Thursday, May 28, 2009

Why Blog? / Does Blogging Matter?

A private conversation among a group of bloggers opened with the question "Does Blogging Matter?" Is is a waste of time?

A public conversation among a group of bloggers addresses similar questions. It began with Stephen Carlson's Academic Blogging: Publication or Service?, to which Mark Goodacre responded with Academic Blogging: Publication, Service or Teaching?, as did Opus Imperfectum with Publishing For Dummies: Blogging as Research/Teaching/Service? Jim West reframed the questions with Blogging: To What End?, and Mark Goodacre reacted to that with Why blog? Likewise Airton José da Silva with Um blog é uma ferramenta democrática. Missives from Marx reacted to Jim with Why Blog Anonymously? This morning Tim Bulkeley weighed in with Should blogging count for academics? Each of these has interesting threads of comments as well. No doubt there have been other contributions I have not yet seen.

Could this conversation have happened in another medium?


Tim said...

Oh, yes! In an institutional staff room. But then it would be local and parochial ;) What is noew and different is not the conversation but that it spreads from the USA (various parts) to Brazil and NZ...

Charles Ellwood Jones said...

I disagree, Tim. There could have been a comparable conversation in a faculty lounge somewhere, but the participants would not have thought through and written out their comments, and the world would not be privy to, or able to participate in the conversation. A fain number of these people are unlikely to ever meet face to face.

Uncle MythMan J said...

@Tim: I disagree (if you're answering the last question---"Could this conversation have happened in another medium?"): partly because the point of the conversation is that it DID take place in THIS medium, and partly because the 'new and different' part is what made the conversation possible!

See, each blog is 'an announcement' (of sorts)--either a reaction to something on the Internet or I.R.L.--and (like 'when the sower is scattering the seed along the path' ... except that 'the single, solitary path' is now the length-and-bredth of the networked world) the statement falls to whoever can see it and causes a reaction if it should.

So the conversation WOULD be possible "in an institutional staff room" ... if-and-only-if said staff room had an intercom connection with every connected thinker!

Tim said...

Charles and Uncle,

I do not think we are really disagreeing, my point was that it is not the conversation that is new, but the opportunity for a hugely wider group to participate that is different.

I admit that the fact that thoughts are more thought through, and are written does change the conversation but submit those changes are mainly surface ones.

The deep change is not the conversation, but the participants. instead of being connected locally they are connected by interest.

There are other places and ways in which e-communication does change the nature of conversations more deeply not least the way in which it is permitting perople in many parts of the world to "jump" from orality to post-literacy.

So don't worry, I still wonder, almost daily, at the technology that permits me to make friends and aquaintances at a distance ;)

Charles Ellwood Jones said...

David Gill joins the conversation at Looting matters

Steve Hayes said...

Blogs are useful, but are basically a one-to-many medium. Mailing lists still work better for many-to-many discussions.

Uncle MythMan J said...

@Steve Hayes: Blog-messages may indeed start out on a one-to-many medium, but--unlike most other one-to-many media--the chance to go from being part of the 'many' to being another 'one' is almost as easy "just deciding to" (with the widespread commonality of "connected" individuals).