To Blog or Not To Blog

During my time as a PhD student, professors have shared mixed comments about blogging.  Some professors have encouraged me to blog and others have deemed the practice as a waste of time.

What I noticed about those who were from the pro-blog camp is that they are either assistant professors or senior professors who happen to be tech savvy.

The anti-blog camp are typically older and committed to the traditional expectations of academia.

Even those from the pro-blog camp struggle with the act.  One professor asked me to chime in on a potential post.  The content was soooooo thick [wordy].  For some, making the transition from hefty manuscripts to brief and succinct commentary is a major challenge.  Here are a few other troubling comments that I have heard from students and professors:

  • I’m long-winded, and there’s no way I can cram all of what I have to say in that box.
  • Blogging will call into question my status as a serious scholar.
  • Who actually reads that %!#&?

Maybe it is time for universities to offer training on contemporary sharing platforms. Reboot?

14 Comments

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14 Responses to To Blog or Not To Blog

  1. Thank you for excellent article.Great information for new guy like me

  2. Well, blog will be read if there is interesting content, not just text of course, but visuals also.
    Text need to be formatted in a way so people will read and not pass by because they see a long text and will just pass reading. Usually I do so, but when it catches my interest then even I might subscribe.

  3. Catherine Einstein

    I am still uncomfortable with blogging even though I’ve had to blog a lot for jobs and classes. There seems to be a certain expectation that blogs need to be entertaining in a way academic and professional writing often isn’t. Like you said “Who actually reads that %!#&?” if it’s not funny or clever or shocking. Since its on the Internet, entertainment value seems to trump the importance of the content.

  4. katy p

    I used to believe that blogging was a waste of internet space because “no one would read that stuff.” It wasn’t until I started communicating my research findings in layman terms that the public would want to read and learn about on blogging sites. Its a great way for a two-way dialogue between the public and the professionals and much easier to reach the masses in a blog versus a full manuscript. Some blogs may seem pointless while some are amazing, but its like that with any other older form of communication, like newspaper articles and TV news broadcasting.

  5. E. Clark

    I think you bring up a very interesting discussion. Blogging is a rather “new-aged” form of communication. I’m sure it can seem rather challenging, even daunting to those unfamiliar with it. Older generations seem less accepting of new means of communication-if their telephone is functioning, what’s the use of learning a new technology? To be honest, even I am reluctant to use many novel forms of online communication (i.e. Twitter, Instagram, etc.). I will use Facebook, but I attribute that to the fact I began using it in middle school and practically grew-up using the site. I wonder….do the people who only use limited forms communication learn/interact with peers using alternative means? If so, do these means facilitate networked learning?

  6. jakeyel

    I think you’ve hit on one of the key reasons why some are resistant to/don’t see the value in blogs: to paraphrase, who reads these things? As I was writing my networked learning post I thought about this factor as well. I have written a number of blogs for myself and I have blogged for organizations I’ve worked for. But, I realized, I don’t read blogs. I very much enjoy writing them but I have never really thought about following the blogs of others. Partly the reason for this is that they aren’t considered fully scholarly so you can’t cite them as authoritatively as other sources (news, journal articles, etc.). I suppose that’s a self perpetuating cycle, though. We have to think blogs can be authoritative in order for them to become authoritative.

    • jardonam

      I have to say that I have wondered the same thing as I write these blogs. I ponder who is reading my blog and if they are actually interested or just reading it as part of the assignment. This is literally my 21st semester of college, and last semester’s PFP class was the first time I had ever done a blog. I’m still warming up to the idea, so I experience mixed emotions. I think it can be helpful, but a lot of blogs are just opinion and not considered scholarly, as mentioned above. I am hopeful that this semester will help me see more of the benefits of blogging, so time will tell. Thanks for calling it out!

    • So what kind of blogging do you do “for yourself”? Whatever the answer is I’m sure you’re doing it “right” because you are enjoying and find value in it. I think blogging works best when we pursue it in a way that works best for us. It’s a very flexible and accommodating medium. It gets a bad rap when people try to force it to be something it isn’t or see it as an obligation.
      So, yes, you have to blog for this class, but I hope everyone will explore and experiment with it a bit and try to find something that works. There’s no one “right” way.

  7. I agree with you. One that I noticed most between my instructors [and many of my peers] is a perceived lack of digital literacy, they are all actually quite capable of creating content, however they lack the confidence to fully commit, or even make the attempt. If one doesn’t fully commit to the idea and maintenance of DNL the content will suffer, and that’s part of the problem.

    I would encourage you to check out Mary’s blog about digitally networked learning, embracing it and the level of responsibility required to use it; https://blogs.lt.vt.edu/mnorris/2017/01/21/testing/

  8. Jessalyn

    I agree with your point about the vast difference between scholarly writing and blog writing. No one goes to read a blog looking for some dense theory laden explanation. We go to blogs looking for an easy to read explanation of a concept , and to hear a new point of view on this concept. Often when I am tasked to write a blog for a class I struggle to find the balance between writing technically enough to please my professor without ruining the character of my blog and boring my classmates to death.

  9. Rachel Kinzer Corell

    I love the breakdown/analysis of who tends to like blogging/social media and who doesn’t. For the most part, my experience has reflected yours, and because I’m not one to blog consistently, it was a challenge last semester during the PFP class.

    I would agree with you that the time has come to offer training in these realms… and I would recommend Quinn Warnick’s class on Professional Digital Identity if it’s offered again next fall (and you’re still at VT). His class started with the basics of all this and worked toward building a solid online identity, or improving the one you already have.

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