One of my New Year's Resolutions for this blog was that I wouldn't blog about blogging. But I suppose those things are usually violated by late February, and so here I go. I don't want to rehearse all the exchanges that Rice's IHE piece has produced, but I do want to second Jenny's and Spencer's points in response to some of the kicked up discourse that blogs--nay, even one 'single' blog--need not exist for some monolithic purpose. In the end really no one said they should or do, but given how the discussions have gone, there have been strong intimations, and so it's worth pointing out any old way.
I also want to pick up on Jenny's point about blogging to write: this has been one of the most surprising things to me since I started posting on this site a few months ago. Gale Walden, a writer who works in my department, contacted me recently about a piece she's working on which takes up the question of why academics blog. After posing the question to me on email, she wrote parenthetically "(Given the amount of writing the profession requires anyway.)"
Walden's is a fair and common assumption, one I totally shared when I started blogos, and the reason that another of my resolutions was that I couldn't make any promises for how much I can blog when my normal teaching load resumes in the fall. But I discovered that varying the kinds of writing I do--going beyond article, book, letter, and email writing--actually simply expands the amount of writing rather than squeezing out the others. In other words, as I put it to Gale, writing is not necessarily zero-sum. I talked about how blogging has become a 'warmup' or 'cool down' from academic, 'worky' writing. How it offers a way to quickly respond to or ruminate on what's going on in the world, no matter how broadly or narrowly defined that 'world' might be. And how, for those who still don't believe, it can take surprisingly little time to craft an entry anyway. None of this is news to the blogging community, but I did want to post it, since a lot of people who zip across this site don't necessarily have blogs themselves. (In fact, an ever increasing number of hits at blogos seems to be from those looking for news about Vivi--the whippet that escaped at JFK--but that's an entry for another time.)