Blogging the #AARSBL15 Blogger Session

Blogging the #AARSBL15 Blogger Session November 27, 2015

Rick Brannan and Chris Brady both shared their papers from this year's Blogger and Online Publication session at SBL. Bart Ehrman shared his thoughts about the session, in which he was a panelist. And Tony Burke shared his perspective, having been in the audience. It should not be allowed to go unnoticed that blogging led these scholars to be involved in a session about blogging at the biggest conference in their field, which they have now in turn blogged about.

The most controversial element in the session was the fact that all three panelists advised grad students and pre-tenure faculty not to blog. But someone who is in one of those categories shared from the audience what happened when he deleted his blog on the advice of a faculty member at the institution where he is a student: now most mentions of his name online are from mythicists who have created shrines of hate towards him on their blogs! I would give the opposite advice, first and foremost because everyone growing up today has an internet footprint, and so you are better off adding something that may rank highly and give a good impression, than to allow the top hits to be your instagram photos from your teens. Of course, to achieve this one must create a blog that is characterized by maturity rather than rancor. I also get a sense that the attitude towards this is different at liberal arts and theaching-focused universities vs. research-focused ones. At the former, we have embraced a paradigm shift which focuses on students not just obtaining knowledge from authoritative sources, but becoming knowledge-producers themselves. In addition to blogs as part of coursework, we often have students assemble an online portfolio to highlight their work for future employers. It may take a few years, but I suspect that soon we will be able to learn from employers' hiring data whether students with a professional-looking online presence, or those who have cautiously avoided being visible online, have the greater advantage in the job market.

See also Chris Brady's thoughts on this topic.





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  • Matthew Wade Ferguson

    Hey James,

    I am curious what you might think of this idea:

    Maybe next year we could try to organize another SBL panel on Bible blogging, but this time with presentations and discussions from predominantly graduate students and beginning scholars. We could discuss how blogging helps with academic connections and getting feedback on research, as well as difficulties such as trolling and being careful about what you post online.

    I think that such a panel could help to establish a good set of guidelines for constructive graduate blogging. It would also be great to discuss our experiences at the SBL this year, and how a bunch of us got to meet each other at the conference and also had a Bible blogger dinner together, due to our online networking.

    What do you think?