In my last post, I mentioned that I was taking a week off from this blog to attend a conference at which I would be making a presentation about this blog. Since I have been so preoccupied with thinking about blogging, I thought I would devote today’s post to a consideration of how blogging relates to other academic activities.
Five months into this blogging adventure, I realize that it is premature to draw any definitive conclusions. But having to make a presentation on this topic forced me to come up with some provisional conclusions about the difference between blogging and other academic pursuits. Here are four themes that seem to characterize the singularity of the blogging experience:
- The blog allows me to craft my ideas into a form that endures outside of a particular class setting (blogging as permanent).
- The blog allows me to reach a broad number of people with whom I might otherwise have no connection (blogging as public).
- The blog allows me to share my thoughts in short bits at frequent intervals (blogging as periodic).
- The blog allows me to express my ideas in whatever way I choose without going through anyone else’s editorial process (blogging as personal).
Looking at these four themes together, I think it is possible to think of academic blogging as the creation of a hybrid space that combines aspects of traditional publishing (because it is permanent and public) and aspects of teaching (because it is periodic and personal). This hybrid space seems to be well suited to meeting the needs of graduate students who want to improve their academic writing skills: because it is public, a blog can be accessed whenever readers need it; because it is periodic, a blog can provide readers with information in manageable bits; because it is permanent, a blog can give readers the opportunity to pursue an issue further through earlier posts on related topics; and, finally, because it is personal, a blog can adopt a clear authorial stance that allows readers to determine whether it suits their writing needs.
The conference itself was great. Thanks to all CASDW members for an interesting and congenial weekend in Fredericton!