To what end blogging? Continuing the conversation…

The last post I did on how to revitalize biblioblogdom has been met with divergent attitudes. Some have affirmed what I said, by noting a general decline in the biblioblogging world and agree that we should be a bit more focused and a bit more willing to have deeper conversations.

Others have argued that blogs are meant to be whatever the blogger wants – whatever topics, whatever pace, just whatever. Blogs are not journals, they are not “professional,” they are personal, spontaneous, and fun.

Those who have criticized my comments, though, may be misunderstanding me. I am NOT saying that bibliobloggers should do as I say. Blogs can and should do what satisfies the blogger. What I WAS saying was that, if revitalization in the community is desired, perhaps some of my suggestions might lead to such a renewal.

Think about it this way. Sometimes you read someone’s blog because you just want to get away from serious work. Sometimes you like the insider joking, ribbing, and slandering (in good fun).

However, we have developed a real community of scholarship in some ways (as evidenced in the association with SBL). For those who want to find a community of scholarship and learning, it does get a bit annoying when biblioblogs generate more posts on “randomness” than on something related to Biblical studies.

Some bloggers will say, “Good riddance to readers who have narrow expectations.” OK. Fair enough. To each his own. However, I think at least SOME bloggers need to be consistent enough and focused enough to maintain the infrastructure of the biblioblogging community. Otherwise, why call us an academic community at all. Why have an SBL affiliation?

I will be honest – my blog is generally serious. I am a fairly light-hearted person (just ask my Durham cohort), but I honestly don’t have time to just surf around and “veg” on blogs. I have kids. I have two major research projects. I have four new courses to prepare for next year. I have two conference papers to write. I have two articles to revise. I am moving to the west coast.

So, I might ask, what do we want to accomplish in the biblioblog world? Just good fun? OK. But then it may die sooner than we’d like and we can still meet up at SBL and remember the good ole days. However, I think for it to have roots, some critical mass of bibliobloggers need to be more focused, consistent, and collaborative.

A commenter, my friend Chris Spinks, mentioned that “blogs” were not originally avenues for having deep conversations. I think he is right, but I don’t like the language of “blogging” anyway (its a terrible sounding word to begin with!). Thus, I am pleased to not have the word “blog” in my address title. I like “wordpress” because the idea of “press” gives it more of a publishing flavor. Whether that was intentional on the part of WordPress, I don’t know. But just because others will call my site a “blog,” doesn’t mean I have to play by those rules.

I am sharing what I think will bring longevity to biblioblogdom. Remember, some folks out there don’t have colleagues or kindred spirits in Biblical studies, so they NEED this forum. While some use it for “fun,” for others it is their only academic club. I value that and I want to do some lasting sorts of things, though I try to read some others who take a more light approach (like the once-prolific Chris Tilling).

If others have suggestions, I am open to them. Please know that I am fine with folks being goofy and doing their thing. I am not the blog police. But maybe we can have some blogs and forums (as Rob Barrett has suggested) that foster more consistent and serious conversation.

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7 thoughts on “To what end blogging? Continuing the conversation…

  1. Nijay, I get what you are saying and maybe you are directing your concerns more to the professional, or those in a academic setting. I live in bit in both worlds right now. I’m an associate pastor working on completing my BTh, and hopefully move right into my masters when I am done. I also work full time for IBM, I have a teenage son in high school. So for me to dedicate more time than I should on blogging can be a bit daunting.

    I do appreciate those professionals that take the time to blog, I wish there were more, but I also find the level of personal community that can develop among bloggers. I think that there needs to be some balance between what your are proposing, and the blogging community. Unless of course you see no value in this and simple wish to share your conclusions and ideas with others, read theirs as well and have whatever interaction the topics may provoke.

    I also enjoy that sort of discussion, however I think that for most bloggers they are seeking community that shares in common interest. Most if not all of the blogs I follow have Christianity at it’s center, even if it’s an occasional blog on theology, or other biblical thoughts. Again I highly enjoy some blogs where that is all they do, but I feel no connection to them what so ever. Maybe that is not as important, but for me it matters.

  2. Robert,
    Thank you for your honest concerns. I too want to develop community. I think, though, this can happen through my suggestions. I have built several good relationships through my blog and I continue to enjoy getting to know some other bloggers through discussion in comments.

    You are right, though, that I am directing my comments to professionals, but that does not exclude it to active professors working in NT/OT.

    Again, I am not trying to take all the fun or creativity out of blogging. I am simply saying that I want to see the biblioblog-world thrive. What can help secure its stability? If you don’t find that an issue, so be it.

    Many thanks again for your contribution.

  3. Nijay, personally I would love to see Gordon Fee, and Roger Olson, blogging, to name a few, and honestly I wouldn’t even care if they didn’t interact, although it would make it more rewarding if they did. I sort of felt you were directing it more to those in professional academics, I do hope they hear your concerns.

  4. I’ve found that Twitter has provided an outlet for some (smaller) things that I would have blogged in the past. Yet, since I’ve added my Twitter feed to my blog’s sidebar, there is a sense I’m still blogging, even if it’s microblogging on the sidebar via Twitter.

  5. Robert,

    I read a comment from Don Carson that disparaged the value of blogging as “ephemeral.” Rather than investing effort in something that was not of lasting significance, he advocated investing in production of print publications. He seems to view all blogging as of the same ilk, not having a serious nature. In light of my constrained time, I have begun blogging through my research papers. It has forced me to consider much more carefully how each piece (i.e. post) contributes to the larger objective. My first attempt at this was a critique of the prevailing view of verbal aspect and prominence. By the end of the series, I had 21 single-spaced pages, complete with citations, that could be turned into an article or boiled down for a presentation. I will continue this practice of using my blog as the sketchpad of articles. The comments from readers, particularly the “what did you mean when you said X,” brought greater clarity. I think this kind of approach could address issues raised by Nijay, as well as help with the time crunch.

  6. Steve,

    that seems like a rather subjective comment for Don Carson to make. I agree with what Nijay is saying within the context of who he is directing this too. I have also done similar things in my blog as you have suggested, but for me it varies. At this point in my existence as a blogger and I’m not interested in only blogging on what others may think is of “lasting significances”.

    I just saw Predators, I may blog a blurb about that ;-)

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