In the third month of my pathway program for international students entering a Canadian post-secondary school, we do a unit on Digital Media. The first reading is, “Blogs as Participatory Media.”
“So first of all, what is a blog?” I asked my class to introduce the reading one afternoon.
Francesca, my 22 year old student with a joint Chinese-Canadian degree from a local university, raised her hand. She explained that a blog is like a personal website. She added that she had had to make one for one of her university courses.
“Does anybody else in the class have a blog?” I wondered.
“I had one in Japan,” Hiroya piped in. He was really into snowboarding. “I mostly just posted about sports.”
“Cool!” I replied. “That’s kind of the fun of a blog. If you run a personal one, you can control all the content, and it can be about basically anything.”
“Do you have a blog?” Asked Juan, my youngest student, as he reclined back in his chair to lean against the back wall. He was 17 and from Colombia.
“Actually I do,” I replied with a sly smile, trying not to boast. “I just post short stories about my life. I actually just hit 1000 followers this week!”
The class murmured with impressed acknowledgment. My Brazilian student with a short blond bob grabbed her cellphone on her desk to look it up and exclaimed, “what’s it called? I want to read it!”
I hesitated. “I actually can’t tell you. It’s personal. And you won’t be able to find it either because I post under a pseudonym. In my stories, everyone has a fake name and description. Even my cat. It’s fun, I’m kind of nerdy that way.”
“Why can’t we know what it is?” Henry, my South Korean student, enquired earnestly. He seemed genuinely disappointed. I shrugged, trying to come up with a good answer. Luckily my Mexican student, Jessica, helped me out.
”She doesn’t want us to know what her blog is called,” she started to explain, with a huge smile across her pearly white teeth, “because she writes about us!”
The entire class erupted into giggles. As if.