I've been trying today to put forward a strong case for blogging as a tool in the dissemination of adult lay education in the church - especially in scattered rural/island communities. I may have over-stated my case, in fact - get a bit loud when I'm enthusiastic. But one of the points I made was that the community one builds overcomes the anonymity, up to a point, of faceless people at their keyboards; I don't "know" the people I encounter on this blog, not in the conventional sense, but feel increasingly at home sharing info and ideas with them.
However, I want to check on a further hunch: To what extent is our response to a blog post influenced by what we already know of the blogger? If, for example, the blogger is also known as a charismatic lecturer, trusted because of what they say/do in person, do we read their stuff with an increased sympathy and awareness? (I suspect the answer is "yes") And does that fact, if it is so, actually enhance the usefulness of the process, in that you can, as it were, take the speaker home with you and refer to their words at you leisure, or see what he/she has to say on other topics - and you're interested in their opinions on anything because you trust them already and feel they can help you?
If the answer to all this is in fact "yes"(which I believe) I have to say that I'd find it a great luxury to be able to test my ideas on a regular basis with someone whose ideas/learning/insights/experience I respect; in fact, I'd enjoy being a student again without the hassle of going over the water to Uni! This is the aspect I'm trying to represent - but I feel I'm bleating in a very wide open space right now. If you think schools are slow to use technology imaginatively, try a community of adults who think a mobile phone is a stage too far, or to be used only in dire emergency. And then there are the folk who refuse to have anything to do with computers .....
Courage, mon brave - le diable est mort! [Again - a prize (maybe a Mars bar??) to the first person to recognise the book this quote is from. Very much from the pre-computer age]