Who Are Some of America's Influential Bloggers?

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SWBAT recognize some influential bloggers and briefly explain this influence

Big Idea

... the blog is the new serialization of contemporary, public-intellectual's influence ...

Context and Background

8 minutes

In addition to the rich online media from more traditional publications like The Atlantic, The New Yorker, and big city papers like The New York Times, I try to have students read more internet-age, written media like Salon, Slate, The Daily Beast, and The Huffington Post.  All of the latter sources are mostly foreign to students, although a few report that a parent occasionally reads The Huffington Post.  

I, furthermore, introduce students to both single-author blogs (like The Dish) and multi-author blogs like the aforementioned Daily Beast and Huffington Post.  All of this various reading is in an effort to deepen their awareness regarding cultural-political-social issues in anticipation of writing The Editorial and, eventually, The Cause and Effect Research Essay.

Interactive Lecture

20 minutes

After my short opening remarks, I ask students to log in to Chrome and create a bookmark folder (using the bookmarks manager) called “Blogs and Related Content.”  I recommend that they place this folder on the “bookmarks bar” to make it easily accessible.  Also, because they log in to Chrome itself, their bookmarks “stick” when they log in again on the same network computer, and any bookmarking they do is also available at home, stored under their Chrome log in.

For purposes of this lesson, I ask students to use bookmarking rather than add likable blog posts to the "Research Interests List" because they only, really, have enough time during this lesson to browse blogs but NOT many individual postings.  Certainly, they can eventually add any postings from any of their blog discoveries to their "Research Interest List" if they care to. (As a caveat, students may save the URLs to their new blog "finds" in any manner that works in your course.)

After they create a folder for bookmarks, I plunge into an “interactive” lecture or talk, guided by my own blog post of 14 October 2013.  

The post is as follows:

So ... it is easy (to some extent) then to see just how influential and important the weblog or "blog" is in our contemporary internet-based, media culture.  But, who are some influential bloggers and/or influential blogs?  I have my own opinions, and I would like you to form some of your own too ...

Without a doubt Andrew Sullivan (The Dish) is one of the country's most influential bloggers, and, in fact, Harvard Magazine named him the "world's most influential blogger."  Sullivan was born in the UK but now lives in the US. He defies simple categorization and in our increasingly polarized world, I want to expose my students to his nuanced sophistication and great writing.  Sullivan has done a great deal to advance awareness of issues around sexual identity, religion and politics.  He is a blogger to know.

Nicholas Carr and Mark Blumenthal are two additional bloggers to know from the political-cultural commentary world.  Carr, who blogs at Rough Type (great name btw!), has recently raised significant questions around our insatiable internet dependence, most notably in an excellent article for The Atlantic Monthly, entitled "Is Google Making Us Stupid?"  Subsequent to his article, Carr wrote a book regarding the same topic.

Other important bloggers and/or blogs include Jenny Lawson, a former Houston Chronicle reporter who blogs as "The Bloggess" (great handle, huh?), scienceisbeauty (which may single-handedly prove not all of tumblr is total trash), and James Fallows, a nationally renowned correspondent for The Atlantic Monthly.

Some important multi-author-blogs or MABs include Talking Points Memo (TPI), the Ted Blog, and The Huffington Post.


28 minutes

After my talk, I have students, depending on the time remaining in the period, add bookmarks at will to their new folder.

I circulate around the room encouraging, questioning, and observing their bookmarking until the final bell.