Welcome to blog 2.0!
If you’ve been reading for a while, then you might remember that I tried this move once before, and quickly went back to my old space at Blogger because I found that having the blog on the same page that I was using to present my academic face made me much more cautious about the shorter, sillier posts that I was writing occasionally at the time; it’s not that I was trying to hide my academic-blogging persona — I have always blogged under my own name, after all — just that I felt that it was a bit separate from my academic work and maybe not the first thing I would want someone to see as they sat down to read one of my articles.
So why try it again? This time, I’m rather ready to give up those shorter, wonder-at-the-weird-academic-world, quick-off-the-cuff-takes posts. Partly it’s because I’ve (thankfully!) matured in my thinking and writing since I started blogging four years ago. There are posts I’m still proud of, but others that seem out of step. Partly the change is because I’ve gotten more refined in how to use the different forms of social media each to its own best effect: Now that I have more and more academic colleagues as Facebook friends, a radical change from my old policy of no-colleagues-as-FB-friends, I’m figuring out how to use that space for the quick notes. (Although since I’ve just decided to take an extended break from Facebook for now, I’m happy to chalk most of it up to maturity.) I’m trying blogging over here again because I’m ready for all of my informal writing to be the kind of thing I’m happy for people to see right next to my formal academic writing. Sometimes I think that in making this decision I’m losing something — a sense of wonder, I fear, in my moments of doubt about this — really it’s more like moving beyond it.
I still find the genre and venue questions to be vexing ones: two articles that I might have assumed would have never found a place in an academic journal, exactly the sort of thing that I might have given up trying to publish “properly” and just written as longish essays in this reimagined blogging space, have recently appeared in print in that sine qua non gold standard of the academy: the peer-reviewed journal. (And if you’ll permit me a moment of total, shameless self-promotion, one of them even won an award.) I’m getting to a point, though, where I don’t feel so stymied by those questions of procedure that I can’t really answer well. I’m getting to the point where, one way or another, I can stop caring so much about what counts in some ill-defined professional calculus. I’ll still keep writing and publishing academic work, of course, but this will also be a good home base for branching out.
Realistically, I don’t expect that I will be able to do much of the kind of writing that I want to over the next six months as I finish up working on my book. So expect things to be slow here through the end of the year, though by no means ground to a halt. After that, I’ll still be writing posts on a mix of topics, but they’ll be longer and more essayistic, and as much about what I’m working on as about how I’m working.