Mark D. White
There seems to be a bit of discussion in the air about acacdemic blogging lately (and not just at the wonderful dinner I shared with Jonathan Wight last night at the ASSA conference!). In addition to the pieces I highlighted several days ago, I just found this post by my friend Dan Markel over at the always-interesting Prawfsblawg, titled "Why I Blog (as a Law Professor)." As Andrea Doucet did, Dan mentions the appeal and challenges of blogging vis-à-vis academic writing, and as is his wont, he casts blogging in the frame of civic responsibility:
Time, imprecision, and frustration are sometimes the costs of trying to make a piece of scholarship accessible to non-specialists. Still, that effort is often worth it, especially at Prawfs, where we have made efforts to ensure a relatively congenial community of commenters. After all, one of the best things about blogging as a medium is that it enables you to find new readers and interlocutors for your work and ideas. And as writers, you win your readers one by one by one. This point about community building seems especially salient in light of the fact that law professors live a largely monastic existence in their offices. Blogging helps as an antidote to that vocational loneliness. Finally, I think we are obligated to make some efforts to get our ideas out there. As scholars, we spend years trying to generate intellectual capital. We are paid to do so by virtue of the generosity of public legislatures and private tuition and donations. Accordingly, I think we owe our benefactors our efforts to disseminate our hard work beyond the typical and sometimes closed channels of distribution that we often rely upon.