Thursday, December 06, 2018

The Decline of Academic Blogging

Matt Reed, a community college vice president and long-time blogger, asks where all the bloggers are.

why don’t my administrative colleagues elsewhere do something similar. After all these years, where is everybody?
He argues that in part people are concerned about having so many of their ideas and opinions public, a paper trail that could count against you.

Physicist Chad Orvel also discusses the issue and notes:
In the end, though, I think the biggest factor is that it takes a certain type of personality to make it as a blogger. You have to enjoy communicating through the written word in a way that isn’t all that common. Even in academia, where people’s careers are built on the production of text, you don’t see many people who are actually good at the sort of communication needed for blogging. 
This all resonates with me. I think one of the biggest reasons people don't blog is because they dislike it. These days academic journals often ask their authors to write blog posts summarizing their article and making it more accessible. More than one such author has talked to me about how difficult and time consuming they found the process. A number of people have talked to me and then launched blogs, only to stop quickly because they felt it took too much time and became a chore to do regularly.

Just clicking on the "Blogs" subject on the front page of my blog and seeing old posts reminded me of how many blogs are no longer updated, while new ones rarely appear. Next year will be an entire decade since I organized a panel on blogging for the Latin American Studies Association. There was a wave, albeit a small one, but it crashed and receded.

And that's fine. There are many other ways to communicate to a wider audience and blogging is just one of many. I feel like it is a good fit for academia but I am in a small minority. As I've written numerous times, I will blog until I don't find it fun. Somehow after almost 13 years, I still haven't reached that point.


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