Thursday, June 17, 2010

Becca's Cellular Gender Exploration: A Review

I've been asked to review and critique my classmate Becca Hay's blog, The Best Things in Life Aren't Hard To Find, based on criteria for the literature course we're both taking.

Becca's posts begin without very clear focus beyond the hermaphrodite idea, and then as they progress you can see how she narrowed her topic in and found a clear thesis, which she built upon continually. This is exactly the kind of development we were aiming for. She always backs up her ideas and developments with clear allusions to her research and comments by her classmates.

Focus and Cohesion:
Although it was hard to find the focus in some of the earlier posts, and some of them don't stand well on their own, as her project progresses you can see much clearer allusions to her purpose, and better definitions of important terms and concepts. These are really essential since her topic is focused and difficult to understand without some background. Some posts are still a little difficult to understand, but Becca consistently links to more basic information that helps to clarify. There are a lot of posts, and they're pretty long, which might make it difficult to get a quick idea of her project and how it has taken shape if you're a first-timer to the blog.

Post Variety:
For the most part Becca's posts are a combination of exploration, with a lot of her personal thoughts, and expository. She incorporates a good amount of literature, some appropriate media, and mentions some events and some people in her posts. It would be nice to have some more media or lighter/shorter posts, to break up the heavy analysis, but she keeps a very friendly and casual tone despite the depth of her information, which keeps things interesting and makes the depth easier to get through. She does have to be careful of adopting too casual of a tone, since sometimes I felt like the tone drew away from the substance of the information.

Becca's blog shows A LOT of personality, which is great, and while keeping it bright and fun you can see that her information is still very academic. It might help if she displayed her information a little more professionally, since I feel like this blog might not appeal at a glance to contain a lot of substance (it's very pink), but that could just be me.

Interactivity and Community:
Becca shows clear interactivity, linking to classmates' blogs and referencing ideas she's gotten from classmates. She also reached out to some other scholars she found through her research, though I'm not sure whether she got replies from them yet.

Some Strong Points:
This blog very thoroughly explores gender roles, and Becca's created a great amount of volume. Visitors to her blog can find out a lot of information. She did a great job linking to other students, and has incorporated a lot of great resources. She's also kept things interesting and casual while still including a lot of information.

Some Shortcomings:
As I said before, I think the blog may appear too "fluffy" for it to be taken seriously at a glance, though with some reading you quickly find substance. It's also way too pink for me to handle. Some of the blog posts are a little long and unmanageable, though this improves as time goes on. At times the content can also be a little confusing, especially since I don't know much of anything about her topic, but she has some good explanatory posts that she links to to keep things in context. Overall this is a great blog, with a lot of information and very effective strategies for keeping the reader's attention.

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