Monday, February 20, 2006

the perils of "serious blogging"

In a Voice column at Inside Higher Ed today, Jeff Rice warns against the perils of "serious blogging," including under that rubric pseudonymous blogs that, he argues, somehow "reinforce the burden of seriousness that has overtaken academic blogging." I'm not quite clear on the point he's making about the link between pseudonymity and "seriousness," but in the latter section of his piece he seems to make an argument in favor of formal experimentation and against "repeated refrains of 'fear' pseudonymous bloggers express or the tropes of general complaining pseudonymous bloggers turn out."

As I wrote in a comment at IHE, I'm wary of the implication that there's some sort of duty towards playfulness in academic blogging. If part of the reason why people blog, anonymously or not, is to start conversations with other academics, as Rice endorses, then those conversations don't necessarily need to be founded on technological or textually "playful" innovations. Common complaints, for instance, provide a ground for sharing advice and sympathy and for developing a feel for the broader community of academics outside one's own department or university. As a blogger who started writing primarily for this reason - to join a conversation - I resent feeling some kind of obligation to the blog form itself, for the sake of "newness" alone.

If you're interested, by the way, in the point about pseudonymity, Oso Raro has a good comment at IHE. I just discovered his blog and highly recommend it.

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