Wednesday, September 02, 2009

Blogging Two Years Later

In June 2007 I wrote a blog post titled "Why Don't We Blog? University Faculty Blogging about Travel & Tourism". So two years later I took a look back at that blog post, and to my surprise there were 36 comments! That was strange, because I do not remember receiving any notices to moderate that many comments on any of my blog posts. A quick scan showed that there were three legitimate comments, posted soon after I wrote the blog entry, and 33 spam comments. Yikes! – I had not turned on the comments moderation, nor even the word verification, so any robo-computer could post a comment to not only this blog post, but to any other post on my Tourism Place blog.

So now I need to go through all my posts to find and delete the junk comments. Bummer!

I started blogging in 2005 and got quickly hooked on this form of self-publishing and self-expression. I have always fashioned myself as having strong non-hierarchical and egalitarian values, and even though I too play the academic publishing game, I really resent the haves (book writers) and have-nots (book users) that are created in that process. I also do not like the high cost of poorly written textbooks and the sometimes political nature of the academic review process. And I loved the opportunities for self-expression that blogging enabled.

So blogging, which allowed me to write and publish online whatever I wanted, was an incredibly liberating experience. I loved it and started several blogs, and a couple of related podcasts. But I did not see many other academics blogging, especially in the tourism and geography fields that I found of interest. So I sent a query to several tourism email lists and compiled the result in my "Why Don't We Blog?" post.

By 2009, however, my own blogging has fallen off considerably – though I still do blog. I have heard that blogging growth, in general, has flattened out, though micro-blogging on Twitter (@alew) and Facebook has taken off and continues to grow. This has happened to me, as well. I mostly moved from my long blog posts to micro-blogging on Twitter (which is then automatically forwarded to Facebook). 140 character messages are a lot less time-consuming to write than 140 to 1400 word blog posts. I guess have gotten lazy.

I stopped podcasting at the end of last semester, though I hope to start up again soon (once I get over some technical difficulties). I still blog – occasionally – when I feel an urge to write more than 140 characters. Most of these either go on my "Tourism Place" blog (anything related to tourism) or my "Outside Looking In" blog (most anything else that I want to talk/rant about).

And, of course, I still have my academic articles and books, which I also enjoy writing – when I have time, which is not very often. So, perhaps what micro-blogging and blogging do for me is to allow the writing fluids to have an outlet during the school year when I am mostly consumed by teaching, which is what I should be doing now … instead of deleting spam comments on two-year old blog posts!