Alexander Halavais provides some wonderful insights that I’d like to dig deeper into on scholarly blogging in his article in chapter 11 of Uses of Blogs. This article is about the move toward the visible college. This means that before research was done in a more closed environment such as the coffee shop or opinion pages in the newspapers. Here you have a select group of peers you work with and bounce ideas off of, or show your ideas off to the public sphere and hope for the best. Blogs open up a social network that will help researches become more visible in their projects. Like earlier in the semester, you don’t know who might have the ‘missing piece’ that will turn an idea into a successful project.
There are four themes that are usually found in avid blogs that Halavais points out:
- rely on networked audience
- encourages conversation
- less barriers of time and entry
- transparent view of thinking in progress
This is what scholars are all about when they meet to bounce ideas off of each other in their research, like at a coffee-house, but exemplifies it steps further. Theres a wider range of audience than just their peers. More people can comment on the material whether it’s peers or the public, both can provide views that weren’t seen before. Instead of fitting time into each others schedule to meet and chit-chat, anyone can find time to read a post and comment thus compiling ideas that might never have connected before. Also, as one writes a post their thinking process is displayed for all to see. Wondering how they came up with an idea? Well you can follow their train of thoughts as they write them out on a specific topic.
It’s all about externalizing thought and hoping to further along ideas by collaboration.
Another topic I found interesting by Halavais is how a number of scholarly bloggers actually come from fields directly related to the public policy such as law, economics, and political science. This makes sense because in order to help the public you first need to get them informed about whats going on and by compiling opinions and ideas, one can get a better sense of how the public feels about those policies, and make decisions on what direction to go in or further ideas or angles that weren’t thought of before. Along with reaching peers who can provide a stronger exchange and review of certain research.
A danger Halavais brings up is that too often work and home interconnect which can make the professional too personal and then discreditable and thus institutes aren’t ready to jump into the blogging practises. But as Halavais points out that blogs provide
“A space for the exuberant debate of ideas, for connecting scholarship to the outside world, which we havent had for a long while”
In short, blogging provides scholarly communication with a wider audience of peers that haven’t been reached before.