October 27, 2008

Why Academics Should Blog

One of the interesting things about FriendFeed is that it's really reduced the number of "hey, cool link here" blog posts that I do. Those just go to my lifestream and whoever is following me on FriendFeed can see it. Similarly, those cool link blog posts that many other people might have posted I'm now seeing on FF.

But occasionally, I do still see a link cool and interesting enough to warrant a full-fledged blog post. Also interestingly, I saw the link first on Jambina's feed (ie. Amy Buckland).

That post is Why Academics Should Blog by Hugh McGuire.

The list of 9 items is spot on:

  1. You need to improve your writing
  2. Some of your ideas are dumb
  3. The point of academia is to expand knowledge
  4. Blogging expands your readership
  5. Blogging protects and promotes your ideas
  6. Blogging is Reputation
  7. Linking is better than footnotes
  8. Journals and blogs can (and should) coexist
  9. What have journals done for you lately?

Fuller explanations are on the original post and are absolutely well worth reading in full.

What I love about the list is that it so perfectly captures the full range of reasons for academics to blog. And not just academics and academic librarians -- I would say that the reasons more-or-less apply just as much to any knowledge worker or professional, librarians and library school students included, where the idea is to both share what we know and to build our professional reputations.

In other words, there are both altruistic and selfish reasons to blog, free and open expression benefits both the blogger and the larger social/professional/academic context in which she or he blogs.

Oh yeah, a taste. I really like number 9.
9. What have journals done for you lately?
Journals define your reputation, and don’t pay anything. That’s like blogging. They are exorbitantly expensive, have abusive and restrictive copyright terms, and are not available online to the general public. You can’t link to them, and often you can’t find them. That’s unlike blogging. Journals should all be open access and free online (as newspapers have come to be), and you should tell them that, and choose to publish in open access journals whenever you can. It’s good for knowledge, and you are in the knowledge business. You should support whatever is good for knowledge.


Anonymous said...

Points 2 and 3 really resonated with me. In fact, I experienced that particular combination a few days ago, where I said a dumb idea, and somebody expanded my knowledge (for which I am genuinely grateful).

John Dupuis said...

Thanks, Chris. You should try friendfeed for even better feedback to blog postings.