Sunday, May 5, 2013

Shall I Keep Blogging?

I've had a blog for almost a semester now. It's been class-mandated, and soon we'll see if I keep it up. Would it be worth it? What do I get out of blogging? Luckily, at the end of said class we had a few articles on scholarly blogging, and there was one in particular that had good framework for me to use when reflecting on the future of my blog. Which I will do now. In blog form.

Sara Kjellberg (2010) interviewed 11 blogging researchers on why they maintained blogs. These people ranged from humanists to natural scientists, and ranked anywhere from PhD. student to professors. Not librarians, but I think what she found holds well enough. She identified six functions of scholarly blogs in their responses: disseminate content, express opinions, keep up-to-date on material in their fields, write, interact, and build networks of relationships. So, which of these am I getting out of my blog? 

I don't particularly pass along much I'm doing in my blog in terms of content I've created, whether it be research or library practice, though perhaps that will change at some point. I do like showing things I've read that I've found worth engaging. Right now, these things are often article read in this class, though I'll often pull in other things I've found interesting, such as my last post where I brought in a great blog post from Scholarly Communications @ Duke. I imagine what I pass along will grow in breadth of both form and topic if I keep the blog going after this class. As for expressing opinions, well, I have them, I like using the blog for it (see my attack on Google Scholar or totally non-expert opinion on the White House OA policy), and I definitely would keep using the blog for it. So, big check mark here.

The "keeping up-to-date" function was that some of the bloggers would pay more attention to developments in and related to their field in order to have something to blog about. I'm an info addict, so I really don't need my blog to motivate me to read constantly. Though, for the few weeks I did The Best Things I was much better at keeping track of what I read. This fits well with Kjellberg's sub-function of the blog as a notebook. Also, if I ever did want to go back and see what I thought was so import that I had to blog about, it's all there. 

Many of the researchers blogged to practice their writing skills and work on articulating their ideas. I love blogging for this. I don't have the worse writing, but I also don't think it's great, nor do I feel I've really cultivated my own distinct writing style, so I really appreciate the practice. I can't say it has always improved my writing (I still overuse parentheses [PARENTHESES!]), but I appreciate the practice all the same.

Interaction and relationship-building are very entwined. I also don't see much of them happening with my blog. I don't get many comments. Most of them are Joe, who is forced to comment on my blog until this class is over, though there was that one time Walt Crawford dismantled a number of my presumptions about APCs. I also don't see many comments on library blogs that have many more followers than me, so I don't see a lot more interaction in the future. I can't say this blog has built any new relationships will others in the library world, though this could partially be because I'm terrible at promoting this thing. Still, having a blog really hasn't changed much in the two virtual places I make connections with other librarians: Twitter and ALA Think Tank.

I do think I'll keep my blog, in spite of the name I gave it and now find to be annoyingly twee. I get a lot out of it, and I think I could get a lot more the more I use it. Of course, I say all this, but it wouldn't be the first time I've flaked at keeping a blog going when not forced to...

Kjellberg, S. (2010). I am a blogging researcher: Motivations for blogging in a scholarly context. First Monday, 15(8). Retrieved from
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