As a part of my experiment in social media, not only am I writing a blog, but I’ve asked my students in senior seminar to blog too. They are not particularly happy about this (nor, by extension, I think, with me). I give a prize each week to the student who has had the most activity on his or her blog, and this week the prize was won by a student who blogged about her frustration with the exercise, and got a flurry of comments agreeing with her.
This reminded me about the old joke that I think originated with the comic strip the Wizard of Id by Brant Parker and Johnny Hart. The minion shouts that “the peasants are revolting!” to which the king responds, “they certainly are.” Here’s a more modern version of the joke:
My students are revolting (but they’re not revolting, if you know what I mean). It’s time for me to put on my professor hat and figure out just why I’m doing this exercise, and what I hope for them to get out of it other than to suck it up and do what the professor says to do (it’s GOOD for you, dammit, and besides, you’re being GRADED on this).
So I started thinking more about the purposes of blogs. Most of my students assured me that if they were blogging for an organization they would have no problem with it — that they saw blogging as a useful tool, they just couldn’t think of what to write about when it came to their personal observations. I get it…and I didn’t give them any clues about what to write about which makes it even harder. The only criteria I gave them was that they were to try and experiment with what it takes to get people to read it.
I must admit that I thought this would be an easy exercise because I love blogs. I read a lot of them and I enjoy writing this one. While I know there are lots and lots of unnecessary blogs out there, blogs that are no more than people spouting off about what they happen to be doing at the time or ranting about something nobody cares about, there are also some really great blogs that publish ideas and thoughts that I wouldn’t learn about any other way. It was through a blog that I learned that the Vancouver Opera has manga versions of its operas and is hosting a contest an animation contest called OperaBot 2.0. Yesterday’s Artful Manager entry contained a link to a wonderful new program sponsored by the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation called Random Acts of Culture — a program geared to get the arts out in the open.
My favorite blog post from today is from Life’s a Pitch, and it’s called I’ll give you a thousand dollars if you don’t make me go. Blogger Amanda Ameer, after mentioning the wonderful new film The Social Network (which we also must talk about someday), was wistfully recalling writer Aaron Sorkin’s masterpiece, The West Wing. Ms. Ameer discussed President Bartlet’s reaction to having to attend a symphony concert. Give it a read, I hope you like it as much as I do.
It seems as though I do nothing all day except read blogs, and that’s not exactly true (my husband would say I spend far too much time on Facebook and watching Dancing With the Stars, which in my defense I would point out can be done at the same time). But I do like blogs because they’re easy and you don’t have to wade through pages of material to get to what you need. They spark ideas, and they point you directions you hadn’t thought of going. And if they are snooze-worthy, you can get out easily and onto something else.
Here are some of my favorite arts-related blogs. I should also point out that during this past week, Americans for the Arts has hosted a blog salon, inviting several bloggers to post in the same space, in preparation for the National Arts Marketing Conference in November. Today’s the last day, but I hope they leave the archives up, because it’s good stuff.
In no particular order:
- Life’s a Pitch: for immediate release – the arts are marketable
- The Artful Manager: Andrew Taylor on the business of Arts and Culture
- Technology in the Arts: exploring the intersection of arts management and online technology
- Artsblog: from Americans for the Arts
Students — perhaps I haven’t spent enough time sharing the wonders of other blogs with you. Check these out and tell me what you think.
The rest of you — what blogs do you recommend to me and my students?