Monday, October 15, 2007

Papa Needs a Brand New Bag

Can you get wanderlust in regards to a blog?

I'm thinking about retooling this thing in a big way. I'd like to put together a site that looks more like a journal and less like a blog. Something with headlines that link to posts instead of stand-alone posts that people have to choose to read or ignore. I'd like to post actual portfolios of photos and art in their own spots and divide out posts by topic. All of these things can be done in a crude sort of way here; but this blog is aesthetically unpleasing.

I also think I might drop the academic blog schtick. With a few obvious exceptions, academic blogs tend to combine the tedium of academic writing with the narcissism of blog writing. Besides, as an academic blog, this thing is a flop. Academics very rarely leave comments here, or link to this thing, or even visit, as far as I can tell; I'm the ugly kid at the party. And the party is seemingly a number of unhappy people mingling around the bar and grousing about how much they hate adjuncting and how lazy their students are. I think it's probably time to try something new.

Lately, I've been fascinated with the idea of culture as life-affirming or death-affirming. I think ideally I'd like to create a site that is life-affirming and mind-expanding. I don't really think my frequent bitching contributes much to the world. Also- with present company excluded-I tend to feel dumber after I read most websites, and I'd like to put together something that has the opposite effect.

Anyone know how?


Holly said...

I don't know much, but I'm willing to do research or otherwise be helpy. Are you thinking of creating your own web site from scratch, with buying a domain name and all that--to abandon the blog-ness of it, take a more ...? journalistic? approach?

Anonymous said...

i am a lurker that enjoys your blog very much. To name just one of your great insights the comments on the JT Leroy fraud were on the spot. Good luck to you for anything you want to try.

One of the appeals of your site is your criticism of Hired Education. But the apathy of academic culture and genuine fear of bottom feeders in the system (I have been there) being persecuted is overwhelming.
All Love and Respect to You

Rufus said...

Holly- Nothing that extreme, or more accurately, nothing that expensive. Thinking about it today, what I think I'd like is a sort of "front page" that would be divided into sections- I'm thinking: Culture, Life, Mind, and maybe Contention. Then I could do 'Headlines' under each section that would include the first paragraph of a post with a link to the complete post. What I'm thinking is that each subheading could correspond to a separate blog on Blogger, and the links could connect to longer posts in each blog.

So, basically, it might be possible to do this as four interconnected blogs, with the "Main" one having a more aesthetically-pleasing template; Blogger allows you to upload your own template. I was thinking of something clean and well-organized. Check out the Inside Higher Ed site or Arts and Letters Daily- something like that.

As for the more journalistic approach, I'd like to link to things like your Graz reports- more detailed writing about the outside world. I'd also like to see if Hiromi would let us link to the recipes that she posts on her blog. And, for the photos, I'm thinking of learning how to use Photobucket.

I think what I'd like to do myself is more "reporting" on goings on up here. As for the bloggy sort of analysis, I'd like to do that in a more extended way- instead of one paragraph on corporate academia, write full articles drawing from numerous sources.

Lastly, so that this doesn't kill me, I'd like to update about twice a week. But, you and Greg would be invited to post as often as you'd like.

Does this make sense?

Rufus said...

Anonymous: Thank you so much for the kind words. "Hired Education"- I love that term! That's exactly right. It really is a national scandal, or it should be, how many extremely intelligent people are shuffling around from one low-paying adjunct position to another with no job security or "academic freedom" whatsoever. We've seen applicants at our department who have two books under their belt and still can't get a steady position. It's a situation that leads to paranoia and consensus thought; but more importantly, it leads to bad teaching. That's exactly the sort of topic that I'd like to cover in a more in-depth sort of way.

Thanks again, and I hope that your own situation has improved.

The Pagan Temple said...

"I'd like to post actual portfolios of photos and art in their own spots and divide out posts by topic."

Sort of like an on-line magazine, or e-zine. That would be fairly easy to do on Blogger. Just put up an index at the top of your sidebar on your mainpage, and all of them really. One "section", or blog, for art, one for academic articles, another for cultural articles, etc.

You might want to check into Haloscan comments. With Haloscan, people can check a box which will let them know via e-mail when a new comment has come to a blog post they have commented on, which will encourage them to check back with the click of a linc directly to the comments page.

The drawback is, you might lose all your past comments. At the same time, you might be able to have blogger and Haloscan comments at the same time. I know one blogger that does that, its Wild Hunt Blog.

If you change your template, be sure and save all your links, otherwise you might lose them.

Hiromi said...

Sure you can link to my recipes.

You would be able to keep your current URL and create an e-zine look by hacking your template. I know it's do-able in theory, but have no idea what those are skillz are.

Rufus said...

I tried swiping the Arts and Letters Daily template and modifying it. I made this to archive my posts-

The problem is that updating it is excruciating because I have to go into the template and add the new text. This is probably why I stopped trying to update it.

I like Haloscan, but personally, I rarely care if people respond to my comments. There are many blogs that I've commented on and never checked back. Also, Haloscan doesn't even open up on one of our computers, and they're both new.