Tuesday, May 17, 2005

Metablogging 2. Academic blogging critique

Conscientious Objector gives The Valve a thorough going-over and in so doing, offers a number of thoughtful reflections about:

1. the genre of the blog-post
A blog is where you put down first thoughts, subject to revision. It's where you conjecture, weigh, revise, refine, amplify, explain, and sometimes recant. (Quite often, of course, it's just a place to spout off, but I'll leave those cases aside.) If your posts are regularly more structured than that, then you're writing essays or journal articles, not blog post. As such, a blog post works best when it's short and punchy and makes a strong, definite claim. There will always be time later to change your mind or amplify your defenses.

2. the difficulty academics have in adjusting their habits of thought to the former

3. the power-dynamics of a group blog
A group blog looks democratic, but it is actually an aristocracy. This adds a volatile element: internal politics. Who gets to be a "contributor" when there are so many possible contributors and when the privilege of being a contributor is being extended by invitation?

4. his prefered solution for The Valve (a "three-ring circus" of a site, with message boards, blogs, and lecture halls. Sounds complicated and high-maintenance).

I agree with him that the Valve hasn't quite found its voice yet. I somewhat agree with him about the aristocratic nature of group blogs, but I prefer this clear form of elitism to the "prefered regular commenter" kind that prevails on many big-circulation blogs. I suspect that acaedemics can adjust their mental habits more easily to blogging than back again. And I think his solution is crazy pie-blogging. Was that pithy enough?


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