Thursday, October 16, 2008

On Blogging as Practicing with a Sharp Tool

Of late, there have been a few very interesting discussions about the very nature of blogging. Mary Kate Hurley discusses "Blogging as Practice."

I've also come across the following posts from a few years ago that I think speak to many of my own and others' concerns about the profitable aspects of research blogging. See here and here. See also the following:
Of course, while I believe one should take all possible care in both composing and publishing posts, one cannot always control what others think or do with that post. Blogs are, perhaps, the paradigmatic example of the "purloined letter."

While searching for the very meager listings of links above, I came upon a late 2007 post over at The Kugelmass Episodes, in which its author set out to discuss the "best and worst" of the academic blogosphere for 2007. Setting aside how I might feel or respond to any of the specifics in Kugelmass's blogging, I did/do find the following passage remarkably provocative and poignant, and so I close this entry with his words:
So, what’s ahead for 2008? I can’t predict trends, but I can say what I hope for, and that’s a renaissance of words in their essential loneliness. Intellectual blogging is a medium that thrives because it captures the quietude of those moments when we seal ourselves off from our surroundings in order to consider the printed words of another person. The tremulousness of the word, the expectation of an answer, the abjection and shamelessness of writing for self-publication: in order to be honest, a blogger has to be vulnerable, more so even than the author of a book. What she is writing apparently had to be blogged to be written at all. Given the voluntarism of the blogosphere, polish is merely comic; risk is the only thing worth admiring. The risk of saying too much, the risk of being unread, the risk of being misread — intellectual blogging must change from an indifferent exercise of dignified exposition into the willing practice of risk.

1 comment:

Jeffrey J. Cohen said...

Thanks for this; hope to return to it later when I am not overwhelmed with postvacation email.

I wonder quite a bit about blogs and their future: will they be like email discussion lists, still going but no longer where the critical energy resides, come three or four years from now? What can we do to keep the form lively and engaging? How will we know when the blog as form has outlived its innovative period?