The peasants are revolting! (they certainly are)

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:

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?

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About Ellen Rosewall

I am Professor and Chair of Arts Management and author of Arts Management: Uniting Arts and Audiences in the 21st Century (Oxford University Press, 2013). I believe that arts and culture are undergoing a profound change in the 21st century, and I love talking with people about how we continue to bring arts to our communities and individuals give the brave new world of social media, technology and economic changes. Join the conversation!
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12 Responses to The peasants are revolting! (they certainly are)

  1. Catherine Viste says:

    I couldn’t help but laugh at “they just couldn’t think of what to write about when it came to their personal observations.” Our authors are constantly saying the same thing and we keep providing them with the same answer: your expertise.

    So, a recommendation from a former student to your present students:
    1. Topics in the major or minor
    2. Reflections on Current events
    3. Reviews, Reviews, Reviews – everyone loves a critic.
    4. Tips – Anything from Theatre Design, Music Theory to How to Make a Blanket From Toilet Paper
    5. Um, hello: Classes! Keep passing on the Knowledge! Use this material and back it up with your own research.

    I’m loving this new venture! Go IAM!

    – Cate Viste

  2. Ryan says:

    I don’t know if I have recommendations for blogs; although I do follow many that are helpful to me. But this is what I’d share with your students if you’re open to this perspective. Maybe they’ll gain from it if they are still struggling with the purpose of blogging…I hope it helps.

    I think blogging is important for individuals because for the first time ever, the individual’s brand, persona and projection of themselves is as important if not more important than the organization you’re a part of. For the first time, due to the nature of the web, individuals have to operate as an extension of a company versus as a piece to a company. That’s where the web is taking us. Where as the college grad of the past kept their first job after college for 10 – 15 years; now the average 30 year old has had 5 jobs between graduation and being 30.

    As much as we, especially in the non profit world, want to establish ourselves within a company or organization; we need to establish ourselves within an industry. It’s no longer The Arts Management department with Ellen Rosewall…It’s Ellen Rosewall with the Arts Management Department. And if Ellen ever leaves GB, her personal brand will carry with her to bring value and added visibility and marketing awareness to her next opportunity.

    So…that’s my thoughts. Sorry for the rant.

    Hope you’re well Ellen. I think this project based learning activity is CRITICAL for arts managers to stay competitive in a time of continuous change and communication exchange! Keep the challenge and the standards at the level students deserve!! WOO

  3. Well, I just posted a new entry. Not so much an observation on the way social media works so much as it is something (or someone rather) that I have found interesting via social media.

  4. Jean Wentz says:

    I must confess…I’m a blog virgin! This is the first blog I’ve EVER followed. Sure, I’ve read a couple of blogs from friends who posted on FB and the first sentence sounded intriguing. Currently, two of my friends are blogging: one is an aspiring writer, and the other is going to be transferred to Montreal by the end of the year and is using her blog to ask questions about Canada.

    http://alabastermom.blogspot.com
    http://cluelessaucanada.blogspot.com

  5. michellebastyr says:

    When we were first assigned to do a blog, I wasn’t so excited about it…because I had stereotyped most bloggers as weirdos, to be quite honest (no offense). However, as time goes on, I find myself enjoying it more and more. Weirdos unite!!

    I feel as though this blogging endeavor is becoming just as addicting as other types of social media…

  6. Lisa says:

    Ellen, I’m sucking it up! 🙂

    One of my favorite blogs to read is called Vegan Joy. It’s all about healthy foods and yoga… Stuff I’m interested in. Either way, I read it! http://www.veganjoy.blogspot.com

  7. lexrp07 says:

    There I posted something, I even put thought into it. You’re welcome.

    🙂

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