The Reason Why

Along with Nels Highberg of Pennies in a Jar, I’ve been thinking about why I still blog. It’s the duration, and today’s NYT article by Sharon Otterman, Haste Scorned, Blogging at a Snail’s Pace agrees.

If all I want to do is share a quick link with others or a quick quip, then Twitter is a much better fit for that. On the down side, it is ephemeral, but ultimately, unless one is rigorous about backup, so is blogging. At the same time, traditional academic publishing can be just as ephemeral since books do go out of print and academic books tend to have low sales compared to the trades. No, the duration of blogging and its potential for reflection over sustained periods of time is what keeps many people blogging while other new media come and go.

Another plus for blogging–updates. I can return to this post later today when I’m back from teaching–and did.

I’m not sure I like the idea of another blogging “movement” even if the idea of “slow blogging” is a good one. What I don’t like besides the idea of yet another paradigm that tries to artificially stretch to fit over the multiplicities of approaches to blogging, is the idea that only one approach to blogging is possible. From there to  the idea that “real” blogs only do one thing, whatever that thing of the moment is, is a quick and thoughtless step away. Remember when blogs were all politics or not real? Remember when there were supposedly no women bloggers because of subject material rather than numbers? This smells faintly of that kind of oversimplification.

One good thing about the article was the quote from Dana Boyd that reflects on medium and intent. She points out that since Twitter now exists, 140 characters or less posts that formerly would have been short link posts or witty asides are gradually shifting over to Twitter. This makes sense, and fits in with the generalized movement to multiple modes of communication from peer to peer rather than the funnel metaphor of mass media streaming in one direction  to a passive listener/viewer.

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Author of the poetry collection The Tethered Ground and Professor of English at Missouri State University. Contact me for readings or for workshops on writing/publishing and on teaching writing online.

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