A little while ago I came across this post, titled ‘Taking Stock‘, on the Geographical Imaginations blog. I held on to it for a while. This is my 200th post, so I thought that now was probably a good time to add a link to this post. The experience described in Geographical Imaginations quite closely echoes my own. I wasn’t sure about starting a blog when I first set up Thinking Culture. I too thought it might get in the way. But I’ve also found that there are some real benefits. In fact the geographical imaginations piece outlined my own sense of the value of using a blog. There are perhaps a couple of points that I might add. The first thing was that I set this blog up as a resource for a project I was working on. There were two reasons for this. First, I wanted to archive some materials to use in my writing. So the blog started as an archive for my work. At the same time I was keen to try out some things that allowed me to see how cultural circulations worked. By following the detailed stats for the blog I’ve been able to see how the content circulates and what types of things gain visibility. It’s been interesting to see how information -or is it knowledge – can gain attention through certain portals or through endorsements and the like. So I’ve also learned some things about the politics of knowledge in a digital mediascape.
The other point is an extension of the observation about this form of writing as being more communal. My blog still has a pretty modest audience, I’ve just reached about 6,000 total views, but even with the modest audience I’ve made quite a lot of new connections.
Another reason I attempted the blog was to open up what I was doing to a potential public audience. I’m sure that this hasn’t really worked, but the sense that I am at least trying to open up the dialogue makes me feel a bit less encased in a potentially inward looking dialogue. I wrote a couple of pieces on The Wire as a public form of sociology, and it seemed necessary to have a go at opening aspects of my writing to a public audience. As I say, I suspect this hasn’t worked. I think that most of my small audience is in some way academic. But there still seems to be some value to this academic engagement with my site. Of course it’s nice to make these connections. Bit I’ve also noticed that it has allowed some interdisciplinary dialogue to emerge that might not usually have worked. I’ve also enjoyed seeing that visitors are finding specific posts on my blog via search engines and the the links in the blog are being used. This gives a sense that the archive of useful materials on the topic of culture has proven to be of some use to a few people as well as to me. So I’m planning to carry on for a little while, at least whilst I finish the book I intended it to support. I might stop to reflect then. But I didn’t expect to get to 200 posts. I didn’t even tell anyone about the blog’s existence for the first couple of months that it existed.