I gave a presentation on blogging, podcasting and RSS feeds on Friday and it gave me the chance to reflect a bit about blogging. The night before, I had attended the unveiling of the impressive lobby display and video our daughter’s class produced after their 8th grade field ecology trip to Sapelo Island, the Okefenokee Swamp and the Smoky Mountains (see details from prior years here). At the entrance of the school is a quote from its former director, Jan Phillips, that has grown more meaningful and profound to me each time I read it:
“The reflection on an educational experience is often as valuable to learning as the experience itself.”
During the presentation, I was asked a question that made me think about the amount of work it takes to sustain a blog. As I like to say, the difficult aspect of blogging is not the time commitment, but the “everydayness” of blogging.
Over the time I’ve been blogging, I’ve noticed a certain ebb and flow to my posting, an almost cyclical pattern of feast and fallow periods. In my case, that reflects a common alternating pattern of taking in information, followed by a period of expressing information. Learning, then writing.
Lately, I’ve been in an intake period. If you count the number of posts over the last few weeks, you’ll see that.
When you live in your newsreader as much as I do, it’s intriguing to see how the RSS feeds you subscribe to bring you the insights you need on a regular basis.
Since I gave the presentation, I read two posts that gave my insights into the “everydayness” and work involved in blogging and, in the process, insight into what blogging is about, at least to me.
First, Evelyn Rodriguez, in a post called “All Good Things Come to An End, or Shift Happens,” touched on the notion of “blog fatigue” and quoted Hugh McLeod who said:
“I usually come down with a heavy dose of blog fatigue every couple of months or so. It usually lasts a week or two. I think it’s normal.”
Evelyn’s post intrigued me because I have been a regular reader of her blog for a long time, and recently I noticed that it did not seem as compelling to me as it once had and that distressed me a bit. I was looking for the old magic.
She says in this post: “Anyway, I’m back. Yep the blog was up for grabs in the mass clearing too. This blog started after nearly two years of deliberation (er, hemming and hawing) since I knew it’d be pretty much a second job. (And I was right, it is.) But it also was the outcome of true inspiration, which when I mine that space, those nuggets always outlast any and all of my ideas du jour.”
Yes, she is back. The notion of knowing that a blog would be “pretty much a second job” and the importance of being in a space of inspiration resonated with me.
Then, this morning, I read a post from another blog I really enjoy, Slaves of Academe, called “My Blogging Workbook.” If you have been blogging for an extended period of time, you must read this post. In fact, as soon as I read it, I sent the link to my friends at the Between Lawyers blog with an exhortation for them all to read it. You should read it all to get the full effect, but at least read the last few paragraphs.
In the post, the pseudonymous Oso Raro reflects (there’s that word again) on blogging, the work it requires and its impact. I like how she describes blogging as a subjective art that requires both community and freedom of expression, with the thrill of blogging coming from the “performative aspect.”
As you read the post, and you really must, you’ll find insight after insight into this blogging thing and then, there it is again, you run into a paragraph on “blog fatigue.”
In this respect, she says:
[U]nlike the widespread notion of blogging, it is in fact work to maintain a blog. You must have an idea, execute it somehow, with an eye towards communication and community. This, on top of everything happening in one’s personal life, can be a struggle.
Oso writes about academic blogging, but the insights apply to lawyer blogging or blogging in general. Substitute “legal” for “academic into the following quote:
But this returns us to the communitas at the root of most academic blogging. We reach out to build community, to build bridges, to (only!) connect, in ways that are generally not approved in our home (real time) professional communities. Which of course is why blogging remains on some integral level both a) transgressive, and b) dangerous.
Hmm, no wonder that I think the discussion on blogs solely as forms of legal marketing or advertising is misplaced.
The money quote (and the point of this post) – once again substitute “legal” (or the name of your own field) for “academic”:
Blogging, and the online communities we exist within, and the work (yes real intellectual work) that we are producing are the future. It may not be the only future, or keep its current form and shape, but it is where we will all end up one day. And in that sense, academic bloggers are truly transgressing, carving out new ground and territory for what will, sooner rather than later, be the space of the profession.
But, as we know only so well, no good deed goes unpunished.
Reflection is a valuable thing, and it is a joy to be part of a blogging community with Evelyn and Oso to help me reflect and see more clearly. It makes the everydayness of blogging oh so bearable.
[Originally posted on DennisKennedy.Blog (http://www.denniskennedy.com/blog/)]
Like what you are reading? Check out the other blogs where I post – Between Lawyers (feed) and the LexThink Blog (feed).
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