“Animate pretension with intention” enjoins Bum in a Suit, in what is surely one of the most engaging and conflicted “about” posts I’ve yet to read on a new blog. Taking his cue from Kurt Vonnegut, Bum in a Suit zips straight to the heart of that ambivalence many of us confront when we begin to blog. For if the internet and its affordances are increasingly implicated into every aspect of our work and daily life , starting a blog is often one of our first deliberate endeavors to create content by claiming and building on a piece of digital real estate. As Bum in a Suit notes, beginning to blog can feel like an act of pretension: How could the tiny droplets I offer here ever matter in the bottomless ocean of the web? What agency might my lone ideas exercise against the ever-more-sophisticated algorithms of Google, Facebook and the like? Starting a new blog might also seem futile and /or passe. As the internet of things rises over the horizon of the internet of information and communication is there really any point to continue to talk to each other?*
I’m going with YES to all of the above (some with more certainty than others), and affirming Bum in a Suit’s decision to blog as an intentional, affirmative and creative act — one that can, should, must even, make the life of the mind richer and more interesting. I realize these are bold propositions and not everyone will agree with me. And that’s fine. I hope we take all of them up during the seminar this semester. For now I want to note just a few of the many benefits of blogging:
1) Blogging offers an amazingly easy, fast, and durable modality for sharing ideas and research
2) The medium naturally lends itself to thoughtful, documented, distributed conversation about problems and ideas ranging from the practical to the esoteric.
3) Blogging makes it easy to leverage the affordances of a networked environment and tap the infinite and expanding knowledge that the web places at our finger tips.
4) If you are an academic searching for a broader audience or a parachute out of the ivory tower — a blog is your best friend.
I look forward to a seminar loaded with pretentiously intentional posts.
*John Udell has some timely thoughts on the need for “engineered filter failure” here.