Tuesday, December 08, 2009
Age grading the blogosphere
In class the other day, I assured a group of students that I don't just grade their papers-- that I actually write. I mentioned that like most professors, I write grants and journal articles. Then I added, "I also blog." They roared with laughter, and I wanted to know what was so funny.
One of the less inhibited undergraduates explained that blogging is not something they associate with people as ancient as I. "How old should a blogger be?" I inquired.
Another young lady spoke up. "Blogging is for people older than us, but not as old as you. You know, like maybe in their thirties." She added quickly, "I'm sorry, Dr. Gann. I didn't mean to hurt your feelings. You can blog if you want to." Glad she gave me permission.
Apparently, these undergraduates don't blog themselves; they prefer to use Facebook, a picture-intensive social networking site which I regard as superficial and inane, though I actually belong to it so I can view the pictures my daughter posts of my grandchild.
The students did not wish to hurt my feelings, but it was clear they had trouble imagining that antediluvian persons like me would have things to blog about, any more than they could imagine their parents engaging in sex. It's hard for people of different generations to understand each other. In a certain sense, young people inhabit a different culture. Teaching undergraduates at ETSU may not be that different from teaching in China.
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