Your Thoughts on Blogging

While we’re working out the technical difficulties with setting up your individual blogs, please put your thoughts on Dan Cohen, “Professors, Start Your Blogs” in the comments section here.

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14 Responses to Your Thoughts on Blogging

  1. I agree with Dan Cohen’s blog post. I think it would be a great idea if more professors and professionals in academia posted on blogs as it would be an easy source for credible information on whatever topic one decides to post on. The ability to incorporate images and video to posts increases the allure. Blogs have the potential ability to reach more people via an RSS feed than a static website. RSS feeds can be incorporated on to your iGoogle home page (if you have it set it as your home page, as I do), and you can see the updates immediately rather than having to go through your bookmarks and check individual websites. Professors and professionals blogging would also help steer the way we think about blogs away from it being stereotypically for teenagers.

  2. I think Dan Cohen is right to call out to professors. It wouldn’t hurt for professors to have their own blogs. Maybe by bringing the world of academia into the blogsphere it might eradicate some of the stereotypes about blogs being ridiculous, narcissistic rants. Blogs are also more dynamic and are constantly being updated. I agree with John that the invention of RSS feeds make blogs more efficient in getting information out there rather than a website. Finally, nerdy people like me would rather follow a history blog than Kim Kardashian’s numerous media outlets.

  3. I also believe Dan Cohen has a valid point. The addition of professors and academics raises the profile and adds credibitlity to blogging. It allows the experts to reach a broader audiance with their ideas and allows for anyone to connect with the experts with an immediacy not found in other forms of publishing. I like that there is an interactive aspect to blogging as I have always been one to write arguments and questions in the margins of nearly all the books I read anyway!

  4. Samantha Ozzone says:

    I agree with Dan Cohen and everyone who has already posted . Cohen does a great job of supporting the pros of blogging while addressing the doubts that people have as well. Cohen mentioned that a lot of people distrust the legitimacy of blogs because creating a blog is accessible to everyone. Because of this accessibility to blog, there is undoubtbly a lot of trash on the internet, but not unlike the copious amounts of book-trash that is also published. Cohen suggests that to find great blogs and books you just have to be selective. Although his point is simple and quite obvious, it stuck with me, because people dont usually compare the validity of a book versus an academic blog although both medias have the potential to be trash . Blogging is creative and a fantastic opportunity to express historical passion or obsession with others who are interested in the same field. This is the technology age, and people are learning more and more through the internet. If this is the way people are learning, the more academia involved, the more people will give it more credibility. I also really liked Caitlin’s point that some people would be more interested to read a history blog than the latest celebrity gossip blog.

  5. I have to agree with all of those classmates who have commented before me that Cohen has a valid point. I think that blogging has really been changing lately, especially with all the social media that is now available. There are so many ways for professors and grad students to be connected in an academic but also interactive media outlets (like blogging, linkedin, facebook, twitter, etc). Professionals need to keep up with the times and blogging allows others to follow along with what professionals are actively doing in the field. Truthfully almost all the people I follow on twitter are non-profits, news outlets, or sports related pages.

  6. I also believe that Dan Cohen has a valid point in encouraging members of the academia to post blogs, if not frequently then at least once in a while. Few years ago, I was skeptical of bloggers, including the ones who write about history—I was not convinced that they provide the world with credible information. I was under the impression that their thoughts and ‘analysis’ were written with the aim to achieve their, sometimes hidden purposes (for instance, to promote their political views). Honestly, I considered them to be unworthy of my time. Dan Cohen, however, raises an interesting issue, which I support. Writing blogs by professors and other members of the academia provides valuable pieces of information, not only to them, but to other bloggers who may happen to learn new aspects from them, and at the same time keeping an open mind. We have to remember to seperate ‘junk blogs’ from the ones that are really worthy. But it is only up to us.

  7. Profile photo of Sarah Hawkes Sarah Hawkes says:

    I have to admit that this post by Dan Cohen successfully countered the majority of my stereotypes against blogs, as well as my hesitancy to become part of the blogging world. Like most of my peers have commented, I believed that blogs were primarily a venue for humorous individuals to complain about their everyday life. However, Cohen’s argument, along with the plethora of academic blogs that were introduced to us during class last week, have convinced me that blogging is well worth exploring. As a person who constantly feels as if there is not enough time in the day, I really appreciate Cohen’s points that bloggers do not need to constantly write new posts. A few posts per year will do as long as they are interesting. Furthermore, Cohen helped me understand that blog readers, which is much more likely to be the category I fall into within the blogging world, do not need to constantly check blogs for updates. Finally, I agree with Cohen that one of the best ways in which students could academically appreciate blogs would be for their professors to write their own blogs. Not only would this allow students to have a tangible example of academia within social media, but it would also enable professors and students to relate on a higher level, since many students have been raised in the digital age. Hesitant professors could at least attempt to incorporate blogs into their courses in order to expose students to academic blogs.

  8. Profile photo of Luke G. Boyd Luke G. Boyd says:

    I was inspired by Dan Cohen’s ‘call to arms’ to inspire academics to enter the blogosphere. Instead of waiting for this whole blog thing to blow over or rid itself of Gleek theory, professors and grad students could and should contribute to the discourse directly. Population of expert blogs will enrich the body of knowledge among academics, while simultaneously debunking the myths of the idiotic blogosphere and the detached ivory tower academician.

    Imagine sharing those questions and thoughts from the margins of our books with thousands of other people…what would that do for us as people?

  9. To echo the others, Dan Cohen is absolutely right on the money… blogging is, along with Facebook, Twitter, Tumblr, etc., the direction that the world is already moving in, at a lightning fast pace I might add. This is a wonderful opportunity for professors and armchair academics alike to educate (albeit indirectly and subtly) many people who may not buy into the stereotype of blogs but DO believe some of the stereotypes associated with academia. Blogs have the ability to be as many, or as few, tools as you need them to be: a place to condense news relevant to your topic, a place to offer free and open discourse from people around the world, a place to supplement classroom learning, and so on. In the age of the ubiquitous Wi-Fi hotspots, smartphones and tablets, professors who are unwilling to embrace this technology are at risk of making themselves “obsolete” in the minds of a populace whose lives revolve around the myriad of Tweets and Facebook posts they receive each day. And, with tools such as “Blog It!” (http://apps.facebook.com/blogittypepad/), having to worry about updating every platform is no longer an issue.

    The one point I disagree with, however, is the stereotype of blogs being geared toward “the realm of self-involved, insecure, oversexed teens and twentysomethings.” I’ve yet to come across a person who sees blogs in this way. Twitter? Certainly. Facebook? Without a doubt. But blogs? Not in my experience. In fact, all it takes is a quick Google search of the Top 100 blogs (http://technorati.com/blogs/top100/) to see that some of the most popular blogs are geared toward politics, technology and news & opinion (one of my favorites, “The Onion”, falls in this category). Only a small number of these 100 are geared toward gossip, “quirky” news and sports. While I would agree that there are people who see blogs as being useful only for people under 30, anybody who refuses to read blogs, let alone write or post to one, is only going to perpetuate whatever stereotype there is.

  10. Profile photo of Erin says:

    After reading Dan Cohen’s blog post I’d like to answer his plea to help in telling professors or professors-to-be about the advantages of starting their own blogs. Cohen described the stereotypes that have kept many in academia from joining the blogosphere. While some blogs may in fact be poorly written outlets for narcissism, Cohen wonderfully countered these stereotypes by stating, “Professors are hired and promoted because they are specialists who discover and explain things that few others understand.” Cohen also writes, “Professors have spent a great deal of their lives learning how to write prose and to write in a variety of styles for different purposes.” Applying those statements to my own experiences, I have signed up for plenty of classes unsure about the topic, only to become moved and interested because of the way in which the Professor explained the material. I would have loved if those well-spoken Professors kept blogs so that I could continue to engage with the topic and read about their newest obsessions. Professors should use their rare talents in research and communication to keep students, academics and even the general public informed and interested. Few others have the power to grab the attention of an audience like they do.
    I don’t think Professors necessarily understand how right Cohen is in saying, “The best bloggers inevitably become a nexus for information exchange in their field… A good blog provides a platform to frame discussions on a topic and point to resources of value.” Using Nina Simon as an example- most people at the Mystic Seaport read her blog regularly and “borrow” many of her ideas. Because of her blog, the Seaport even paid to have her run a weeklong workshop for a new initiative that is underway. Nina’s blog helped her gain a large audience for a book and fueled a very successful consulting career. Her thoughts and research are altering the face and field of museum work. Apply Nina’s story to other professors, and the academic world would be buzzing with new ideas, new books, and new consultants.
    Finally I think Professors would have fun with it (more than they expect). It is as Cohen says a perfect outlet for obsessions and a great place for an extra production of words and ideas. The “time commitment” that many complain about would not feel so grueling when Professors are keeping their creative juices flowing. If you think about it- how many of us really have the time for facebook? But it’s fun and we can ‘express ourselves’ there so we make the time.

  11. Profile photo of Whitney says:

    Dan Cohen’s piece is very agreeable. I enjoyed his enthusiasm in encouraging professors and the like to start blogging. I know a high school math teacher who started a math blog for his students and it became incredibly popular. His blog was a great way for him to connect to his students outside of the classroom and it was very effective. Blogging can be a great way to share information on a topic. Cohen felt that “blogs are prefect outlets for obsession.” I agree with Cohen’s dislike of reading in great detail about a person’s breakfast as not being the kind of obsession to share through blogging. Blogging indeed could be an incredible way for a professor to get word to students easily on whatever. Blogging, as I learned from Cohen, does not seem to be that difficult and is moderately easy to do. And with his introduction of RSS it is practically effortless to share blog updates with followers. Overall, I agree with Cohen that more people in the academic world ought to get themselves in to the blogging realm and spread what they know!

  12. Like Cohen, I believe blogs are a new and emerging tool for the academic community. I feel that you can get a better sense of who someone is through blogs versus scholarly articles and books. I also think blogs can change the stereotypes that academics often acquire. Blogs are more personal. The blog authors words are fresh and unchanged due to the fact that their words and ideas are not seen by numerours editors and publishing companies. Because blogging and social media are so popular and widespread today, it is a great idea for more academics to join the movement.

  13. Even though I found that article enlightning and thought provoking, It really didn’t change my mind much. I still find blogging to be just another bit of information overload to add to my daily life. The RSS feature makes it a little easier but that still doesn’t negate that fact that this is just another task that has to be done during a busy day. Another tedious task that I have found with blogging is, the fact that you have to weed through all of the Superfluous postings out there in order to find something that is thought provoking and interesting. I think if there were a better way of getting to your subject matter I would find blogging to be more useful for me. My time, like everyone elses is very important and I find it to be wasted searching through the blogesphere for decent articles to read. I know that it sounds like I am bashing the whole idea of blogging but, I can see where it has its merits and it could be a very useful tool. Unfortunately, like Cohen stated in the beginning of the article, I don’t have the time or the patients to weed through postings about someones breakfast, or the rantings of someones one sided opinion about a subject. I could definately find great uses for blogging, if there were a better way of getting at the meat of the postings without having to go through everything else.

  14. Profile photo of Renee Bailey Renee Bailey says:

    I found Dan Cohen’s article to be enlightening. I had not considered blogging similar to book writing. I also often considered them to be something for those with too much time on their hands. I also agree with Anthony that the massive amount of unreliable or just worthless information that one must search through to find decent reputable postings, that are worth my time reading, is a stressful task. I can see the merits with the instant access to information that the computer age has provided, but with so much unreliable information out there so far I have found this rarely worth my time. I hope that this class will teach us how to sift through the junk.

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