Week 4 – Reading Response

This week’s articles:

  1. “Looking From the Inside Out: Academic Blogging as New Literacy” – Davies and Merchant (2007)
  2. “Blogging For Mental Health” – Amy Novotney, American Psychological Association


“Looking From the Inside Out: Academic Blogging as New Literacy”Blogging1

This week’s chapter discusses how Blogging has become a new literacy.  At the beginning of the chapter, the authors describe blogging using the word “autoethnographic,” which according to an online dictionary means “a form of qualitative research in which an author uses self-reflection and writing to explore her personal experience and connect this autobiographical story to wider cultural, political, and social meanings and understandings.”

A few years ago I saw the movie “Julie and Julia” which tells the story of a woman who follows every recipe in Julia Childs’ cookbook.  She blogs about her experiences, failures, and accomplishments and builds a following online.  I must admit that before this class, and before really diving into blogging myself and becoming familiar with several other blogs, this “Julie and Julia” is the situation I thought of whenever I heard talk of blogging.  Throughout this course, and even after reading this chapter, my eyes are starting to open to the great things that blogging offers us.

One interesting fact statistic in this chapter is that there are millions of blogs with varying topics and varying places of origins.  I am very curious to know how many people have made these blogs.  What I mean to say is, are there as many people blogging as there are blogs, or are the majority of blogs created and worked on by the same people?  Are there a couple million people that have five blogs each, or 100 million people with one blog each?

On page three of the article, Davies and Merchant write, “blogs, as an emerging genre of digital communication, are characterized by a tendency to blend the personal with the public.”  This becomes ever more clear to me as I read more about blogs and as I participate more with creating my own.  I enjoy the opportunities to express myself, learn about others, and give and receive comments.

“Blogging for mental health”


In keeping the focus on blogging this week, I wanted to explore what, if any, health effects blogging has on its participants.  I read an interesting article from the American Psychological Association which discusses how blogging can be helpful for those impacted by mental illness.

We have begun to learn how easy it is to have a blog, and how helpful it can be to share opinions, ideas and questions with others in this class.  Similarly, it has been found that sharing experiences related to mental health through blogging has been helpful to many people.  Specifically, a study cited in this article mentions that publicly sharing stressful and/or traumatic experiences (via blogging) helped to lower blood pressure, decrease heart rate, and lower anxiety.  How wonderful!  Although it is important to note that blogging, while a helpful tool in coping with difficult situations, is not a replacement for professional therapy.

I think one of the most important lines from this article is the following: “Blogging can help chip away at the stigma of mental illness.”  I believe this to be true, and I hope that more and more individuals and groups are able to come forward and share their experiences through blogging in order to create more understanding from others.


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