Consequences of Blogging

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A Panel Discussion Featuring Students, Faculty and Staff

April 4, 2011

One of the highlights of the Ethics Center Leadership Council’s (ECLC) work in the spring 2011 semester was “Consequences of Blogging,” a panel discussion organized and moderated by ECLC member Rachel Gillette ’11, about timely issues regarding blogging and internet activity. Students Jamie Fleishman ’11, Mark Grinberg ’11, ECLC member Anna Khandros ’11 and Sahar Massachi ’11 shared their personal experiences (for better and for worse) with blogging, followed by a diverse panel of faculty and staff respondents: Rick Alterman from Internet Studies, Jackie Kopyt from the Hiatt Career Center, and Johann Larusson and David Wedaman from Library and Technology services.

Fleishman, who blogged from Beijing while studying abroad, spoke primarily of helping to establish and oversee student bloggers on the Brandeis admissions website, as a “tool for the admissions office to get the student perspective straight to prospective students.”

Grinberg spoke of his blog, flashdriveterrorism.com, being hacked and taken over by “a group of Turkish cyberterrorists.” afterwards “I just Googled them up,” Grinberg said, “translated their Turkish page into English, and started reading about all the reactions they had to my blog posts.”

Massachi spoke of InnermostParts.org, the blog he began for a Brandeis audience, and of lessons learned in the early years of that experience about the responsibility of blogging about fellow Brandeisians in a small community.

Consequences, noted Khandros, “can be both positive and negative.” Heading to Beirut for a semester abroad she “didn’t know what to expect” and thought “a blog would be a great way to ... share what I was learning.” Yet as she blogged, she wondered what she should say and how she should say it; how would the people she knew in Lebanon interpret what she was writing? Khandros “spent hours censoring Facebook photos...so nobody in Israel could see what I was doing in Lebanon and vice versa – which was sad because there I was, going to Lebanon hoping to do just that: share ... with the other side, through me, what was happening.”