Out of the Zuckersphere, (back) into the Blogosphere

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I haven’t been blogging lately, not for quite some time actually, and I’m not sure why. Actually, that’s not true. I have a new suspicion thanks to a recent FB post from Jacob Garbe and subsequent comment by John Murray (sorry, I can’t link to it). It has to do with changes in my Internet habits — habits that have changed without me realizing. Perhaps this has happened to you as well. And the chief cause seems to have been Facebook.

(Yes, Mr. Z, you win this round.)

But the problem with living your life on FB and Twitter is that while clever posts and link-sharing can gain you Klout and followers, it doesn’t accrue, not to mention it’s not publicly accessible, and while the well-liked post feels good in the moment, it affirms rather than builds community.

So, now I’m looking to move back into the Blogosphere. Yep, the old, dusty Web 2.0 blogspotty blogosphere, that wild and wily webspace where it’s all about the backlink and the blogroll rather than the friend, the favorite, and the RT.

Why? Hmm. I guess I’d say professional differences. Not that I disagree with how that other Mark runs his site, or that I don’t still Like the Likes (though the emoji are still throwing me). I just think it’s time to bring some writing out of the walled garden of my family and friends — and back into the deep space of WordPress. (See, here’s the fear that I suspect sends people back into FB) It is scary out where posts can go out into the universe without ever being seen by anyone but bots.

But heck, I kinda like bots. :) (: And shouldn’t our research be available in a searchable archive?

But maybe I’m just hearkening back to a bygone moment. See, I remember when we used to fire up our feedreader, like Bloglines or Google Reader, in Netscape Navigator, and scan through the posts of the great blogs Grand Text Auto or Virtual Politik, blogs where rising scholars established themselves while creating sites of rich discourse and exploration. I remember when I met Christy Dena, who would later agree to blog with me and Jeremy Douglass, in the basement of a comment thread about bots that the original posters had long since forgotten. I remember when blogs offered a space where people gathered, long before the platishers of Medium and Buzzfeed reduced us to unpaid contributors. Well, some get paid.

Not that I have any illusions about my blogging for Google on Blogspot. It’s a question of where you put your content and what your Internet scholarly practice happens. You don’t really have to choose just one site, as Jill Walker Rettberg has shown us with her posts on her blog and Medium and elsewhere. But notice how she continues to use her blog as a primary site of research posts. I’ve noticed. (And she did literally write the book about Blogging.)

And I’ve also been inspired by my students and the blogs they keep all semester long. (Yep, still blogging in a writing class.) I’m inspired by those who have continued to blog, like Emily Short and her continuous stream of fabulous posts.

I want to move back to blogs and encourage others, especially young academics, to do it as well. I can still think of no more productive way to think and develop ideas with others in public, contributing to a larger *searchable* discussion while establishing your reputation and finding your way toward your most interesting thoughts. Sure, you’ll post things you (should) later forget, but the blogosphere in my experience is fairly forgiving of the one-off post.

So I’m starting a new blog: Elit 4 Kids. And I’m going to use this space NOT JUST FOR SELFIE PROMOTION — but also for writing, reflection, and good ole fashioned ranting! And of course posting gifs! Let’s see what happens. And If this post is my last one, well, then, I’ll see you on FB.