It only makes sense that when MySpace is on the cover of national news magazines and the subject of every PTA meeting, it ain't gonna be as hip as it was, as Jeff Utecht discovered - at least in China. US teachers: Is it any different here?
Had a chat with some middle school students last week and a tech savvy teacher who talks to her students about the latest and greatest technologies that the students are using. Word on the street is myspace and xanga are no longer cool.
A 7th grade student told me: “It just got old!” Blogging at xanga.com was all the rave in the middle school earlier this year. With one parent telling me that her 7th grader blogged nightly, that he HAD to visit his friends’ blogs and leave a comment. Her son spent hours a night writing on his own blog and then visiting friends’ sites to leave comments. I asked a student why xanga (which the students here in China prefer) is now boring.
“It became something you HAD to do, people were going crazy, and you had to write something or people would say ‘Yeah, you haven’t written anything all week.’ it just got to be a hassle.”
“My mom asked me about xanga.com one night.” a 6th grader told me. I take partial credit for that after having two 2 hour parent meeting where we discussed Internet safety and cyber bullying were myspace and xanga came up. Students told me that the fact that their parents knew, and that some parents had even gone to the site made them quit.
So xanga became a place were students couldn’t hide. Once they knew that parents were hip to the site it wasn’t cool anymore. I just wonder where they will go next.
None of which leaves Jeff feeling that blogging is an empty exercise, just that it's inhuman to have to go online constantly. It's still a great tool for those with something to say.
In order for blogging to work you have to have a purpose to blog. Without a purpose, without having something meaningful to say and add to the conversation blogs become pointless rants, and why waste your time ranting to millions when you can do it through MSN messenger to all your friends. The couple blogs that are being used in the classrooms at my school are receiving great feedback from the students, yet there is a purpose to the blogs, a reason to write and respond, a reason to be apart of the conversation. It’s not blogging that is uncool, it’s the content.