What not to write

Have just been reading a journal article entitled:

Blogging as Pedagogic Practice: Artefact and Ecology1
by Marcus O’Donnell of the University of Wollongong, Australia

To be fair to Marcus O’Donnell, he didn’t actually write this – he just cited it. However, if I EVER write anything even resembling this, then please feel free to click on the top right hand corner and never speak to me again…..

“Where oral rhetoric is embodied and literacy is disembodied, a
cyberdiscursive rhetoric is virtual, characterized by remotely centred
interactivity and instantaneousness…the concrete rhetoric of orality and
abstract rhetoric of literacy become dynamic in cyberdiscursivity via the
continuous, productive nature created by virtuality and user agency…oral
rhetoric’s aggregative structure and literacy’s hierarchical structure give way
to an emergent structure in CMC, pieced together by a user who does not
recognize a structure until it develops before her through a random choice
of fragments which seldom, if ever, remain cohesive, and which usually
become impossible to trace…the communal nature of oral rhetoric and the
individual nature of literacy move toward an idiosyncratic rhetoric in which
reader/user agency transforms the textual experience into an epistemologically
challenging game which shatters rules as basic to print texts as one word
following another. (Jacobsen 2002:xx)”

I have no words to describe this – No amount of words could ever describe this. Perhaps this type of writing can be better described by another blog…

“Hmmm. There are a lot of big words in there and I don’t immediately know what some of them mean.  My choices are:  mine down into them, mindlessly dismiss them or run away from them, listening to those untrue limiting assumptions that still hang about in my bones somewhere, frightened of engaging but not understanding.   Luckily, I’ve learned that if I put my mind to unpicking the language of something that looks like a key paragraph, I can usually get to what I’m meant to understand” (teachnorthern, 2012, Online)

I guess that things brings a debate regarding the sort of language that we should be using in blogs. While the quote from Jacobsen was not in a blog, but in a journal, it still shows the vast difference in the wording (should I have said lexis?) of the two different media. My main issue with the use of ‘academic language’ is that it is not a language which I readily understand. I had to read the passage several times, and I am still unsure of the meaning – just like teachnorthern, above.

This puts me in a bit of a crossroads. I’m well aware that this is a masters degree, and that I am trying to write at level seven and get the best grade possible, but at the same time trying to make the blog entertaining. The most entertaining blogs do not use the language that Jacobsen used. Whilst trying to look at other examples of blogs to get an insight into the styles of language used in blogging, I found myself reading an entire years worth of blogging which was written by a 9 year old girl. Neverseconds (2012, Online.) is proof that it is possible to be entertaining, thought (and action) provoking and emotional, without ever trying to be too clever.

I’m now going to see what my tutors say about this post before I decide on the style of my future posts. Never let your integrity get in the way of a good grade.


MAD (2014). Martha Payne: “Changing the World, One School Dinner at a Time”. Available: http://vimeo.com/85140281 [Accessed 23/03/2014]

O’Donnell, M., (2006) Blogging as pedagogic practice: artefact and ecology, Asia Pacific Media Educator, Vol. 17, pp.5-19 [online] Available at: http://ro.uow.edu.au/apme/vol1/iss17/3 [Accessed 21 September 2012]

Payne, M. (2012), Neverseconds. [Online.] Available: http://neverseconds.blogspot.co.uk/ Accessed: 23/03/2014

Teachnorthern (2012), Criticality: Learning to disagree [Online.] Available: http://teachnorthern.wordpress.com/2012/10/08/criticality-learning-to-disagree/ [accessed 21/03/2014]



  1. The aspect of Jacobsen’s piece is that the narrative of discourse in the medium of CMC is not as sequential and normal written text. In other words in a blog ideas bounce around and you do not write in a structured way. I like that about blogs, they can provide a rich source of a story, rather than stale text of an essay. Good referencing of research 🙂

    You are right though, the language used is not for a blog or website. I am looking forward to reading more about your thoughts and experiences on blogging and other aspects of technology enhanced teaching.

  2. I have enjoyed reading your first post Dean. Your experience is not dissimilar to my own. When I read the first article I was given at Masters’ Level I honestly thought to myself – this is going to be a challenge. Three years later I couldn’t put the journal articles down. Isn’t this the point about learning – overcoming obstacles and getting better at what we do? I am not a fan of “learning styles” but working at Masters level so intensively had definitely helped me unravel complicated ideas & theories.

    If I had to summarise the above article (although it is very extensive) I would pick up on the fact that blogging can be both a monologue (or biographical) and a dialogue (speaking to an audience) and I can see evidence of this in your first blog post.

    I am so pleased that you picked up on Martha Payne’s blog and TeachNorthern. I love the fluidity and cogency of TeachNorthern’s posts which is why I included it in the list of blogs to explore. Another blogger I like is Steve Wheeler. If you haven’t come across him yet he is (in my opinion) very readable but at the same time informative.


  3. The quote from Jacobsen. I’m with you. I only wish I’d read your blog before Id read the whole article. O’Donnell should have left it out. Pretentious drivel if that’s not too strong a term

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