It’s been a rough week for the faithful here in anthro-blog world. Blogger spats spurred by the ability to write fast and inability to delete brought a quick end to one blog I followed. And another blog is pondering the idea of changing the blog into an open journal.
Yes that’s right – the blog vs. journal debate is back! Would you rather post your work on a blog, or in an “open journal”. What motivates the preference? A few quick thoughts -
Not everyone appreciates or feels the need to be unprofessional! Blogging can be a reaction to stiff academic culture, but many people want that professional identity to be carried and developed online. For them, there is concern that blogging their ideas would work against that image. They would prefer to post their work in a journal, with less responsibilty for frequent posting and discussion. Another possibility here is, they are happy to make their work available, but they don’t want to commit to regular interactions about it. Or they choose to make these interactions elsewhere, like in academic conferences.
Others take issue against any sort of professional label being dumped on them! Bloggers can react negatively to the idea that they are “anthropology bloggers”, preferring instead to blog from a personal space. More than one blogger I’ve interviewed has expressed this concern, arguing their blogs were not really “anthropology blogs”.
This points to the wonderful flexibility blogging gives, since it’s not a genre at all. It’s a writing/publishing platform and that’s it. So it leaves a lot of room for all sorts of more specific categorizations for those who chose to do so. The one thing that differentiates the blog generally however, is that it revolves around self-publishing without peer review!
Blogs are a space to express yourself more freely. Here’s to keeping faith that free expression is a good thing, and that learning to write in public is a worthy academic goal. [and learning to write to a broader public, which I'll play with someday!]
[Don't you dare label me] –> don’t professionalize my blog
[but.. it's just a blog... I want my work in a journal!] –> blog is too unprofessional!
[this blog is both professional and unprofessional. Deal with it.]