Hollidays are bad for blog stats.
Hollidays are bad for blog stats.
Well, it appears I should have read Mankiw’s post much before:
Avoid activities that will distract you from research. Whatever you do, do not start a blog. That will only establish your lack of seriousness as a scholar.
Hmf. Next advice gives some comfort:
Remember that you got into academics in part for the intellectual freedom it allows. So pursue your passions. Do not be too strategic. Be wary of advice from old fogies like me.
Should I disregard the first advice? Or the second? Both, perhaps.
It is now exactly one year since I started this blog. It’s been 156 posts (including this one), 2 pages (I planned to publish my About page on this anniversary, but ended up postponing it, again), 11 categories, and no less than 486 tags. More interestingly, maybe, Have I achieved anything of what I wanted with this blog?
Well, I’ve discussed books, some rather extensively (to a blog, at least [I think]); the blog at times may look like a discussion with myself (although that point has gone lost on me for a long time; however, it is obviously not a discussion with anyone else; it feels like talking to myself [and the occasional stray dog wandering in from Google], but that was also a part of the point); I’m not as critical as I’d ideally be, I think (I know!); I’ve certainly got a lot of writing exercise; I haven’t discussed music to the extent that I originally imagined and wanted (I’ve realized it takes a lot of effort to write well, originally and creatively about music); it’s definitively been an ‘outlet’ (or arena, I don’t know) for my narcisissm and a distraction; I’ve posted on both interesting (to me) and important (to me) stuff, I’ve even posted on fun (to me) stuff; finally, I’ve let myself down on the weather in Bergen (oh well, not much to talk about, really).
In conclusion, I’m quite happy with both my input and the outcome of Kvams. More often than not have I kept up a steady posting rate, and even though I’m quoting other blogs, articles and stuff quite heavily, I think I contribute a fair share myself. In all, I’m looking forward to more blogging.
There seems to be good reasons to blog. Here are some of mine: When I read great books, in particular non-fictional books, I have an urge to tell people and discuss it. I often come off as quite nerdy when I do that, however, and already being a PhD-student does not help. On a blog, however, I can push these books in spectacular fashion and it won’t look as bad, I hope. So, I’ve been thinking about a blog for quite a while. Also, the blog is supposed to be a place where I can discuss stuff with myself over time. (And for that to happen, I need to put down my opinion at a point in time such that I can return to it later and discuss it. Unless I just keep my opinions in mind and they might change without me even knowing. It is then harder to recognize old opinions. It is about being critical to myself, both who I am now and who I was; I think it is nice to discuss stuff with yourself. It is sometimes nice to discuss stuff with other people too, but often I don’t get the opinion or answer I want, or the discussion don’t take the direction I want it to take, and, well, you know, I never know where to take a sentence after the ‘well, you know’ part; suggestions? You didn’t see that question mark comming, did you?) The point is, I have a lot of ongoing discussions in my head, and sometimes I think they are good, but most times they are crap. The goal must be to try to capture the good parts, and my plan is that the blog will help me with that. I have tried to keep notes, but that does not really work for me. When I look back at notes, I seldom find anything good. So, ‘publishing’ my thoughts and ideas on a blog will hopefully help me capture the good moments. I just need to be critical to what I put there (here). (Looking back, it has not started working yet.)
It is hard to be critical to yourself, particularly when it comes to thinking and writing. Thus, an audience can help me, and that is exactly what I want. I want readers to comment on the stuff I put up here, and honestly, I want them to show no mercy. And while I’m on the thinking stuff, I am currently a PhD-student in economics, which means that I’m supposed to become a scientist. And science is a lot about thinking, obviously, and also a lot about writing (less obvious to many, to me a couple of years ago, for example). To become a good thinker, you need to think, and you need to be critical about your own thinking. That is hard. To become a good writer, you need to think well (you know, be clear and all that), but you also need to write. This is where the blog comes in. I mean to train myself in writing on this blog. A secondary, but still important point is to keep the blog in english. Most science is done in english, and I need all the training I can get. I will never become mothertounge-fluent in english, but I can always get better.
I’ve been talking about books. I also enjoy to listen to music. I try to keep an open mind and listen broadly. As most music lovers, I tend to tell all my friends about all the (good) music I’ve been listening to lately. When my friends are not all that exited, it becomes boring for both me and my friends. Here, however, I can push all the music I want and it does not necessarily need to become boring for me (and my friends can row their own boats). A second point is this: There is a catch to the PhD-student thing. You don’t see your friends all that much, and if all you do when you see them is to talk about (non-fictional) books and obscure music, well, you know, there I did it again.
Of course, there are other forces in me that drives me to blog. I am a narcisisst (I mean, who are not? I almost find it irrational not to think highly of yourself. It is important to (try to) be critical to yourself of course, and think highly of yourself because you are critical to yourself.) and like to have the spotlight on me and my stuff. Here, I will keep the spotlight on me and my stuff. Also, I get angry sometimes, and it can help to write. And all PhD-students are desperate for distractions, and now I have one more. This is of course a big danger with this blog: It will take away my focus from my disertation. If I am good (and a bit lucky, maybe) it will help me keep the focus.
What I will put on my blog? I’ve told you already; thoughts and ideas about books and music. I will also discuss some current events. I will link to stuff I think is important or interesting (important stuff is unfortunately not always interesting). It is unavoidable that I will link to stuff I find funny. I will probably also put personal stuff on the blog. It is about me, remember. And I think a blog with a personal flavour often is more interesting and makes me return more often than those more sterile ones. I will try to keep a collection of links to pages which are relevant to me. I also hope to keep you updated on the wheather in Bergen, my hometown (to non-Norwegian readers: Preoccupation with the wheather may be a Norwegian thing, we have quite a lot of it, but it is boring also!).