Sunday, February 27

Upcoming grammar holiday: March 4

National Grammar Day is March 4, 2011!

I am excited about this. I suppose this is some of what makes me Grammarissa... being (way too) excited about grammar and celebrating it.

I plan to have some festivities at my workplace, but I think the real fun will happen at home. Currently, Andy and I have been thinking about eating AlphaBits cereal and alphabet soup, running a slideshow of hilarious grammar mistakes, giving awards to our friends for good or bad grammar, and having a parade of grammar. We're not sure what a parade of grammar entails yet, but it could be excellent and that's what I'm working for. I want it to be an excellent celebration.

Monday, February 21

An infinite mirror: media use

It's like the New York Times read my blog... that, or I'm just one voice in a cacophony of bewilderment about the shifts in social media use.

...I'll flatter myself today.

Blogging is far from arcane, at this point (or is it?). The NYT reports that while youth (12-17 year-olds) are moving in hoards to the quicker forms of social media (e.g., Twitter and Facebook), the 18-33 year-olds are going strong with blogs.

I'm beginning to wonder if this isn't a reflection of a larger trend. Like, the trend of children with cell phones.

Blogging almost inherently requires a computer—be it laptop or desktop—to pound out a draft, complete with links and synthesized thoughts. (Perhaps I'm setting the stakes too high by suggesting that all blog posts synthesize information?)

Tweeting, however, can be done from a cell phone. The same is true for Facebook updates.

In 2010, the NYT reported that 66% of children (8-18 years-old) own cell phones (up from 39% in 2004).

On average, young people spend about two hours a day consuming media on a mobile device, the study found. They spend almost another hour on “old” content like television or music delivered through newer pathways like the Web site Hulu or iTunes. Youths now spend more time listening to or watching media on their cellphones, or playing games, than talking on them.

What's to say that the same children consuming media with their cell phones aren't also creating media for consumption, à la Facebook or Twitter? If kids are more likely to have cell phones than computers (or, at the very least, spend more time on their cell phones than computers), wouldn't it seem likely that they'll interact with whatever media is easiest for that mode of communication?

Maybe I'm speculating. I can't seem to find a readily accessible news report on children and their Twitter and Facebook habits (beyond studies tiptoeing around the idea that children divulge too much personal information, which is a different topic altogether). Nonetheless, it seems to me that if there's a drop off in blog use that it might have something to do with the devices the next generation is using.

Blogging may remain popular for traditionalists (like me) who enjoy writing for a community (defined or undefined) to share news or introspection, but social media have won their place in the world, for better or worse.

The generational divisions in media use, however, will most likely only be teased out by examining the modes for access (i.e., cell phones, desktops, laptops, iPads, etc.). It's not that younger generations reject certain modes, but that they embrace others more, which will ultimately be seen as a reflection to the wider world of media use as other, newer media enchant younger, newer generations.

Wednesday, February 9

Boundaries in blogging and tweeting

I came to blogging at the latter end of its prime (2003) and came to tweeting late (last month). Since moving my blog, I've tried to reinvent myself as a blogger (a little, since who I was with Sugarpacket was not a bad thing!). But now that I am also tweeting, I'm having issues regulating myself.

Sometimes I read a great article, watch a video, or see something offline and think (as I have conditioned myself over years of careful blogging), "Wow, I should blog this!" Now, though, I have an internal battle... I wonder, "Should I tweet this or blog it? Can I do both? Will anyone read the blog if I tweet this? Should I blog it and then tweet my blog?" (And then I thank goodness that I'm not on Facebook and don't have that as a third option to consider for sharing my thoughts with the world... This conundrum is difficult enough!)

Am I only conflicted about whether to blog or tweet based upon my past history with blogging? I suspect this is part of the problem. My blog was always a personal dais, a blank slate of exploration in writing, a think-tank for scholastic endeavors, and a pseudo water cooler for discussions. Having to move my blog, having to begin again, was a dramatic (and somewhat melancholic) leap into the cold(er)-hearted world of online communication. I knew I was sheltered at—I had a lot of control over my blog, I knew how things worked, I was given readership, and my expectations about how a blogosphere works were consistently met. Now, on the other side, I'm learning that my readership is essentially gone, it's up to me to build (or retain) readership, and the person I built to stand behind Sugarpacket doesn't matter to these readers because they may not know, want to know, or care to investigate who I am/was with that blog (despite this post being littered with links to it—ha!).

But at nearly the same time I moved my blog, I introduced myself to another medium for communication, one that I had been reluctant to adopt for several reasons. Now that I'm on Twitter, though, I'm seeing some of its merits. It's quick, just-in-time delivery of multimedia with limited effort, time, or dedication. Conversely, blogging takes a little longer, might not be as immediate as tweeting (especially since tweeting can be accomplished from a cell phone, which could be cumbersome at best for blogging), and requires, in this blogger's opinion, more effort, time, and dedication.

People used to do liveblogging of events. Now they livetweet (and clog up your Twitter timeline!). People used to post thoughtful blogs about articles or events. Now they tweet and retweet links to extend a massive reverberation of tweet-tweet-tweet across the globe.

What I don't like about tweeting? It seems a little more direct (in-your-face) than blogging. Tweets can't be edited (or I haven't figured out how to do that yet). Identity building appears to take a much longer time (or is there truly any identity construction taking place by piling up links and tidbits of conversations fit for fortune cookies?).

I still prefer blogging. Tweeting has its place, but I'm still learning how to carve out that place in my online life. I haven't quite figured out the balance or the boundaries between blogging and tweeting.

Saturday, February 5


I am incredibly uninspired lately. I don't quite know if it's the weather, but I think that might have something to do with it. Or it could be the stress I'm facing at work. Regardless, I haven't felt like writing anything lately.

I tweet occasionally. I joined eMusic today to give it a try. I read news online. I read friend's tweets and blogs. I'm reading my work friend's back issues of National Geographic. I'm rereading a few of my favorite books—Hemingway's The Sun Also Rises, Woolf's Mrs. Dalloway, a volume of short stories from a lit class in college. But I feel like I have nothing to say. No commentary, no insight, no complaints or compliments.

I suppose I am in absorbing mode right now. I'm just taking it all in. Maybe later I'll feel like expounding.