Why blog?

A recent discussion on crit-geog-forum, which began with a request for other blogs by geographers, had the question raised as to why anyone bothered with blogs? The commentator said that “it seems to add nothing, but gears and joys itself on self-serving romance”. I sent this reply, slightly edited, to the list.

As a notebook, as previous respondent David Murakami Wood suggested; as a noticeboard (I post/link to quite a lot of stuff that I think might be of interest); as a place where I can say things that I probably wouldn’t work up into publications, but which I think are interesting nonetheless; to publicise my own work, talks, etc.; as place that I can try out ideas and sometimes get feedback… the reasons go on.

Yes, much of it is personal (though there is much I don’t write about); and might be seen as self-serving – but then so are personal websites. Nobody forces you to read them. But it’s my blog, was set up for my own reasons, and the readership comes as an additional and pleasant second to that. I never expected to get regular readers, and have been quite surprised at the readership, both in terms of numbers, but also from where in the world – over 100 countries on the last count. Nothing I’ve written in more conventional media has come close to that.

My own blog aside, I completely disagree that they ‘add nothing’. I have a long list of blogs in google reader (now that bloglines is defunct), and find them invaluable as a source of information, provocation and inspiration. I now find them far more useful than email discussion lists.

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8 Responses to Why blog?

  1. Pingback: A Post of Links « Prodigies & Monsters

  2. Pingback: why blog (reprise) | immanence

  3. Tim Morton says:

    Thanks for this and the following one. Let’s not forget this reason: “You didn’t ask my permission before you went ahead with your blog.”

  4. Pingback: hold your fire… | immanence

  5. JoVE says:

    Under the question, and the derision, is genuine fear that things are changing and that whatever the questioner is doing might not be the right thing. They work on the assumption that what they need to do is publish in respected peer-reviewed journals and with respected presses. They find it hard to find the time to write those articles and books and can’t imagine finding time to blog as well. They worry that your blog will gain academic currency in the processes that validate your academic status.

    The fact that academic publishing was supposed to be about debate, discussion, moving ideas forward is lost under the concern with validation. Many academics find that even conferences are less and less useful as venues where work in progress can be discussed and developed.

    And yet, journal articles and books cannot be created in a vacuum. Writing is a practice and many bloggers find the practice of blogging keeps them writing, making other forms of writing easier. And blogging helps develop ideas that will eventually become articles or books. It builds an audience for those articles, books, and conference papers.

    Blogging prioritises the communicative aspects of academic publishing. It also opens up what we do to people we would not otherwise meet — academics and non-academics — and expands our work. The potential is truly frightening to some people.

  6. Pingback: Validation, communication, & academic blogging: some links | Jo VanEvery

  7. Pingback: Blogs, again | Progressive Geographies

  8. Pingback: Academic blogging – continued (2011) « Refracted input

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