Tonight, Hugh published an excellent blog post that provoked discussion on Twitter and prompted me to write a response so lengthy that I’m breaking it up into several posts.
In his post, Hugh contends that there never was a golden age of library blogging. (For the record, when I talk about that time when there was a lot more blogging going on, I’m talking about 2005/2006 to about 2011, although things were tapering off by then.) Hugh’s post is partially a response to my post on whether there is still life left in the Australian biblioblogosphere. So it’s probably unsurprising that I’ve got some stuff to say on this topic. 😉
Tonight, I want to point out a few misinterpretations of what I’ve said in posts over the last few weeks. I’m not trying to be argumentative with these clarifications, but rather, I just want to be clear about where I’m coming from.
Tomorrow, I’ll attend to the idea that there wasn’t ever a golden age of library blogging.
And on Monday, I’ll post about whether what’s happening on Twitter now is a replacement for what used to happen around blogs.
I also want to respond to Hugh’s thoughts about where professional discourse might actually happen – basically the second half of his post. I agree with a lot of it, and I’d like to explore it further. But it’s nine sleeps til my thesis is submitted and I’m not sure I’ll have time to get to this. We’ll see.
So let’s get onto the corrections.
I don’t hesitate to tell students to get on Twitter (actually, I make them)
Kate says she hesitates to tell students to get on Twitter because there’s no content, yet Twitter is where the connections and the nodes are.
Actually, that’s not what I said. What I said was:
A couple of months back I had a conversation with a colleague about encouraging our students to get embedded in the social media spaces many of us use as professionals. I’m thinking specifically of using Twitter, and getting our students to take that on as a space where they can connect with other professionals. I’ve realised it’s getting to be a harder sell, and I think the changing shape of the LIS blogosphere is part of the reason the benefits are harder to promote these days.
When I first started teaching in 2009, library-related blogs were jumpin’. When I designed a unit using an approach I’d now call ‘connected learning’, I built in blogging and connecting on Twitter because blogs were jumpin’ and all the bloggers were on Twitter. (I’m not going to say jumpin’ again, I promise. I’m just getting silly now because THESIS and ALL NIGHTER.) Librarians in practice who were blogging used to comment on my students’ blogs. My students commented on theirs. I mined those blogs for content to use in my teaching because it was right up to the minute. My students could follow librarians on Twitter AND read their blogs, and in this way, they would get to know these bloggers and get embedded in the professional community.
I have a former student (the colleague I referred to above) who I think would have some really interesting insight to offer on this, and I’m hoping she’ll join in the conversation.
Anyway, my point is I don’t hesitate to tell my students to get on Twitter (in fact, I make them, because I’m mean and nasty), but it is harder to sell them on the benefits than it used to be. It’s not just about a lack of blogging, but I think that is a contributing factor. Other factors:
- I tweet less, so if they don’t engage there, they’re not missing anything from me.
- This semester my undergrads were like ‘Why would you be on Twitter?’, so I think there might be some disinterest in Twitter coming up through the ranks.
I’m actually not talking about Australian library blogs exclusively
This is more about correcting what *I* said, not what Hugh said.
When librarians ask Is blogging still a thing?, or Is there life left in the Australian biblioblogosphere?, I think these questions are partially based on a misremembering or perhaps a miscategorisation.
Ok, so perhaps I should have asked, ‘Is there life left in the biblioblogosphere?’ And for the record, I should note how much I dislike that term, but that’s what we called it in those good old days that I may be misremembering. Those golden days of blogging involved Australian bloggers as well as people elsewhere in the world. So let’s delete the word Australian, because I really am thinking more broadly than this. So delete Australian. (Although I should say that I included the word ‘Australian’ in the first place because I think there’s more action on US library blogs now than there is here, but that’s just an impression I have, not based in evidence.)
I would also argue that I’m not misremembering or miscategorising, but I’ll come back to that shortly, and in tomorrow’s post.
I don’t think anyone is arguing for daily library-related blogging
Clearly daily blogging about librarianship isn’t a thing. The question I’ve wondered about since the last #blogjune, however, is whether it ever was.
It never was for me, and I don’t think it was for the bloggers I loved to read.
The fact that ‘Blog Every Day of June’ comes with its own hashtag should be a pointer to why it never became Blog Every Day of the Year.
And thank god for that.
To be clear, I’m not arguing for daily blogging. I don’t think anyone else is either. I’m arguing for more blogging and more informal professional discourse and I think blogs are one place that can happen.
A group blog
But I actually floated the idea of a group blog in general, focused on issues relevant to the library and information profession. One of the commenters on this post suggested posts that contextualise things like the Horizon Report for a local audience would be good, and I agree with that. But I don’t think a group blog needs to be (or should) be concentrated on Australian librarianship. Or even librarianship. There’s so much going on in the information professions more broadly that we could be engaging with, and so much going on *beyond* the information professions that has relevance for us.
Did I miscategorise? Am I misremembering?
When librarians ask Is blogging still a thing?, or Is there life left in the Australian biblioblogosphere?, I think these questions are partially based on a misremembering or perhaps a miscategorisation. Kate Davis reveals this when she talks about blogging as ‘engaging’.
Nup, I don’t think I miscategorised. I think blogging, commenting on blogs, tweeting links to blog posts, and having conversations about, or that lead to, blog posts is just one set of mechanisms for engaging online. For me, blogging is engaging. But so is tweeting. So is posting to Instagram.
Kathryn was talking about all these other things in terms of how they relate to running a blog. For Kathryn, being a blogger means doing a whole lot of other stuff – stuff that I call engaging online. But for Kathryn, these are things part of her blogging practice, so she sees them as part of blogging.
Are we misremembering? Was there a golden age of library blogging? I probably wouldn’t call it a golden age, but there certainly was a time when there was a whole lot more blogging going on. But this is a bigger story, so I’m giving it it’s very own post tomorrow.
Thanks for the provocation Hugh! I’m looking forward to more discussion on the posts I’ve got lined up.