Only Typing? Informal Writing, Blogging, and the Academy

Part of the seventh chapter of Dougherty’s and Nawrotzki’s book, Writing History in the Digital Age, is an essay by Alex Sayf Cummings and Jonathan Jarrett about blogging in the academic world.

Social media, such as WordPress, Wikipedia or Twitter, are all part of the Web 2.0, i.e. the interactive Internet. They are so ubiquitous that it is difficult to imagine our ‘personal’ world without them. But, how well do they mesh with the ‘professional’ world? Cummings and Jarrett explore in ‘Only Typing? Informal Writing, Blogging, and the Academy’ why and how blogging can be used effectively, even if they disagree on its use in scholarship.

Their main concern is – as mentioned by many of the other contributors to the book as well – credibility. The Internet is all about speed, but that does not apply to the carefully researched and cited articles that are normally published in journals. Should academics be open to the alternative of blogging? The time it takes to get an article peer-reviewed and published could be drastically decreased, if the chain of responsibility can be guaranteed – which may be difficult to prove. Jarrett does not consider blogging having a part in scholarship, even if he concedes it a role of generating or containing scholarship. Whereas Cummings believes that it could complement publications, since it allows a wider audience to engage with a topic.

Personally, I believe we should not abolish journals, just because they are more expensive and take more time to reach a small audience; but I still hope that Cummings idea will be implemented, at least in some form; however, only time will tell, who of them was right.


About AMK @ Ryerson

In the past, I was the experienced IT admin and troubleshooter, but the new me is going to be a creative analyst for sustainable solutions (maybe!).
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1 Response to Only Typing? Informal Writing, Blogging, and the Academy

  1. bronwynmarie says:

    I think as historians, credibility is absolutely essential to our study. I personally cannot tell whether I have a problem with blogging simply because we have always been told by professors that it is not an academic source, becuause is a new form of writing or simply because its so easy to type something, post it, and call it true. Either way I don’t think it will ever have a strong foothold in the world of scholarship. I think the speed of blogging is an interesting point with regards to scholarship. I find that when searching online, thousands of answers pop up, with only few worth the read. Why? Because blogging is short and sweet and quickly posted whereas academic journals take time. Blogging can be a hobby where as publishing academic journals can be an occupation. It requires a full time commitment in research and comparison, editing and publishing, where as blogging can simply be done on an iphone. Blogs are a soundbite of opinionated, diluted information while journals hold the title of trust in its information and the guarentee of responsibility. While journals do cost money, there is that old saying that knowledge is power, so why not charge money for trusted information? We already pay tuition.

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