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SBL '13 Abstract on Blogging and Democratized Media

Title: “We’ve Got the Power”: How Bibliobloggers Can (and Should) Make the Most of Democratized Media

Author: Joshua L. Mann

Abstract (working):

The accessibility of social media in general and blogging in particular has democratized media publishing in the twenty-first century. Though authorities or “gatekeepers” persist even in social media, power has shifted substantially from institutions, organizations, and traditional publishers to the content-creators, authors. This democratization, coupled with ever-advancing web technologies, provides bibliobloggers unique opportunities to further scholarship related to biblical studies (and other fields). This paper suggests specific ways bibliobloggers can and should pursue these opportunities. First, a number of media underutilized by bibliobloggers will be discussed, including podcasting, video production, webinars, and e-publication. It will be suggested that the ease of producing high quality content through these means provides bibliobloggers low- (or no-) cost solutions for more successfully distributing meaningful content related to biblical studies. Second, two positive outcomes of utilizing social media in ways outlined above (and some accompanying limitations) will be discussed: providing free or low-cost education to interested parties and advancing scholarship through web publication. Finally, opportunities for monetization will be considered and evaluated (e.g., paid-blogging, advertising, pay-walls, product creation, etc.). Although a few prominent bibliobloggers have pursued monetization, the concept has received mixed reactions within the community. It will be argued that bibliobloggers should consider certain means of monetizing their blogs, but only in a way fitting with the “open-source” mindset prevalent among blogging communities, including bibliobloggers.