Thursday, November 16, 2006

Why Blog?

Some of my favorite bloggers have been addressing the 'why blog' question lately, so I thought I'd chime in.

Blogging pseudonymously allows me to be much more truthful, and to many more people, than I can be in real life. Dean Dad can make it plain in a way that Dean Myname can't.

I like to write, but my job and life don't allow for sustained attention to a research project. Bite-size blog entries, though, can fit in the interstices of a life spent managing and parenting.

Blogging lets me stay connected to academics of my own generation (and younger!). This is not realistically possible on my campus, or in my day-to-day life.

On the blog, I can think out loud without inadvertently sending what some would hear as coded political signals.

I enjoy reading others' blogs, and feel a moral obligation to keep up my end of the deal.

Like Ginsberg, I have seen the best minds of my generation fucked up the ass, only in my case, it was by economics. I'm not much of a howler, so I blog. If my blogging dissuades some good people from jumping into the sausage grinder, I will have accomplished something.

In a very conservative county, I'm starved for intelligent liberalism. Academic bloggers are awfully good at that.

I get tired of some of the myths about administration that I read in grad student/faculty blogs and remember from my own grad student/faculty days.

To a classically-trained academic, there's something absolutely intoxicating about the “Publish This!” button. I never get tired of clicking on that.

In the words of Billy Bragg, “if no one out there understands, start your own revolution and cut out the middleman.” There's something incredibly exciting going on in the academic blogosphere, and dammit, I want to be in on it. We bloggers are actually shifting the conversation. One of my recurring fantasies is to attend and participate in a regional academic bloggers' conference. Putting people to author-functions would be a real hoot. The DIY aesthetic of blogging strikes me as refreshing and desperately needed.

It's fun.

I've learned quite a bit through the exchanges with commenters and the conversations around the “Ask the Administrator” entries. When I get bogged down in administrivia, the intellectual stimulation of blogging is no small attraction.

The chicks, man...

At this point, I feel like I'm pretty good at it. There's a pride of craft in putting new stuff out there five days a week, knowing that at least a few of them are pretty good. Calvin Trillin calls himself the deadline poet; I think of myself as a deadline blogger. Besides, in middle management, most of your job satisfaction has to be vicarious. This, I can do myself.

My fellow bloggers – why do you blog?