Thursday, November 29, 2007

A Reflection On My Blog

Alas, the semester is nearly at a close, and it is now time to wrap up my blog. Looking back I am glad that I chose to switch the subject of my blog from blood diamonds to cooking and eating out in Boston. The change was pretty extreme but I feel that it would have been difficult as well as depressing to try and find enough information to talk about blood diamonds and their impact on African nations four or five times a week. The Boston restaurant scene was a decidedly lighter topic. I also think that this topic was appropriate for a college student living in Boston, because going out to eat with my friends is a major part of my social life as probably anyone could tell if they have read my blog.

The proximity to the subject of my blog also enhanced its quality. For example, I think one of the most successful parts of my blog were the photographs of food and restaurants. It is one thing to describe a dinning experience or explain how to cook a meal, but it is another to see photographs of Ethiopian food or step by step directions on how to make guacamole using pictures. As the old expression goes, “A picture is worth a thousand words,” and I think this is true of the photographs on my blog as well.

Furthermore, I think the YouTube videos and my podcast interview with Libby Sharfstein made my blog more interactive. Written posts obviously made up the bulk of my blog, but these features added a bit more variety. My favorite YouTube video was the “10 Minute Cooking School: Puerco Pibil” because I thought he gave some great tips about cooking and was also an amusing host. I often did not have the time or money to go out to restaurants several times a week so these videos, links to online articles, and home cooking experiments supplemented my commentaries on restaurants around Boston. In the end I think this worked out quite well.

However, if I were to redo this blog I would do things a little bit differently. For one, I wish I had remembered to bring my video camera from home, because I would have liked to have someone videotape me cooking a meal or videotape a night out at a restaurant with my friends (assuming the restaurant would let me do this.) I think home videos are cute and this would have been a great addition to my blog. But oh well, I did my best with what I had.

And secondly, I would have sent the link of my website to my family and friends to let them give me feedback on my blog. I did tell a lot of people I was doing the blog, but then I would stupidly forget to send them the link. I think feedback is essential in the writing process because writing is exactly that— a process. More feedback would have been helpful for me because this blog was actually difficult for me to write. For my international affairs major I am used to writing a lot of formal analytical and research papers, so it was hard to write in the cute and snappy manner that is typical of blogs. Though, I think my writing did improve over the course of the blog.

I guess I will cap off my reflection process with what I have learned from doing this blog. First, I have to admit that up until about two or three years ago I didn’t even know what a blog was, so I have come a long way since then. This is the first time that I have ever written my own blog. This assignment introduced me to the world of blogging, since I read many other people’s blogs while I was trying to create my own. It also introduced me to the idea of citizen journalism as a new and potentially relevant form of journalism. Although many journalists are nervous about the emerging power of blogs, I think it is a wonderful thing and will only add to the discussion of current events. I learned a lot while doing this blog and I thoroughly enjoyed the experience!

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