we being Brand

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-new; and you
know consequently a
little stiff

Couple of weeks ago, Clancy posted an inquiry about Cluetrain, whether anyone in the field was picking it up or not, and that question has been bouncing around in my head ever since. It came at a time where I was thinking about excerpting it for my class next semester, and at a time when I've been adding people like Hugh MacLeod to my aggregator (having already aggregated the Cluetrain principals).

This morning, I came across an entry at Doc Searls's site, on the issue of branding, and that set me to thinking even more. (good set of followables there, that I won't simply repeat here)

The gist of Doc's remarks is that there is an inverse relationship between company-sponsored or -encouraged blogging and the strength of that company's brand. In other words, companies that have a high-intensity brand (like Apple, e.g.) need to exercise a great deal of control over the information that leaves the company. Hence, they're not likely to be as blog-friendly, which would require a certain amount of relaxation of control over information flow.

Normally, I'm not a huge fan of the corporate metaphor for education--I think it was Anne Balsamo who said once that education needs no metaphor--but in this case, I've been thinking about how compatible blogging will prove to be in composition classes. Actually, that's sounding a lot more philosophical than I mean it to--maybe I'm just responding belatedly to this thread from Kairosnews.

Anyhow, the connection for me among all of these things is whether or not we've basically treated the type of writing we profess as a brand--Academic Discourse®, perhaps--one that we find ourselves engaged in what Hugh calls egofriction, or as GaryM notes in the comments to that post, "a subconscious desire to have their side win." In other words, we hold on very tightly to what we do in our courses, particularly when it comes under fire from people in other disciplines, the general public, New Yorker columnists, whoever. And I'm as guilty of this as anyone--there are plenty of times where my interaction with these constituencies is more about "winning" than about anything particularly educational.

I'm not suggesting that we start reducing what we do to corporate-speak, but rather that we ask ourselves honestly if that isn't already what we do. If so, if we're involved in protecting our brand of writing, then it's hard for me to see how blogging is going to find a comfortable home in our departments, and I say that fully aware of the colossal overgeneralization I'm offering here. I'm not sure, however, that it's any worse of an overgeneralization than the ones we take for granted in the establishment and protection of our brand.

No grand conclusions or answers here--that's just what I've been thinking about this morning. That is all.


Collin I am wondering if "Academic Discourse" demonstrates a rite of passage. Blogs I think might be a way for academics to enjoy themselves and communicate with a wider audience. Others will not enjoy the process at all. However in a time when every dollar has to be justified (I am thinking here of the education cuts in OZ) perhaps if more academics demonstrated the process of research and were more transparent in what they did there would be greater support for the inititutions we work in.
Also just a train of thoughts following on from yours

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This page contains a single entry by cgbrooke published on October 24, 2004 11:16 AM.

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