I previously mentioned that Mark Goodacre has begun to take up the interview questions with a ‘preamble‘ on academic blogging, and he has followed up with two posts, the first answering the why/when question, the second offering some benefits to academic blogging. Do read the posts in their entirety! I provide one excerpt from each below:
But yes, it’s about ten years since I started blogging. I started blogging because I thought it would be fun. Jim Davila was already doing it on Paleojudaica and he was brilliant at it. He still is. Somehow, Jim just has an instinct for how to do it well, and to this day I don’t think there is anyone who has such a natural, instinctive feel for medium as Jim has. Somehow, he is able to get exactly the right balance between between reporting the latest in the area and providing compelling, accurate and lucid comment, and without the sort of self-indulgence that is all to common elsewhere.
I suppose one could ask about the benefits to the blogger and the benefits to the reader. It’s easier to talk about the benefits to the blogger. Academics are a big-headed bunch and blogging gives them a nice outlet for their desire for self-publicity. And the nice thing about academic blogs is that not many people read them, so the academics can get on their soapbox and go and sound off to a handful of readers and get that out of their system, hopefully honing their purer and better thoughts for proper publications like books and articles.
…So while we might poke fun at the bloggers, and laugh at their self-indulgence, in fact they have proved their worth in recent years by keeping us all informed and engaged, and sometimes, if all too rarely, entertained and amused.
On a related note, I should mention that I have a number of other interviews that are finished and will appear in coming days. I have thoroughly enjoyed hearing the various perspectives and I hope to offer a kind of synthesis and reflection at the end, perhaps in a few week’s time.