Alexandre Enkerli, ethnomusicologist, brewmaster, and blogger extraordinaire, recently commented on the possibilities for managing online content distribution in terms of confidentiality and trust. As I look into online communities, playing around with this blog and other peoples, I’ve certainly found it interesting and difficult to moderate what I say. I can’t tell who I’m talking to, and its been a learning experience figuring out the proper contexts to write. Enkerli has created a number of different blogs, and writes on a diverse set of topics. I joked around on one of his casual posts, and after reading it felt I didn’t do it justice in terms of maintaining a formal tone. Blogging anthropology challenges disciplinary boundaries in very interesting ways – especially when it comes to knowing how to relate to each other. Enkerli writes on numerous topics in multiple languages, some very academic, others very casual, and he does it all on the same blog.
What differentiates a comment on blog, from a comment with that same person in a conversation offline. Do anthropological blogs have particular demands for commentators? When mixing styles of messages, how can we target the appropriate audience? It’s not just a matter of writing privately, and publicly.
What exactly will academics gain from increased feedback with those outside the halls of universities? (pardon me as I fart in the air, but I need to get this proposal together asap, and this happens to be whats on my mind). Is it worth exposing formal academic thought to casual feedback? Are the walls of the ivory tower (authority, prestige, discipline) there to protect intellectuals from hordes of casual barbaric commentators? At the same time, lots of very thoughtful discussions are carried on in the midst of casual banter. Am I wrong to differentiate casual from thoughtful? Is thoughtfulness a kind of formality? The demand for thoughtfulness anyways. [this all somehow relates to the part in my proposal asking how anthropological knowledge is distributed online – and how disciplinary boundaries are changed].
To try and get a more rational perspective I need to go back and find out why exactly disciplinary boundaries are problematic. Currently “I know” that we need to be more interdisciplinary, and “I know” we should publish things open access. Unfortunately I can’t support my feelings very well. Off to the databases…