Updated: Jul 16, 2019
Thirteen years ago I created a blog (oohlah.blogspot.com) that intended to talk about philosophical topics, ranging from metaphysics and epistemology, and general concerns about personal/professional life, particularly work-life balance and academic freedom. That blog was opened at a time when the blogging community in philosophy was far more widespread than it is today. It seemed that every philosopher had a blog or, at least, contributed to one. Only a few blogs from the early days have remained in constant operation. ripe with talent, attending to nearly every philosophical topic and professional concern. Perhaps we were then a bit more naïve about philosophy and our place in the profession than we are now.
Our focus was on spreading the word about some philosophical topic of interest, and what became of the posts was something admirable: an open dialogue among members of the profession with overlapping interests. There was an emphasis on a creative spirit without an expectation that our blog posts would be judged as if we had just submitted it for consideration to be published in a future issue of Mind. That creative era ended round about 2007. To my mind, that's unfortunate. Too many good things becaome of work we distributed widely without reprisal. In my own case, I firmly believe that I earned my first visiting position because of the relationship I had cultivated with other bloggers.
I quit blogging for three reasons. (1) I had been mischaracterised (read that as "slandered") by a fellow blogger on a popular (read that as "notorious") blog, (2) I tired of the advertisements appearing unannounced along with my posts, and (3) I succumbed to the realisation that blogging had consumed my writing time taking me away from writing my dissertation and applying for permanent jobs. Since then, I have finished my dissertation and landed a permanent position. Thus, ridding me of (3). Owning my personal website rid me of (2). And I think my being mischaracterised on that prominent blog never really harmed me to begin with, so off with (1). Therefore, there seems no reason against starting to blog again.
That I quit blogging doesn't mean that I quit writing. On the contrary, I tend to write daily. While it may have appeared to some people that my writing suffered by quitting blogging, I believed it to have flourished. On average, I write between 200-1000 words per day and, following a week of editing, usually about 5000-7500 words accumulated is good enough for further development. Much of my writing is dedicated to my own research interests, but some of it is geared to issues in popular media, especially issues concerning higher education.
Personal Views on Blogging
This blog on my personal website is a window to my research and teaching interests. I spend my time thinking and writing about matters concerning the nature of action, self and truth, as well as scholarship of teaching and learning. Thus, the aim of this blog is to provide the reader with a sense of what I'm working on at the moment.
Because of this, one shouldn't expect what I write here to be as polished as one might expect from a journal article or book chapter; rather, one should anticipate that the writing is a little half-baked and arguments underdeveloped. Colleagues have expressed disdain at this because blogs are publicly available. Anything publicly available ought to reflect the highest quality work. Therefore, we should expect posts to be as polished as a final version of an article.
No doubt colleagues have it at least partly correct when the person claims that anything viewed on the blog is publicly available. The problem with this reasoning, however, is that I see a blog as a means of expressing oneself and getting a sense of where one stands on items the person would like to see in print. Blog posts are terse writings much like what one would expect from one's own notebooks or journal entries, and they ought not be considered writings like journal articles or book chapters. If blogs are a conduit to publishing material, then we shouldn't expect a post to be the final word on any item. Judging negatively (or positively) a person because of what is written on a blog is similar to judging the quality of an author's writings based strictly upon what the author wrote in a journal entry or notebook.