In 2014 I had a look back at two years of blogging to see whether there was a tension between slow scholarship and fast blogging : that is, does the blog medium tempt scholars into the publication of immature work and hastily formed opinions? I concluded not, but more than two years on, has that changed? Of the seventy posts I’ve published since then, are there any I wished I had shelved?
As usual, there were several posts which were the republications of book reviews and other pieces from elsewhere, and various pieces in the way of reportage: new books from others, exhibitions and so on. There were also a good deal of posts in the way of advertising: new articles appearing, abstracts of forthcoming ones, and so on. But there were some twenty-five pieces which were more discursive in character: essays on everything from social media archiving to clergy in fiction, from user requirements for web archives, to the purpose of religious history. I also broke the habit of a lifetime and wrote an explicitly political piece on the EU referendum, the kind of writing I usually keep for another blog. And by and large, my impression of these remains as it was in 2014, even thought the subject matter has varied. As I concluded then:
There are areas in which my thinking has deepened since the first time I posted about them. But (crucially) that growth in thought has not been away from the initial post, but deeper and wider in the same soil. This is indeed what one would hope would happen – the act of first essaying something here is the stimulus to further thought …. I don’t think there are any posts here which I now wish were not here, and not in the archived version in the UK Web Archive. From the evidence of this blog, at least, there is no contradiction between slow scholarship and fast blogging.
I guess it depends partly on how and why you blog. I like to
(a) use the blog as a notebook
(b) use it to try out ideas
(c) use it to share things that won’t fit into a tweet.
I have had useful feedback on blog posts and sometimes this has led to developing research projects.