pulse, District Administration and for other publications in addition to teaching, speaking, consulting and traveling constantly. I'm not making excuses, but wonder what you think I'm missing?

Should I be keeping a web-log or use Twitter to keep people up-to-date with my fascinating life? (I'm getting a haircut in NYC in an hour)

I was arguing for more dialogue in all formats, but I do not believe that blogging is superior to a face-to-face discussion. My argument was that conferences and our field is increasingly anti-intellectual and prone to what Seymour Papert called, "verbal inflation." That was my criticism.

As for blogging, I spent an hour writing something for David Warlick's blog yesterday only to have the captcha wrong and lose everything I had written.

The blogging interface is severely lacking as a vehicle for discussion. The software is primitive, it's hard to follow a "thread" and most people do not really want you to respond to their blogs.

For far too many people, the Read/Write web means, "I write. You read."

Gotta go figure out your captcha. (got the first attempt wrong)

Gary said...

PS: If blogging is communal and viral. Why is writing on someone else's blog evidence that I don't get blogging?

Is blogging about owning virtual real estate?

Gary said...

Another thought...

After I endured typing into a 3 inch box and copied your secret code, I learned that my comment won't appear on your blog until it is approved by you.

That seems peculiar.

Gnuosphere said...

Gary says:

"I understand blogging. I'm doing it now, right?"

Hi Gary. I took from Tom's post that he thinks it would be better for readers to have a forum where they can comment directly on an author's postings and engage with others through such a medium. If you have such a place, please pass me the URL.

"I do not believe that blogging is superior to a face-to-face discussion"

In some ways it is, and in other ways it isn't. For me, I like to have a forum to write back and forth especially when the issues are complex and the writers (including myself) have not necessarily thought through that complexity. Going on stage for a set amount of time can be at a disadvantage in this regard. Often, silence is not when it should be as "keeping the audience entertained" can become a subconscious goal. And then there is the simple fact that the blog forum provides an opportunity to communally connect at long distances asynchronously where otherwise, there would be no such kind of connection at all.

Hey, I live in Africa. Although I'd love to come here you speak and debate publicly, you can count on my absence.

Tom Hoffman said...

Well, that's not exactly what I meant. I mean, anyone can respond to a comment with another comment. But only commenting (usually critically) feels like a boxer who only will counter-punch. It isn't quite sporting.

Of course, Gary does have a big body of published work, on the web or otherwise. He even blogs on The Pulse. What he blogs about there is different in focus from his commenting.

I don't have any major beef with Gary. What I'm saying is that he would be more effective if he would blog more, and put more of his comments on his own blog, rather than only hiding them in comment threads.

DRS said...

I always enjoy Gary's perspective and yours (neither of which I always agree)

It is hard to track Gary's movement around the blogosphere....It would be easier if he had a home.


Gnuosphere said...

"What I'm saying is that [Gary] would be more effective if he would blog more, and put more of his comments on his own blog, rather than only hiding them in comment threads."

Yes, this makes sense. Given his response, it appears Gary sees little or no value in this.