Title of project

Observations of a Tourist: Exploring the relationship between Coffeehouse culture and Blogging and Wiki culture

My Email, Blog and Wiki Page

|Bonnie Robinson's Email
|Bonnie's Blog
BonnieRobinson - Bonnie Robinson's wiki page

Executive Description

I plan to investigate two public spaces: one physical (coffee houses) and one digital (weblogs and wikis) with expectations of finding connections and overlap between the two. This project will be a series of hypertext-rich blog posts synthesizing observations, research findings, theories, photographs and commentary.

Narrative

Two of my passions in life are writing and coffee. Fun Fact: I don't do either publicly. Since starting this class, I have ventured into the arena of public blogging, and for this project, I plan to become a tourist, spending time in a few local coffee shops while honing my green blogging skills. I'm interested in researching coffee shops as public spaces with an emphasis on coffeehouse culture and community. At the same time, I will continue to research blogging and wiki writing, allowing me to compare what I learn about coffeehouse communities and culture with what I'm learning about blogging and wiki communities and culture. I intend to find interesting overlap, unique parallels, and perhaps some distinct differences as well.

Over the next five weeks, I will visit a new local coffee shop each week: Fiddleheads, Old Abe's, Cafe Steam, St. James, and Dunn Brothers. I will spend several hours at the shop per week, trying to get a feel for the space, the community and the culture of each one. If they hold special events, I will try to attend those. I will try to talk to some of the regulars and interview the baristas or shop owners to learn as much as I can about these public spaces. I also plan to take photos (with permission) for the posts. To get deeper with this project, I will be researching online writing (primarily blogging - and some wiki writing), as well as researching coffeehouse culture. Topics I expect to explore include: working in public, identity performance, presentation/representation, self-expression, communities, democratic spaces and others as they come up. I've created two concept maps that capture my preliminary ideas |here and |here.

From doing this project, I hope to gain knowledge about how online and real world communities work, especially in the context of public identity. By writing about both the online writing community and the coffeehouse community, I hope to bring an awareness and an appreciation to my readers about the impacts each of these communities is having.

I plan to keep my notes for this project organized on my wiki page, BonnieRobinson, associated with English 3177/5177; however, the actual project will be posted on my |existing blog. The blog will be a good fit because it already chronicles my origins as a novice blogger. The material I add as part of this project will be an extension of the work I've already done on the topic of blogging and wiki writing. I chose the blog because I really enjoy the process of crafting each post and sharing it with others. I will post weekly throughout the five weeks, and then a longer post as the final report. The content for each post will vary. Posts will include an introduction to that specific coffee shop - not so much to provide information for a potential customer, but rather to create a setting in which to position myself as the author and to create a setting in which the reader can also situate himself/herself. Posts will also include what I'm learning about coffeehouses, what I'm learning about blogging/wiki writing, and how I'm connecting it all.

Readings

In no particular order and not always in their entirety
This list may be expanded, or some texts may be abandoned as the project unfolds. I will record all changes on this wiki.


Weekly Reports

I will post weekly a reflection post about how the project is going. This post will explain what I did that week, how it went, how I navigated it all, and plans for the upcoming week. These posts will be about 500 words in length and will be published before midnight on Mondays on |Bonnie's blog.

Contract for Grade

I am contracting for 250pts. I will achieve this by posting 3 times a week to the blog (not including the weekly reflection post); each post will contain 500-1000 words. I imagine during the first few weeks, the posts will be a collection of observations and snippets of text from the readings along with half-formed ideas and theories. In this initial stage, the posts will more closely resemble a scrapbook or a collection of souvenirs - still crafted and accompanied by thoughtful commentary - but more of a collage than a polished piece. However, as I gain more insight and knowledge and begin to make less abstract connections, the posts will take on a higher level of organization and sophistication. By the end of the project, the report will be a final blog post, summarizing the conclusions I will have made. This final report will be heavily hyperlinked, polished, and will be a minimum of 1000 words.





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