The Right Coast

October 06, 2005
Academic blogging
By Tom Smith

This is interesting. (yeah yeah I got it here.)

Just one little point to add. The blog format is just so perfect for allowing you to say what you want to say, the way you want to say it. MBMR! Unlike tedious list serves, you have your own little soapbox, where you can make your points the way you want, no moderator to say tsk tsk, no tedious interlopers. Plus the thrill of addressing the public. Emails back from sometimes almost famous people, to folks who need to get their meds adjusted. Amusing, I call it.

And for academics, it's a way to get a word in edgewise. You don't have to wait for young Professor Noodlewort of Prestigious U, former Supreme Court Clerk and complete idiot, to finish talking before you make your point. You just post it. Let Noodlewort get his own blog. Things can get rude and harsh, but neither do you have to sit through the obligatory roll over and expose your neck's and puffings and counter-puffings by alpha leaders, that academics engage in as they sort out their hierarchies when they congregate. This is good if you find humans in groups rather discouraging, but you are sincerely interested in other people's ideas.

Another reason it's good for academics is that blogging is a well-deserved lesson in humility. Whatever you choose to opine on, somebody out there knows more about it than you do. It keeps you (somewhat) careful and alert.

Finally, for me and lots of people, it demystifies in a healthy way the process of writing. It may take time away from more serious scholarship, a fair amount of which I might add is serious only in that it is a serious waste of time, but just writing in a mode that is closer to thinking out loud, is good for the brain, and teaches one to take oneself a little less seriously -- usually: some bloggers are unbearably pompous and for them there is probably little hope. And really finally, it is an outlet, an opportunity to rant and rage the sheer stupidity and anonymity of it all. But that probably just me.