Wednesday, June 26, 2013

The joy of failed predictions

So with reference to my previous post, here is the interview question that made me smile when I re-read it.  The interviewer is Jim West, and the interview dates from December 2005:
BB: Who, among academics, would you like to see blogging who isn’t now?
MG: One of the glories of the blogosphere is its surprise nature. You can be really pleasantly surprised by who turns out to be a great and interesting blogger. On the whole the bloggers are all from the margins still, younger scholars, independent scholars, graduate students. To take the country I know best, the UK, for example, I know of no blog belonging to anyone with a chair. In that scene, I’d love to see Richard Bauckham, Larry Hurtado, Philip Esler, Francis Watson, Maurice Casey, Christopher Rowland, Judith Lieu, Jimmy Dunn, John Barclay, and all the rest of the top brass blogging, but you and I know that that is never going to happen. So my basic answer is that I would like to see more of the top brass blogging, but I really doubt that it is going to happen. In the USA, I would have the same doubts about the top brass too. One recently retired, world famous NT scholar told me that he had never even knowingly visited a website. Many scholars, even now, have not even heard of blogs and blogging, and some who have have no idea that there are blogs in the Biblical Studies area. (Emphasis added).
I love my certainty about something that turned out to be wrong.  Not only does Larry Hurtado now have a well-loved and popular blog, but several others that I mentioned have also been involved with the blogs, including Richard Bauckham and Francis Watson.  And here in the USA, I never would have imagined that Bart Ehrman would end up blogging, albeit behind a paywall.

Now that we have some of the top brass blogging, it does make Jim's 2005 question worth asking again.  Who would we like to see blogging who isn't now?

Update (11.49am):  Still looking through, I am impressed by Jim Davila's answer to a similar question, a month later, in January 2006, just after his revelation about The Waltons:
BB: What do you see blogs becoming in the future?
JD: In the short run, I think that blogs will become ever easier to use and more and more common. I hope many more of our colleagues in biblical studies and related fields will start blogs. The long run is harder to predict, because our technological base is improving exponentially and it’s hard to tell what new resources it’s going to offer us. In general, as I’ve said before in my SBL Forum article and again my recent SBL paper in Philadelphia, I think that blogging is “an early and primitive manifestation of what will become the ubiquitous media presence of the individual.” In other words, over the long term we will all become more and more connected together through the far more sophisticated offspring of what we now call the Internet, and our connections to it and to each other will be less and less obtrusive and more and more natural and taken for granted. Big Media (what bloggers call, often disparagingly, “mainstream media”) will still have an important place, but it will become more and more interactive. Two-way communication between it and individuals and groups — all of whom ultimately will occupy the same, um, medium — will make Big Media much more readily and swiftly self-correcting than it is today and will present us with a media continuum with Big Media at one end and the individual on the other and every imaginable permutation of group-size in between.
That’s my guess, anyway.
I particularly love "I think that blogging is 'an early and primitive manifestation of what will become the ubiquitous media presence of the individual.'"


Jeff said...

The question to consider now is: What NT scholars would we like to see tweeting?

Jeff said...

The question to consider now is: What NT scholars would we like to see tweeting?

Anthony Le Donne said...

Really fun post Mark.


Richard Fellows said...

I think you were doubly wrong, Mark. since the blogging of the "top brass" that you mentioned has not met the high expectations that you had. Their blog posts are, for me, no more (or less) opinion-changing or thought-provoking than those of many other bloggers. I really wonder whether the blogs of these "top brass" would be popular if their authors were not famous.