With Stephan, colleague and friend from Middlesex University, I had a conversation about blogs – how to advertise them (via Twitter, apparently) and how to manage them. I sometimes wonder if I am writing to a non-existent audience in an ocean of fellow bloggers but no readers. Stephan’s blog is specifically professional, whereas a blog from another friend, Patricia, is decidedly more personal, although she too writes about her professional life. Obviously, the two types of blog have very different functions and therefore audiences.
One blog I like is ICCI Blog, mainly because it’s the cognitive bit of culture that ruffles cross-culturalists. I strongly believe that many academics live in silos, where they only preach to the converted and refuse to consider alternative hypotheses. So, it’s good to read an opposing view once in a while. Just like I sometimes expose myself to Fox News or the Daily Mail. 🙂 For this reason I read Ann Coulter’s blog too some years ago (Did Philip Pullman call the ice mother in His Dark Materials ‘Mrs Coulter’ on purpose??)
I have two more blogs listed among my many bookmarks. I checked – one is a feminist blog, which I should read and the other is a political blog, which looks interesting although I am currently unsure why I bookmarked it specifically.
I like blogs because, unlike Wikipedia or news sites, I like to read behind the ‘facts’ and learn what is going on in people’s heads when they write. Second, I encourage students to think critically but also to be reflective so to become aware of any bias that they may have – blogs also allow for the space to do this. Coming to think of it, it may be a good type of assessment that is different from standard essays or case studies. Similarly, should blogs be considered an academic output? We’d need them to be peer reviewed. Academics, prepare to be thwarted by tweets in the future.