Blogging is networking

Two years ago, I asked whether academic blogging was still relevant. At the time, two famous bloggers had stopped (Sébastien Paquet and Stephen Downes). Evidently, I kept on blogging. I even took up microblogging.

Let me revisit some of the benefits.

  • Bloggers are more visible. This blog has over 900 readers. Some are students, others are engineers, teachers, entrepreneurs, researchers or professors.
  • Blogging is good for knowledge management: leaving a trace of your thoughts is always a good idea. You are also forced to flush out your ideas and you get immediate feedback.

However, reading Daniel Tunkelang today, I realized that the most important benefit is the networking effect. A blog without a social network is nothing. Nobody wants to read a list of random thoughts. What makes blogging rewarding for me are the comments and the link I receive. But I enjoy even more reading others and commenting elsewhere.

In effect, good blogging makes you part of a rich and open community. That is very valuable.

8 thoughts on “Blogging is networking”

  1. “A blog without a social network is nothing”

    Couldn’t agree more… aggregating blogs through planets (planetplanet.org), makes things more interesting!
    Has somebody put together a planet for academic blogs – that’ll surely be a lot of help!

  2. I concur. Blogging is a rewarding activity, both in terms of networking as well as in terms of improving the “reputation capital” of the blogger as Daniel Tunkelang nicely puts it.

    On the other hand, the efforts of the bloggers are also very valuable to other third-parties- e.g. for products branding – as I mentioned in my blog post earlier.

    Anyway, I have just increased your links capital, by making a few links to some of your posts. 🙂

  3. Hi there. I just stumbled upon another post on your blog while looking for tips for writing the abstract to my Masters thesis, which I have just finished.

    I did a qualitative study of blogging, and my strongest finding is: blogging is a form of community!

    There is some kind of weird mojo that I could stumble upon a blog post that echos what I’ve just written 65 pages about. 🙂

  4. @Anders

    Most magazine and journal articles are better researched, better written than blog posts… so why read inferior material? Why do I still bother with my blog when I could get (potentially) more lasting readership, prestige and money by writing books and research articles?

    The short answer is that I want to connect with others at a personal level. Research articles and magazines do not allow it. Blogging is engaging because it allows me integrate an informal social network…

    I totally agree that comments add a lot of value to blogs, but saying that people can’t write good articles without them is somewhat rude.

    I actually did not even think about the comments when I wrote the term “social network”. Some very well connected bloggers do not even accept comments on their blogs!

    Compare this to an article in a printed magazine. Does the quality of the article get worse by the fact that you can’t read other people’s thoughts on it directly? Or how about a book?

    I read and publish research articles. It is sometimes a very satisfying experience. But there is more to life.

    Some of my colleagues go to conferences all the time, where they connect with others. I found that I prefer blogging for this purpose.

  5. “A blog without a social network is nothing. Nobody wants to read a list of random thoughts.”

    I think this is a very harsh statement. I totally agree that comments add a lot of value to blogs, but saying that people can’t write good articles without them is somewhat rude. I guess it depends on what you are writing about and why you are doing it in the first place, but if someone delivers quality content that I find useful, I will read it regardless of how many comments it has, or doesn’t have. If the post is bad I probably won’t bother to read the comments anyway. The fact that a lot of people read something does not make it good.

    Compare this to an article in a printed magazine. Does the quality of the article get worse by the fact that you can’t read other people’s thoughts on it directly? Or how about a book? Comments add value, but I disagree that not having them reduces value.

    Of course, having a lot of “friends” in the blogsphere will help you get new readers and expose your thoughts and ideas to a wider audience, but if you write about things people want to read about, and your material has decent quality, people will hopefully find it anyway. Personally I prefer feedback from people who read what I write because they are interested in the topic and not because they know me or because I linked to their blog.

    For example, I don’t know you, but what you wrote did interest me enough to make me think about it and take the time to write a reply.

  6. I think it’s great that you put in the time and effort to share your thoughts, ideas and knowledge via blogging. If people are able to write articles good enough to be accepted for publication in scientific journals they are probably also able to produce blog posts with higher than average quality, which I think is a great benefit for readers who are not part of the “academic world”.

    Blogs make the material accessible to more people–and the quality can be high even if the form is informal–so I think academic blogging is a good thing, with our without a social network to go with it.

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