Saturday, March 15, 2008

Advice to a novice blogger

What would be your main blogging advice to a novice blogger?

The blogosphere is a province of the commonwealth of letters. What happens there - flame-wars, fiskings, 'the lurkers support me in email', emotional involvement with strangers' literary personas - is what happens whenever lots of people communicate with each other in print. So the rules are the same, too: either write about things that matter to you, and try not to care too much about whether or how you're being read; or else push your audience's buttons relentlessly, and ingratiate yourself with whoever happens to be a taste-maker at the moment.

That's from this Q&A with Cosma Shalizi, one of my favorite bloggers, over at Norman Geras's blog. The Q&A covers a lot more than just blogging, but let me stick to this topic here. So, what else does Cosma have to say about blogs? First, its usefulness:

What has been your best blogging experience?

Getting my job! That's an exaggeration, but not a complete one; when my last post-doc was ending, I put up a post mentioning that I was going on the job market. One of the senior faculty in my present department and I had been reading each other's blogs for a while before that, and when he saw my post he encouraged me to apply here, which I wouldn't have done otherwise.

But there are also these words of caution ...

What, if anything, do you worry about?

Being too lazy, too procrastinatory, or too preoccupied with blogging and committees to do significant scientific work [...]


  1. gaddeswarup said...

    This is probably not very relevant. I remember reading somewhere that Cosma has some Indian lineage (may be his personal page); his father is half Tamil and half Afghan. In any case, he is very impressive though I did not like one of his Iraq pieces. It is possible that I misunderstood the intent of the piece.

  2. Anonymous said...

    hey are my favorite keep up the posting frequency!