Is blog’s role too exaggerated?

This week’s readings seem to over-emphasize the role and function of blogs. In my opinion, blogs are a new form of communicating tool, just like telephones, emails, and web searching tools. These communicating tools are indeed useful and make education more efficient. For example, nowadays students can get an article on web by clicking a few keys on board, instead of going to the library and make a hard copy. However, saving time does not necessarily make one go into the right direction. It is still one’s thinking, opinion, philosophy, and reflection upon the world that determines what information one wants to acquire. A more efficient technique just makes that happen sooner.

Some scholars seem not to get the key problems of present school education. Hitchcock said: “If there is a ‘crisis’ in the humanities, it lies in how we have our public debates, rather than in their content.” In my opinion, this is opposite to the truth. Nowadays the real difficulty of the humanities is that they have NO CONTENT except political correctness. What humanistic scholars really care about is to promote so-called equality rather than pursuing truth. Such equalities could be economic, gender, ethnic, and cultural. Equality is not a bad thing, however, we must keep in mind that equality is subject to higher values such as freedom, and these two things are not same. But this will start a much more complicated topic which is not appropriate to discuss here.

Anyway, blogs can make one’s opinion much more available to the public than traditional methods, but maybe people should keep in mind that occupying more public space does not necessarily make an opinion more meaningful. Just like Campbell revealed, blog maybe is just another form of “narrate”, or story telling.

8 thoughts on “Is blog’s role too exaggerated?”

  1. Such truth I agree with in the fact our thinking and reflection is what matters most over ease of access to information. It is also true that more blogs can mean more opinions (whether valued or not) available. But this makes me wonder: if people find their opinions valuable enough to place on a public platform, which can be retrieved at any future point and time, wouldn’t they be mindful of what is being documented? Even opinions we disagree with can provide thought provoking reflections when we seek to understand things from a different point of view. It may strengthen what we currently hold on as belief, or may possibly change our positions.

  2. Keep this in mind over the duration of the course. It is good to have a critical eye on anything.

    There are two parts: one on the blogging. Just make sure that it is given a good try. If you believe that blogging as a concept has no content and is to occupy space, then make your content exceptional.

    Two with regards to truth. There is the philosophic argument to truth which is the root of most of philosophy, paired with logic and empiricism or experience; the other side, truth is not philosophical, rather simply being blunt or unfiltered. I can see how tiptoe-ing around a larger issue can be taxing of annoying. These often manifest around socioeconomic issues/status. (which we will cover later in the semester)

    Just be aware that well meaning words without facial ques leave heavier scars. You have the ability to re-make blogging to your standard.

  3. I agree with you that blogs is a good convenient way of making your point or argument reach more people and that it has nothing to do with adding more meaning or giving more credit to your point. Very similar is your Facebook or Twitter account. You can publish your own opinions and beliefs freely, and you may also enter debates to defend your point. However, blogs, posts, and tweets and any other mean of sharing thoughts is not just a space occupied as you mentioned. It can be so if you publish just crap! On the other hand, it can be a place that people use to visit regularly to get all the new out of your head! Accordingly, the value of your blog lies mainly in the value of the thoughts and arguments written it it. You can make it worth its space!

  4. I like what you said in proposing the counter argument to the Hitchcock quote: “If there is a ‘crisis’ in the humanities, it lies in how we have our public debates, rather than in their content.” I agree with you in a lot of ways. I think in the moment when we are in conversation or in a “public debate” (or public conversation), it is more more helpful and efficient to think about content first and then think of ways to communicate the content than it is to think of various ways to communicate first and then back fill them with content. But I also think this is what makes a class like this so helpful — it gives us a chance to take a step back and think about our methods of communication and teaching before we are in the moment.

    Focusing on the way we communicate to the neglect of content leaves us vulnerable to rhetoric, and focusing on content to the neglect of communication leaves us vulnerable to irrelevance. Often I think that if we valued facts and data more highly in our public debates, this would give of the vocabulary with which to communicate about our conclusions and intents. While if we have our conversations primarily through facebook memes we might reach a broad audience but we will always be talking past each other.

    That said, way I understood the quote in the context of the article is that in the end what we communicate and how we communicate it are inseparable.

    Perhaps the idea is that if we assume that we in academia have something to offer the public debate in terms of content (and we should — research is content). Then finding ways to communicate this to a more public audience builds content in the public debate. (I would love to watch academics get together and host a presidential debate!) Basically if the goal is to solve the “no content” problem in the public debate, how do we go about solving the problem? Any answer I can think of involves good communication. So I agree with you that “occupying more public space does not necessarily make an opinion more meaningful.” But when you start with a meaningful opinion occupying a more public space does make the opinion more powerful.

    1. Also I realized I didn’t really comment of blogs directly — sorry! I see blogs as just one way out of many for us to experiment with the interplay between communication and content. I actually get kind of annoyed sometimes when I do a quick google search and find nothing but blogs come up as my top sources. I prefer a little bit of reliable information over a slew of information without a recognizable source, and blogs are hard to sort though that way. But I think that is why an academic blog is different from a personal blog or even a class blog. If the same author who is blogging is also publishing peer reviewed publications with the same information later, a blog is a great way to get up to date content efficiently out to the public. (Class blogs I have to think of as primarily for our, the students’, sake. Maybe my opinion on that will change as the course goes on. But for the moment I am content.)

  5. You made some very interesting points. I think blogging in a sense is what you make of it. I know a few people that use blogging to share scientific information about nutrition, diet, and exercise. They share scholarly articles with references on their blog. They reach a decent number of people and also have their clients follow the blog. It definitely is just another communication tool but, I think it has some advantages that could be useful. The content of the blog though I think is critical if the intentions are to be meaningful.

  6. Not to be the solitary and definitive voice of the humanities, but rather as someone who is pursuing a career in the humanities and humanities education, I would argue that there is indeed quite a bit of content within the humanities. I’ve always seen the humanities as the conscience of academia, where the sciences are the mind, the humanities are the soul. But yes, political correctness is a double-edged sword, but if my understanding of at least this course–and by extension, the crux of the blogging argument–is correct, then the point is to elevate one’s content in order to not just occupy public space, but to make a contribution to the public knowledge. Blogging, and other inter-connected sites on the web, can absolutely be used for frivolous means. But in academia, the impetus is to produce something, to join the conversation. Blogging is about speaking to your niche and so much of academia rests on communication. The web allows us to bridge the gap between the individual and the public so as to create an ever-evolving academic community consistently engaged in discourse. I think, if that is the end goal, it is worth a shot.

  7. I personally think blogging is a fad and will eventually fade. It does have it’s place and purpose in today’s society, although I have to say that it is not for everyone. Blogs are often thoughts/opinions of individuals and are many times just that (of course there are good blogs out there). They are not well cited or researched, which is the biggest problem for me. Why should I read a blog compared to a well researched article in a newspaper or a journal/magazine? There is a reason the NYtimes has an Op-ed column – which to me is the equivalent of a blog.

Leave a Reply