Monday, November 28, 2005
Blogging as Thought Process

I've been getting a few emails recently from people who have been reading my thesis, and have had questions about it. However, I got a very interesting email the other day that wasn't directly about my work. It was in fact about this very blog.

As you may (or may not) be aware, this isn't really a personal blog. It is about my work on blogs, I've reported how my PhD has been going, discussed associated thoughts. Essentially, the avid blog reader who emailed wondered how much, if at all, keeping this blog helped me prosper academically. I may, or may not have discussed this before, but it felt right to do it again.

The media reports on academics using blogs as places to put down their ideas, discuss their work, keep written notes. This I have pretty much done. And I think it has helped. I'm not the sort of person who generally gets round to writing down all the smart ideas I have. But with this blog, I have tried, on occasion, to do so. Having to write down a thought coherently is an excellent way of solidifying the idea within. Having to explain something to someone else is always the best way of making sure you understand it. You spend more time thinking and considering a point that may have normally been dismissed to the dark corners of your mind. Blogging is after all thinking with one's fingers.

Blogging can also foster discussion and communication. If a reader has a similar idea but, say, comes at it from a different view point, they can leave a comment to say as much. This may give the original author further ideas and lead to the progression of research. This is of course what conferences and symposia are all about, meeting like minded individuals and further your thinking. Blogs and on-line communities are a new way of doing this and participating can be of great benefit.

Saying that however, it must surely be apparent from the distinct lack of comments throughout the history of my blog, that there tends not to be much discussion around these parts. So, if I'm not getting the benefits of writing on-line and publishing my thoughts, why bother? Surely by just writing a private journal I could still excise my thoughts and exercise my mind? However, I have never been good at keeping a diary, and sometimes I'm not even that great with the blog. However, the fact that it IS on-line, and there ARE people reading it, is the motivation to continue. Because I know there are people reading, and I haven't posted for a little while, I know I must post, and
invariably I do.

So, in conclusion, to sum up, I think what I am trying to say is that blogging has been a good thing for me to do, and it is its own motivation. I think. Any thoughts...?

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