Monday, February 07, 2005

Thoughts about not blogging

I was interested to read Rubén Gómez's remarks in Bible Software Review Weblog lamenting his recent difficulties in getting time to blog,

It's Been Quiet Lately

Rubén comments that contrary to popular opinion, blogging is indeed time consuming. He is right, but happily he chose not to close down the blog due to struggling to find time to blog. I can sympathise with the situation. I really enjoy blogging, but sometimes work pressures are so great that I can't find even five minutes away from marking, teaching, teaching preparation, admin. internal and external. In fact last week there was almost a whole week during which I was unable to blog once (Friday 28 January to Wednesday 2 February), something that is so unusual for this blog that people began to ask where I'd got to and how I was. So, prompted by Rubén's post, here are a few reflections on my own current thinking about blogging -- or, more accurately, about not blogging and why it does not matter:

(1) The age of RSS feeds, aggregators, live bookmarks, bloglines and the rest makes it a cinch to catch up with a blog the second that it publishes something, so it is not as if several days worth of absence is going to turn anyone off a given blog. To speak for myself, if a blog doesn't have a feed, I only visit very rarely.

(2) The ever increasing number of biblioblogs has had the happy effect of taking the pressure off the existing biblioblogs. For me, it has meant that it is regularly the case that someone else has beaten me to mentioning something, and unless I have a specific comment I wish to make about that thing, I can leave it. Moreover, it has meant that each biblioblog is increasingly developing its own niche, its own particular emphasis, and that's something I enjoy too.

(3) Blogging is fun. Whenever blogging stops being fun, I stop doing it. It's a voluntary activity; I don't have to do it. None of my colleagues do. Most of them don't even know what a blog is. My blog should never screw up my life.

(4) Avoiding the attempt to be exhaustive. I realised early on that I could not blog on everything I would like to blog on. This is a tough realisation for academic bloggers, I think, because academics are prone to perfectionism, and techo-academics are often obsessive. I know I have that streak. I've had to learn to let things go when the time passes and I've still not found the time to blog on a theme I want to blog on. I had a post on Geza Vermes on the Nativity Story in my pending tray for an age, and eventually abandoned it. Likewise the unfinished discussion on "How to Present a Scholarly Paper" (with Buffy in Paleojudaica and Steve Martin in Ralph staring at me each day), to say nothing of the interesting threads on What did Jesus look like?. On occasions like this, blogging is a conversation and one has to acknowledge that the conversation sometimes moves on and other topics come up. When that happens in real life, it's a bit creepy to chip in with something everyone had finished talking about a couple of hours earlier on.

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