Michael B.'s post on blogging

Doc Berube's (Paterno Professor of "All Things Literary and Bloggy" at Penn State) recent post lamenting the non-tenure of a poly-sci Assistant Professor at the University of Chicago (presumably because he blogs--although the evidence isn't easy to ascertain) got me thinking about why I blindly charge into this public arena.

To be honest, I don't really know. Michael Berube's blog is one of the most entertaining pieces of performance art I have seen in a long while. He textually jousts with David Horowitz (Doc B dances and cavorts around the paleolithic D.Ho., all the while cutting texuatl M.B.'s into D.Ho's arguments, much as Zorro carves his eponymous tri-slash into the clothes of his slow-witted opponents). Dr. Berube also fiinds a medium that combines his love of the working class (hockey) with his love of the erudite and elite (latin, literary theory, etc.) in a forum that allows a back and forth with dozens of people. He mixes that with his ostensible subject, Disability Studies (and I'm not meaning insult with the bracketing, because he does that with aplomb. He just does so much else well, it is hard to say that is his especial purpose). I know why Michael Berube blogs (and why others go there). What is less clear is why an obscure Scientific and Technical Communicator blogs with little feedback other than the occasional polite TC prof, wandering-eye student, or "Sir Spamalot" waiting in the comments section.

My main guess is that people who blog love three things: conversations, technology (in some form) and community. Maybe we are looking for the conversations that don't happen in our class or in our departments to occur out in cyberspace. After all, universities are much like any other company--everyone has to hold their breath a bit and make sure that they don't put themselves out there too much in any work situation. I had to do this when I was a Wendy's fry cook, a theater bouncer, a football player, a tennis team captain, a tutor, a registrar intake secretary ("bullet sponge"), a T.A., a technical writer, and now as a professor. I think this is our chance to share our thoughts with a larger, lurking public (perhaps not like "Mr. 1.8 Million Hits Berube," but better than sharing with just those who see us as a door to bigger things). Blogging is a nice way to organize our thoughts, and to make visible the creative and destructive process that writing embodies.

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