My enthusiasm for certain innovations notwithstanding, I’m not what you would call an “early adopter.” I bought an iPod Touch approximately two weeks before the iPad rendered it obsolete, and I still don’t own an iPhone. (When I renewed my T-Mobile contract recently and picked out the cheapest non-smart phone possible, my salesperson looked at me like I’d just opted for a telegraph.) For that matter, I didn’t get my first cell phone until 2002 or so — when starting a blog might have seemed new and exciting.
So adding my voice to the blogosphere at this point in the early 21st century has made me think once or twice of this late 20th century anthem:
But hey, better late than never.
Here’s what I hope to accomplish:
1. To get feedback and start some conversations. More than anything, what sold me on academic blogging was reading from fellow historians who have found their blogs well-suited to sharing research findings or teaching methods that might not be ready for peer review but still find an interested audience eager to converse.
2. Intellectual spring cleaning. Not that I expect
millions thousands hundreds dozens of people to be interested in my thoughts on Pietist models of Christian higher education (my current research focus) or any other of my musings on pedagogy, historiography, theology, etc. If nothing else, I simply hope to clear out some stray thoughts taking up mental space, expose them to the harsh light of day, and see if they look as profound on screen as they can sound in my mind at 1am.
I like how British historian-blogger Christopher Knowles (who not only shares a name and profession with me, but an interest in the Western occupation of Germany after WWII) put it at The History Blogging Project:
I started the blog as a way to make myself write something about my research. At first, I didn’t know if anyone would read the blog and I didn’t care. Even if no-one else ever looked at it, I thought it would be useful as a way of helping me get my thoughts in order.
3. To work on writing. I’ve never taken a real writing class, but every book I’ve ever read about writing agrees that the best way to learn writing is to write. Every day. For at least 30-60 minutes. I’ve tried to follow that advice, but I usually end up wasting away the time revising the same two paragraphs I revised the day before. (Or reading this blog, whose place on my blogroll will naturally be taken by something more suitably academic/pretentious in tone, like this blog.) Blogging seems like a good way to cultivate the discipline of writing, and to make myself a bit less concerned with getting every word just