Tuesday, May 22, 2007

If PowerPoint makes you stupid, what does blogging do?

I just finished leading a seminar on using PowerPoint for some faculty. I gave the qualifier at the beginning that I'm very sympathetic to the charges going around a couple of years ago that PowerPoint makes you stupid. There was an article in the New York Times with that title. The claim is basically that the way PP is used by most, it becomes a dumbing down of complex issues into lists of bullet points. The cognitive style of PP does not lend itself to critical thinking. So, I tried to steer people into what I think are more legitimate uses of the program--namely showing pictures and giving quotations.

I wonder what the cognitive style of blogging is... How is this training us to think and interact? The threaded discussions that appear on Facebook, etc., are interesting in that they provide a forum for you to think about something before saying it--as opposed to the classroom discussion where I have to be more impromptu and off the cuff. I like that. (Of course there is a lot of off-the-cuff threaded discussion, but the possibility is there for it to be more reflective.)

Blogging, however, is more like a monologue. It is like making speeches or writing essays. It can certainly be used to sharpen one's own thought. But as far as impacting others, I'm not confident that there are many bloggers who are going to change the world. According to my Feedburner Stats, there have been three hits on my blog in the last 21.5 hours. I assume that means there have been three people who have actually made it to the site. That's not exactly a crowd.

So if it were this difficult thing to get "published", then only the strong survive and everyone who wants to read goes to the same thing. Now getting "published" on the web is as easy as writing a letter. Supply and demand. Given the glut of blog supply, there's not much demand.

It seems, then, that the benefit of writing this is primarily for myself. Why put it on the web, then? Hmmm...


derryprenkert said...

I must be one of three; because I read regularly, and a few thoughts have been sparked.

Rob said...

I subscribe and have appreciated your thoughts so far...I'm not a Bethel student or alum....but you rather remind me of my favorite prof from Taylor...and you can impact with blogging...you just may not always see the results.