Friday, September 5, 2014

blogophobia: have philosophy blogs helped or harmed our profession?

Brian Leiter conducted a poll last week asking whether blogs in the profession of philosophy have been more helpful than harmful.  Good friend Terry Blake from Agent Swarm blog offered his thoughts HERE.

I've written about this before, HERE.

One should also question how profitable (or risky) is it for graduate students to blog, versus someone protected by tenure or new to the job market.

I know of blogs written by poor philosophers who have unworthy amounts of influence in their areas of specialization or study, and yet other blogs who have fantastic authors and posts but who go unnoticed.  I, personally, have lost a good friend of many years due to blog politics and social media smearing (he simply took sides and sided with online cronies and bullies who badmouthed me and/or ignore me as some kind of punishment, despite my hard work in the field).  And I can't say that any alliances that I've built have led to any career "break-throughs" as some tout when it comes to social networking.

On the other hand, writing a blog gives me a voice that is hard for others to ignore.  Which is to say, whether others ignore me or not in my field is actually irrelevant when in fact I still have a presence - a presence that at least some folks (or at times even many folks) are listening to and using as a resource.  This is why bloggers who try to clutch "spots" have recently discounted blogs and instead began to focus on "books" or publications as the new and *only* alternative: simply an effort to exert more totalitarian control and extinguish competing voices that really ought to go unimpeded in a true democracy of scholarship or commentary.  True, rigorous scholarship shall always outdo the fast paced and less subtle nature of "bloggish" posts - but when all is said and done each has a specific role to play.  While less suitable for the rigor of argument (mainly due to how blogs are scanned rather than read), blogs nevertheless provide an environment where voices can be heard and where resources can be offered; voices and/or resources that the dictators of the speculative internet would love to see just "go away."  Like it or not, blogs are a democratic outlet and often report the truth.  So, in that sense, they can outmaneuver even the most politically minded editors of journals or book series.

A blog is a place for me to voice personal expression and communicate ideas.  It is a place (among others) where a process of individuation can take place.