Why Blogs are Better than Email

I couldn't help but notice today just how poorly email is looking when compared to blogs. For instance, we learned today that a Rep. Foley, a South Florida Republican, resigned when the wrong folks learned about his sexually explicit emails to a 16-year old "page," whatever the heck that is. I thought we stopped calling people "pages" back in the Middle Ages. In any case, it definitely sounds suspicious, young boys running around in hose and little tunics. Icky email. Now, I look across the Google news page, and find that Ansari's space cadet blog is "inspiring millions". Ansari's Space Blog is, for lack of a better word, way cool, and offers us a view of space that we'd never get from those freaky uptight astronauts with their 50's style haircuts and space ice cream. Okay, yes, I do love the space ice cream, too. Too bad the only place you can buy it is in museums. Way to go, Ansari, way NOT to go, Foley.


Virtual Office Hours, 24/7

At Inside Higher Ed, Rob Franciosi cites the problems of being always on via email. Not any big news here, although his piece and the subsequent comments do hit all the major issues and potential solutions. Good story about the student who submitted pictures of his burning car by email to provide evidence of why he would need to miss class:

NYT: Another Article on Student E-mail

Yet another article on student e-mail in NYT (don't register if you don't want to, instead try

To me, there are some shocking quotes in the article. To wit:

"Christopher J. Dede, a professor at the Harvard Graduate School of Education who has studied technology in education, said these e-mail messages showed how students no longer deferred to their professors, perhaps because they realized that professors' expertise could rapidly become outdated. 'The deference was probably driven more by the notion that professors were infallible sources of deep knowledge," Professor Dede said, and that notion has weakened."

The Secret Cause of Flame Wars

From Wired,

According to recent research published in the Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, I've only a 50-50 chance of ascertaining the tone of any e-mail message. The study also shows that people think they've correctly interpreted the tone of e-mails they receive 90 percent of the time.

I wonder to what extent emoticons would increase the likelihood of interpreting the tone? I use them all the time in corresponding with students with the idea that they should make a difference.


Another Lesson in Email: Like, OMG!!, FEMA's Response to Katrina

It took me a LONG time to learn to exercise self-control with email and instant messaging. The problem is that it's all too easy to forget the trail it leaves behind--all too easy not to consider the permanence of our digital detritus. One reason I'm loathe to use email is that I can't instantly hit "UNDO" when I click "SEND." I've sent STUPID emails. But now I feel better. At least I've never done anything to embarrass myself as badly as FEMA director Michael Brown. Like OMFG, you're going to vomit reading this post. Warning: Don't be drinking Coke when you click this link.



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