Hello, blog.

“Punk rock died when the first kid said, ‘punk’s not dead!’” This is probably my favorite Silver Jews line ever. So if Berman’s logic holds, does that mean blogs are actually *alive*? After all, it seems like ever since I decided to start a real blog, all I’ve been reading/hearing is that the blogosphere is dead (or at least dying). I wasn’t at Computers and Writing this year so I can’t say more about that conversation, but it does make me pause enough to wonder if I’m late to the hootenanny. Will I only be writing to myself (or worse, writing for a crowd that will perceive me as antiquated or narcissistic)? What is blog’s reputation and how will it change in the next four years? And so why am I going forth? Here be my reasons, for better or worse:

To professionalize. I need a site that will document my doctoral process with practical exercise in writing readers’ notes, reflections, analyses, and bibliographies. This is the activity our Program advises and, in fact, how Taxomania! was initially born. Of course, it might also serve as a place to post assignments, vitas, and other such documents.

To practice. As Mueller and Kennedy articulate in a forthcoming chapter of a book in this series, blogs can be used for experimentation and tinkery (asking questions and playing around — like in the previous two posts), engagement (I’m a compositionist, damnit!), and to establish “lifework harmony” (I’m a teacher, student, former administrator, but also a dad, music lover, beer drinker, etc.). While I know many folks successfully use blogging as a CMS, I’d actually like to go a step beyond archiving data to trying to compose, to germinate possibilities that may or may not develop into larger projects. And not only do I need to practice the craft of writing, but also managing my time: to read, invent, write, and revise quickly and efficiently.

To connect. I used to meet amazing folks with my print and webzines and ever since I’ve stopped editing one, my online interactions have been limited to my material contacts. And since the blog is a project that requires new knowledge (of WordPress, to give one example), it also gives me exigence for tasks I otherwise would not engage.

Of course my biggest concern with all of this is time. Will I have it come August and will I be able to keep up on my writing between doctoral classes, teaching, and being a dad? Or will Taxomania! go the same way as my jogging shoes?

3 thoughts on “Hello, blog.”

  1. Since students are more familiar with Facebook and Twitter, I’ve seen blogs develop away from rapid-fire updates and towards more thoughtful posts. Because the stream of Facebook and Twitter updates comes in a big flood and disappears into the ether so quickly, blogs have become more reflective and more aware of the recent past (through links to archives from weeks, or months, or years ago). Blogs are still good for tracking a developing idea over time.

    While we didn’t take a poll, many of the Computers and Writing bloggers agreed that Twitter and Facebook are siphoning away much of the energy that used to be concentrated in the comments, though of course there are still vibrant group blogs where long comment threads are the norm.

    1. Thanks for commenting Dennis and for your summary from the CW conversation. I’m anxious to see if the blog will help me develop certain ideas over time since I haven’t every really written toward big ideas like I will have to for doctoral work. I’ve mostly decided to start one to keep me disciplined to write sustained ideas. I often find myself spending hours reading short pieces from RSS feeds, FB, Twitter, but having a hard time concentrating on one or two issues. I’ll jump from a piece on Obama’s visit to Europe to live bogging on the iCloud to a local food blog. I’m hoping the blog will help me focus!

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