Entropy in both meanings of the word… (if you don’t engage, then read on…it gets better)

Been doing some thinking about genre appropriate blogging, as I still wade through creating a post about ‘purposeful blogging…’ To be honest, I am torn between continuing to work on it, or to scrap it all together…
Kailem , a former student and a way cool guy (i am stoked about the new album…), mentioned about the difficulty of posting a comment to my blog the other day. I am wondering if that is because it has become overly focused on academia and all things teaching related.

The danger of the purposeful blog is that its’ topic is limited to the point of being entropic, which reduces the understanding audience to a specialised few. Although I consider myself to be in favour of ‘purposed’ blogging, I find it disheartening that friends do not connect with my content. Rebecca’s comment on my blog is such an example of a friend seeking out my net-presence and finding it irrelevant (my own words, not hers).

bec Says:
November 13th, 2005 at 5:19 am e
James,
Yes I have found you. I will admit this is my first experience with blogs.I will also admit that I only glanced and really didn’t read everything you wrote. I hate to spend more time staring at a screen than I have to. Who knows, maybe over time I will be sucked into the blog. I guess also I need to find something with a common interest. (ah, as important as teaching is b
( Curriculum: a Guide vs. a Gavel COMMENT )

I think in casting your hat into the world of ed-blogging it is crucial to make sure you stay focussed. If you digress from the purpose of blogging for educational reflection and research, then you are likely to loose your specialised audience. The flipside to this is also the case, however, where those who seek you out in terms of different context find your focus on all things ed to be a tad boring and alienating.

Perhaps a little variety is in order…

I was recently introduced to the ‘Ben Taylor Band’ via the disc ‘Famous Among the Barns’ by my trusted jazz musician friend, Steve (ok. more like a brother than a friend). For those of you who haven’t heard them, picture the front man being James Taylor’s and Carly Simon’s son (thanks for the clarification, Steve), and there you have it. Taylor’s voice is almost an exact echo of his father’s, which is a little haunting and also comforting in a Kermit the Frog sort of way (and I mean that in the most positive way…). You expect him to open his next song with ‘in my mind I’m going to Carolina…’ (James Taylor fans, you know what I am talking about. Those who don’t…where have you been?) Not for lack of variety. The disc flows between genres pretty smoothly (although I would classify it as a little retro ‘contemporary’ or ‘easy listening’, again, in the most positive way possible…).

I must admit that experiencing “Famous Among the Barns? was a smooth one and also a comfort that James Taylor’s influence has been brought into the post-modern world.

A little verbage:
“I would rather fall from grace completely,
than let you change my mind…? – Ben Taylor Band
Ahh…entropy…

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4 thoughts on “Entropy in both meanings of the word… (if you don’t engage, then read on…it gets better)

  1. Ah, James, the perils of specialisation…. It all starts with your purpose, doesn’t it? Who do you want to learn from? What of your personal experiences and reflections could be meaningful to others? They are questions and choices you have to make. Maybe it’s easier for me because I don’t have much of a life outside of my family and a few close friends that I can easily make my own blog education based only. You are right, broaden your appeal and you start to lose your niche audience because you are moving away from the common threads. Maybe the solution is have another blog – one more personal while this one here remains professional. Put it this way, I comment here because of my connection to you as an educator. If you post other “stuff” here I might be interested to read it but not have anything to add to your conversation. What does entropy mean again??!!?

  2. Thank you for your comments, Graham.

    Glad to hear from you.
    Yes, purpose is key in any endeavor, and especially, in my opinion, in using social software.
    I think your questions for helping guide ed-blogging practice are great.
    I have considered having another blog, but, to be honest, feel there is a lack of audience for it. I don’t think there would be a lot of interest in what I am doing outside of edtech. Not to say that my life is mundane, but I guess I reserve the personal things for outside of the blogosphere.
    Yes, I am greatful for connections such as yours. It is great to be touching base with other educators and sharing thoughts and experiences.
    entropy–> I had to go to my dictionary on that one myself to make sure I was using it correctly. Used my text-based dictionary, but here is Dictionary.com’s definition as it pertains to my post:
    “A measure of the disorder or randomness in a closed system.[…]The tendency for all matter and energy in the universe to evolve toward a state of inert uniformity.”

    Thanks for the connection, Graham.

    Redux (added after original posting of comment):
    I find it interesting that the two definitions noted above are opposite. This is why I used it in my post, as it talks about order within the blog while at the same time diverging to discuss Ben Taylor in a ‘disorderly’ way. A small attempt at blog rebellion…

  3. Mr. Nelson,

    Yeah, sure, it may be hard for me to make relevant comments on your blog, but I suppose because it is, in fact, focused on education.

    Don’t get me wrong, it’s not that I despise education, I got a thorough kick out of a couple of your posts, it’s just that I don’t have much to contribute to continue the thought process.

    It seems as though there are two types of blogs I read: The first type are blogs I read in which to gather information. Things like music blogs where they review new records or post songs I can listen to so I can become an avid fan of the wildest new sound. The second type are personal blogs of people I know, usually containing the rants and rambles that fill the writers’ minds.

    Education and its (many) intricacies is not something I’m immediately drawn to. I wouldn’t go about thinking, “Wow, I think I’ll research how the teacher of today is affected by youth obsessed with text messaging.” (Not that you’ve ever blogged about that.) In fact, I’d say I’m even more closely bound to the educated rather than the educators, having just graduated myself.

    So I’m here as a friend reading the blog of someone I know. And even though some of these subjects of education are not ones that innitially interest me, it’s nice to read about what’s important to and what’s happening in the mind of James Nelson.

    Besides, there are a lot of people who say personal things should be left out of blogs and be naturally conversed about, instead.

    I guess I’ll just say “Do whatever the heck you want.” There’s nothing more exciting than the human mind, no matter what it’s spewing.

  4. Thank you for your comments, Kailem.

    As always, I find your thoughts and comments to be very insightful and enlightening.
    I am glad that you dropped in on the blog and left some of your inspiration there.
    I found what you had to say about blogs very interesting:

    It seems as though there are two types of blogs I read: The first type are blogs I read in which to gather information. Things like music blogs where they review new records or post songs I can listen to so I can become an avid fan of the wildest new sound. The second type are personal blogs of people I know, usually containing the rants and rambles that fill the writers’ minds.

    It really points out the value of social software, as it enables people to connect with conversations that are taking place in areas they are interested in. Your comments above suggest that music is a passion, which I know having known you in ‘real time’. The blogosphere enables you to seek out those new sounds, check them out, ingest and comment on them. Pretty cool. By the way, I gotta say for some reason I have been stuck on U2’s “Zooropa? for the last while. I am not sure why, but perhaps the album’s experimentation with sound and technology (ie dub and remixing…) echoes the whole idea of experimenting with blogging, quoting other people and remixing it into your own posts…and another thing, three words:

    Coldplay…
    Vancouver…
    January.

    How cool is that?

    Another quote of yours I like:

    So I’m here as a friend reading the blog of someone I know. And even though some of these subjects of education are not ones that innitially interest me, it’s nice to read about what’s important to and what’s happening in the mind of James Nelson.

    That is cool stuff, man. Sometimes we read about other people or listen to them just because we have made a connection with them. The actual topic may not be all that interesting to us, but we listen because of the connection.

    Thank you for listening, and for contributing. I gotta tell you: your comments made my day. Thank you for being interested in what’s happening in the mind of James Nelson. I am enjoying reading what’s on your mind too.

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