Whitworth professors are among the ranks of bloggers, sharing views and interests
by Heather Kennison
Nicole Sheets, Assistant professor of English
When she moved to Spokane in August 2010, Assistant professor of English Nicole Sheets was feeling a little homesick. So she decided to start a blog to keep in touch with her friends and family. The term “thrippie” in the blog’s title, “ThrippieGalore!” came from combining the words “thrift store” and “hippie,” something that she borrowed from a friend.
“What got me going is I was buying stuff for my apartment,” Sheets said. “I love thrift stores and I think they’re full of treasure.”
Sheets began going to thrift stores around Spokane, and when she bought something that was interesting to her, she wrote about it on her blog. Sources of inspiration might include a new chair, a pillow or a knickknack, Sheets said.
“It’s sort of like virtual nesting — making my house feel like my home,” Sheets said.
Her blog also helped her connect to the area.
“I was getting to know Spokane through these thrifting adventures,” she said.
In part, Sheets said she wanted to use the blog as a cultural critique — what these objects say about our society.
“I think it’s good to start out with a purpose, but to have the freedom to veer when you find something interesting,” Sheets said.
Recently, Sheets became a co-blogger for the style blog, “Wanderlust and Lipstick.” She will be contributing two posts a week to the blog, and she said she hopes to continue blogging from Costa Rica, where she will be teaching next fall.
Brad Sago, Professor of marketing
“Consumer Mindset Blog”
Professor of marketing Brad Sago began his “Consumer Mindset Blog” in 2007, not as a personal blog, but as a critique of marketing efforts by companies.
“I use my blog to tie in shorter applications and real-life scenarios in a relevant, practical way,” Sago said.
Applying a marketing analysis to the current business world, Sago analyzes commercials, products, and other marketing efforts. One thing he looks for is advertisements that portray customers acting in an unflattering fashion (i.e., silly) or as the butt of a joke, Sago said.
“Why would prospective customers want to do business with a firm if that’s how their current customers are?” Sago said.
Still, Sago noted that the primary reason for blogging is as a personal exercise.
“It’s a good discipline to do for myself as a professor,” Sago said.
Karin Heller, Professor of theology
“Religion News Spokane”– blog contributor
When Tracy Simmons asked Dr. Karin Heller, professor of theology, in September if she would blog for Religion News Spokane, she jumped at the opportunity.
Given the opportunity to write anything about religion, Heller proposed an idea.
“My proposal was to have published answers to ‘little Einstein’ questions from students,” Heller said.
Little Einstein questions are what Heller calls questions that students have asked her over the years about courses, readings, lectures, or personal and study-related experiences. Heller will start blogging for Religion News Spokane in January 2012, and she plans to answer these questions publicly because they are questions that anybody could have.
“I think the replies could be helpful for other people,” Heller said.
She plans to post every other week, either in answer to questions or regarding other topics that interest her. In particular, she would like to address the reform movements happening within the Catholic Church.
“These are things I want to write about in the blog,” Heller said. “I could not speak openly about these things if I was hired by a Catholic institution.”
The movement aims to bridge a gap between the Church and the world through dialogue.
Heller said the benefit of blogging through another organization is that she doesn’t have to manage her own blog.
“I do not want to promote myself,” Heller said. “I want to blog through an organization that has a name.”
Jennifer Brown, Associate professor of French
“Shelf Love” shelflove.wordpress.com
Associate Professor of French Jennifer Brown started her blog “Shelf Love” in April 2008 to have a place to discuss what she is interested about in literature.
“Nobody wants to think about books with me as much as I want to talk about them,” Brown said.
About a month into blogging, Brown thought she would invite her best friend from college, Teresa Preston, to co-blog with her. Preston, who currently lives in Alexandria, Va., quickly accepted the invitation. Between the two of them, they average about 24 posts a month, Brown said.
During the school year, Brown said she reads about eight books in a month.
“In a year, I read certainly over a 100 books,” Brown said. “I generally read 50/50 male and female authors. I try to make an effort to read more authors of color. I think the publishing industry tends to market white people more. I would like to read exceptional authors no matter what their background is.”
Shelf Love contains reviews of biographies, novels, plays, memoirs and poetry. The pair also do “Sunday Salon” posts and conversation reviews.
“We do conversation reviews fairly regularly where we read the same book and email back and forth, and post the review as a kind of conversation,” Brown said.
The blog also regularly has a read-along section, where readers can choose to read along with the bloggers. The current book in the read-along section is “The Dark Tower” by Stephen King.
Senior Benjamin Jones became an avid reader of “Shelf Love” a couple years ago when he discovered a blurb about Brown’s blog in “Whitworth Today.” Although he had known Brown as his adviser since his freshman year, Jones discovered that they have a mutual passion for books.
“One of my biggest passions is reading,” Jones said. “I love talking about literature to anyone who listens.”
Jones has even recommended a couple of books to Brown, which later appeared in reviews on “Shelf Love.” He said he can agree with most of her literary tastes and likes that she points out things he had not noticed.
“You can say anything here on campus but putting something out there for anyone to see proves your convictions,” Jones said. “I think it’s cool when profs do that.”