To what end blogging? Continuing the conversation…

To what end blogging? Continuing the conversation… July 10, 2010

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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