a born-digital, open-review volume edited by Jack Dougherty and Kristen Nawrotzki

Only Typing? Informal Writing, Blogging and the Academy (2012 revision)

See 2011 open peer review versions by Cummings and Jarrett, with many more comments

1 Leave a comment on paragraph 1 0 The late-twentieth century saw a staggering growth of media that permitted people to express themselves without going through traditional gatekeepers such as editors, publishers, or record labels. Whether it was the rise of zines and the alternative press in the 1960s or websites, blogs, and wikis in the 1990s, new technologies and new formats have opened the media up to voices that have often been less formal or polished than the classic published author of yore.1 These innovations promised greater speed and openness. Computer programmer Ward Cunningham chose the word “wiki,” meaning “fast” in Hawaiian slang, to refer to a site any number of users can quickly edit without going through the technical process of writing code.2 Japanese teenagers founded a new literary genre in the cell-phone novel, serialized as discrete bits in the form of text messages – no editors wanted or needed.3

2 Leave a comment on paragraph 2 0 Such developments have whizzed by many scholars, especially historians. Being concerned with the past and prone to reflect on the tempo of time itself, we have rarely been known to do things quickly. Our dissertations take years to write, and sometimes longer to revise and publish. A scholar sending off an essay to an academic journal can expect to wait four months to a year for feedback. Historians thus have reason to be both wary and curious about the prospect of using technology to do what we do differently and, one hopes, faster than in the past.

3 Leave a comment on paragraph 3 0 One of the central insights of media studies, though, is that a medium is not the same as a particular technology. We may call your iPhone a “phone,” but when it makes a call it uses something more similar to radio than the Bell technology that still drove the pulse-dial telephones of the 1970s.4 30 Rock and Hill Street Blues are still “television” whether we watch them on a broadcast network, cable, or an online video site. The genres and tropes, commercial considerations and labor relations that shape most TV programs remain sufficiently similar for us to situate the medium of television in a number of technically different platforms. In the same way, the fact that we may now encounter many scholarly journals in the form of individual articles, downloaded as PDFs and read onscreen on whatever device we favor, does not necessarily make the content of them different from the print versions. Academic journals and presses can easily transport the conventions of reviewing, editing, and publishing to the online world, and many already have.5

4 Leave a comment on paragraph 4 0 Such models, however, occupy a different route to the reader from writing that is generated online in the informal mode of blogs, wikis, and Twitter. What are the differences of this sort of writing compared to traditional scholarly practice? What are the benefits and the drawbacks, and can this kind of writing actually be scholarship? The authors are historians who have experimented with various online formats over the past ten years, but most especially blogging, and this essay reflects on these questions by situating the academic blogger in this wider context of informal writing.

5 Leave a comment on paragraph 5 0 The Cultural Form(s) of Online Publishing
The web is ever-changing, of course; attempts to sum it up date quickly. If we write at length now about Web 2.0, interactivity and crowdsourcing, we risk looking foolish if this essay is still online in ten years but Facebook and Twitter have evaporated. There are nonetheless things that can be said about what makes writing for the web distinctive.6 The medium does exercise pressure: the size of screens and attention spans of readers dictate brevity, or are thought to, and technical issues such as browser capability are an unwelcome consideration. On the positive side, the hyperlink offers the online reader instant passage to citations, and for the creative writer hypertext allows for wry allusions and the deliberate double-edging of basic statements (for example, silently linking a mention of a police agency to a report on deaths in their custody).

6 Leave a comment on paragraph 6 0 Another characteristic shared by all online material is that it exists in a limbo of semi-permanence. On the one hand, websites disappear as their host changes internet access or host institution or redesign evolves old content out. Few links from ten years ago remain valid now, even if the content is still online.7 On the other hand, that which is assumed to be transient may not be: deletion at source may not keep an ill-considered screed from Google‘s cache, and the Internet Archive‘s mission to preserve the disappearing web also contains the implication of preserving such mistakes, forever. The Internet Archive’s web-spiders are far from instantaneous, however, and even its funding is not secure, so neither can one rely on it for permanence.8 Nothing is safely online in the long-term, but not much is certainly lost either: an awkward halfway house for an academic culture raised on citeability.

7 Leave a comment on paragraph 7 0 On the other hand, for many online writers permanence is not the point. Instead, generating text online has become a means of social interaction. This can be as true in an academic context as any other: since the earliest days of the Internet scholars have embraced its potential for the rapid sharing of unpublished material, feedback and simply thoughts, whether via e-mail lists, Usenet, bulletin boards or now Facebook or professional equivalents such as Academia.edu.9 These resources do not only speed up interchange within the scholarly process; they can also operate as support for the only specialist in a field on staff in their institution needing to check ideas with a colleague, for example, or for someone in need of perspective on an institutional teaching or management practice.

8 Leave a comment on paragraph 8 0 In these particular lights, blogging, a deliberately personal use of webspace, looms large. A blog is not, however, simply a personal website. What makes a blog a blog is its newspaper or diary-like rhythm of discrete, chronological posts, the variable length of posts, and, above all, the relative lack of formal filters or selection processes. The format presumes, displays and favors immediacy and freshness of output, so that such processes would inhibit it. When Blogger set out to popularize its concept in 1999, the company described its service as “push-button publishing,” while competitor LiveJournal promised a “simple-to-use (but extremely powerful and customizable) personal publishing (‘blogging’) tool” in 2004.10 Blogs offered a means for posting and updating one’s thoughts without needing to know how to design a website by writing HTML code. Before “blog” became a common term, companies like DiaryLand framed their services in a language of personal, unedited writing.11 This informality and lack of editorial supervision is key to the enterprise. Wikipedia, after all, was preceded by Nupedia, an attempt at building an online encyclopedia with credentialed authors and a formal process of review; it generated nowhere near the output of Wikipedia, which introduced the little-known format of the wiki to the broader public and spawned countless imitators.12 Some of its successors were more open than others—the Mason Historiographiki, for instance, only includes input from approved contributors—but each embraced the basic principles of rapid editing and multiple authorship that defines a wiki.13

9 Leave a comment on paragraph 9 0 This informality can be an advantage. Academic publishers may bring traditions of peer review online or pioneer new patterns of open review and public commentary, yet we should not shy away from presenting our ideas and research in less regulated forums like wikis and blogs, which are defined in part by their lack of filters. And, indeed, historians have recently taken an interest in blogs, which can accommodate both collaboration and individual authorship. The Edge of the American West is a notable example in which scholars such as Eric Rauchway and Kathy Olmstead posted about academia, politics, and pop culture, along with, as they put it, “yiddishkeit, WASPhood, the 1980s, Canadiana and, most of all, the Muppets.”14 The tone is loose but intellectual, bringing a perspective informed by history and theory to current events. Other blogs pursue a similar course but specialize in intellectual or legal history, with a committed readership among scholars who work in these fields.15 (As a friend who writes for such a blog admitted, though, it threatens to be a “career-killing timesuck.”)

10 Leave a comment on paragraph 10 0 Readers, Wanted and Unwanted
A blog is a pointless exercise without an audience, as one could achieve the same results with a word processor, but readers are neither easy to attract nor to restrict. To attract them, it is obviously desirable to raise one’s site in search engine rankings, but the fact that “Search Engine Optimization” is something of a dark art, made so by the understandable reluctance of companies such as Google to expose their heuristics, is amply testified to by the numerous offers of such knowledge arriving in most blogs’ spam-traps. In fact, many of the more legitimate tactics, such as providing keywords in the unseen parts of a website’s code offering search engines indexing terms, are denied to users of large blog provider sites, who are only able to edit the content of their sites, not such meta-information. It seems that there are no quick, honest secrets to such success. The content that the writer provides is the active ingredient, therefore; it gives the search engines (if one grants them access) something to use to present the blog to enquirers, but this may also be very different from what those parties were actually seeking.16 Even when they have found what they sought, moreover, it is worth considering who the audience may be.

11 Leave a comment on paragraph 11 0 For those not engaged in scholarship but interested in the author’s material, a blog may be an intercession with the Academy for those who cannot participate themselves. This can be used by writers as advertising for the academic endeavor as a whole, for the field of history large or small or as a chance to correct misapprehensions, but it also requires a reciprocal attempt to engage at an accessible level, keeping terms of art and assumptions of knowledge down, as well as generosity and tolerance in responding to comments.17 In more social terms, this audience also allows us to demonstrate that (some) academics are approachable and useful human beings, while for the writer, it can provide a much-needed sense of wider relevance.

12 Leave a comment on paragraph 12 0 Persistent readers of a historical blog, however, unless that blog is fairly simplistic, will likely be found more among those who are familiar with academic writing. For the non-expert members of this sector, the historical blogger can help decode the field, cherry-picking interesting work from a jungle of things of which non-historians cannot always get hold. Here, blogs can help keep an interested audience informed where history would otherwise lose them because of the commitments required by dedicated study and reading. Such writing also helps circumvent the economic exclusion, not just of those not enrolled in a course of study but also those without subscription access to print or electronic resources.18

13 Leave a comment on paragraph 13 0 A historical blogger is, however, unlikely to avoid discovery by one’s academic peers for long, especially if that blogger has used personal names that can be found in web searches. Sometimes one’s peers will comment, and often friendlily, but one cannot assume an absence of readership from an absence of comments; they may still be aware. This kind of readership can be the most useful and may be the desired one, but it can also be the most dangerous. The dangers are partly in the medium and the expectations thereof, but also partly in the reaction of the Academy to non-traditional publication. Is a colleague (or worse, a potential colleague) wasting time by blogging, or are they doing something valuable? Opinions vary.19 Some may judge that, no matter how carefully-written and sourced it may be, blogging is never more than an opinion, or at best a kind of journalism, rather than a proper academic endeavor. We discuss this further below, but one does not to have to agree with the argument to see how it might be constructed.

14 Leave a comment on paragraph 14 0 A classic and controversial statement of this point of view was provided in 2005 in a pseudonymous article entitled “Bloggers Need Not Apply,” in the Chronicle of Higher Education. The author, “Ivan Tribble,” recorded with scorn the damage that various applicants for a post in Tribble’s institution had done their applications by mentioning their blogs, which exposed them in various ways as unsuitable in the eyes of the selection committee.20 It must be recognized that there will continue to be readers like Tribble and colleagues. Blogging favors the informal approach to writing, because dense writing deters an audience and is hard to produce often enough to keep a blog fresh. This can obviously become excessive, in such forms as character assassination or professional gossip (though there has been plenty of this!), any of which may obviously offend or misrepresent peers.21 That in turn may force retractions, meaning the undoing of work and adding to the transience of the blog, and worse, it may prompt professional complaints or even legal action. These are heavy consequences for killing some time online.22

15 Leave a comment on paragraph 15 0 Blogging as Scholarship?
Are those who view blogging as non-scholarly (at best) or unscholarly (at worst) correct? Does this writing have any more tangible, professional value?23 We may, after all, be more prone to sloppy writing or easy generalizations when writing online, knowing that an editor is not going to come along and demand a footnote to support the assertion that NBC’s sitcom Community is “well-loved but still-struggling.” (Is there evidence that it is well-loved? Is it really struggling?) More substantively, no one prevented one of the authors of this essay from stating that Arab-Americans occupy “an indeterminate place in the US spectrum of race” in a blog post, whereas in a journal article extensive evidence and reference to an established body of literature would be required to support the assertion.24

16 Leave a comment on paragraph 16 0 This is probably the most commonly-cited critique of blogging as a scholarly enterprise: it escapes traditional peer review. Self-publication enables blogs’ great virtues of speed and freshness, but adds problems of credibility. While experiments are being conducted to incorporate peer review and editorial oversight to blog contents, as well as using a blog to crowdsource peer review of off-blog publications, such efforts threaten to undermine the medium’s most salient qualities—speed, currency—and turn it into the equivalent of an online academic journal, a medium that, as we have suggested, is not substantively different from a regular academic journal except by its apparatus of consumption.25

17 Leave a comment on paragraph 17 0 To continue to insist on blogging and online writing in general as academic work thus requires a much more radical shift of position. The recent volume Hacking the Academy includes one or two statements of such a case. David Parry, especially, urges his readers:

Given the cost of producing knowledge and the fact that academic journals or academic presses could only afford to produce so many pages with each journal, peers are established to vet, and signal that a particular piece is credible and more worthy than the others. This is the filter-then-publish model. But the net actually works in reverse – publish-then-filter – involving a wider range of people in the discursive production. Why do academics argue for small panel anonymous peer review? One thing we know is diversity of perspective enriches discourse.

We have to give up being authorities, controlling our discourse, seeing ourselves as experts who possess bodies of knowledge over which we have mastery. Instead we have to start thinking of what we do as participating in a conversation, and ongoing process of knowledge formation. What if we thought of academics as curators, people who keep things up to date, clean, host, point, and aggregate knowledge rather than just those who are responsible for producing new knowledge.26

20 Leave a comment on paragraph 20 0 This approach sounds energizing, but it profoundly changes the work of the academic. The onus has shifted here almost all the way from “publish” to “filter,” and it is not at all clear where formal publishing fits in this model. The role of the professional scholar becomes one of a fisherman, running their trained mental nets through a sea of otherwise undifferentiable output, from both within and beyond the Academy. It may be no bad thing to open the gates of the ivory tower to external ideas (though that way, certainly, the business models have lain on which many blame the current supposed crisis of the university), but this is a passive role as pundit or critic that resembles our current idea of research little, and may make new work much harder to produce amid such an undifferentiated flow of high-speed output.

21 Leave a comment on paragraph 21 0 There are many functions to peer review, and some of them are insidious.27 One, however, remains a simple provision of credibility, establishing a chain of trust that very digital concerns like encryption continue to require: our work is taken seriously, if it is, because others have decided it is worth taking seriously, and they have been allowed to decide that because others, in turn, have done the same for them, and so on. Without this chain of responsibility the worth of our output is not vouched for, and as yet, this process is not possible for blogging in isolation.28

22 Leave a comment on paragraph 22 0 The two authors of this chapter differ in our views of what this means for blogging in scholarship. For Jarrett, at least, because of these concerns blogging will only serve as a means of generating scholarship when peer review ceases to validate scholarship. For him, blogging may contain scholarship, it may be about scholarship, but it will not be where scholarship is done while the Academy persists in its current practice. For Cummings, however, this informal zone of writing, sharing, and discussion can complement, rather than supplant, the main streams of scholarly discourse and publication. He suggests a more expansive definition of scholarship that retains peer review as its core but also encompasses other modes of engaging a wider public in historical work, not unlike the challenge that public historians have presented to the academy in recent years. The defining difference between publications such as this one and a blog remains the issue of filtering and editing, the search for a virtual imprimatur of trustworthiness and credibility, but we differ over whether this difference is remaining solid in the new era or becoming fluid. While this guarantees that one of us will indeed look foolish in ten years for guessing wrongly, our amiable irreconcilability on this score makes the benefits of blogging for academics that we see in common all the more compelling, and it is with these that we bring this chapter to a close.

23 Leave a comment on paragraph 23 0 Blogging and the Writing of History
Blogs are a quintessential feature of the so-called “social media” of the twenty-first century, and as such they facilitate interaction among “friends,” “followers,” and the fellow travelers recommended in a site’s blogroll – a list of related or like-minded blogs. These are networks of sociability that do more than mutually increase page rankings in web searches. Blogging also offers the other, more social benefits described above as well. Graduation from a Ph.D. program leaves a scholar without an advisor or fellow students to read his or her work. A blog can serve a purpose similar to a writing group, as it pressures one to write regularly, meet deadlines, and expose a work-in-progress to the eyes of others. Faculty can turn to each other for feedback, of course, where suitable expertise exists nearby, but often colleagues are too overburdened with classes, committees, and family to provide regular input, and in any case many scholars find themselves in a series of transient positions such as post-docs and visiting positions after earning the Ph.D.s, with little opportunity to join a discursive community with peers.

24 Leave a comment on paragraph 24 0 Media such as wikis, blogs, and Twitter have the potential to generate such communities where they are otherwise not available. These are the audiences that the academic blogger is, to our mind, best advised to seek; it turns out that peers and indeed friends can be found simply by writing interesting things on the Internet! A well-maintained blog then has the potential to provide a crowd for crowd-sourcing, a forum for validation or advice, and a kind of collegiality that is no less real for being expressed in type. In this respect the so-called blogosphere can be seen as a set of continual, overlapping, conferences or symposia in an unusually large and friendly institution.29 Quite apart from the publicity value of having one’s name easily associable with well-written and immediately available scholarly-looking content, these are good reasons to blog. And while microblogging service Twitter radically limits the length of posts to 140 characters, effectively barring any long or laborious academic prose, it has been embraced by a growing number of scholars as a means to share ideas and advice, papers and conference announcements, and to highlight useful resources such as websites and archives.30

25 Leave a comment on paragraph 25 0 This kind of informality can be seen as a feature, not a bug. The same quality of blogging that problematizes its acceptance as traditional scholarship, its lack of filters, is the source of its vitality. The blog offers an opportunity to engage with and write about one’s area of study in a far less constrained way than, say, a post-doc application or a journal submission. Having a less formal outlet for writing serves as a reminder that one’s knowledge and creativity are not pressed only into the service of professional goals and a quest for approval.

26 Leave a comment on paragraph 26 0 The benefits of this flexibility cycle back into one’s professional writing, through a kind of intellectual cross-pollination. To keep an active blog requires writing often, and this is good practice. Writing for non-academics can also be fruitful. The variety in audience is good for the prose, good for clarity and may be good for employment elsewhere, if the impact of third-stream agendas acquires more force. Blogging, ultimately, involves some people writing and others commenting. Writing is central to the practice, but it encourages writing on different topics and in different ways.

27 Leave a comment on paragraph 27 0 As professionals, we may be evaluated largely on peer-reviewed, published writing, but much of what we do as scholars falls in between the formal and informal, the textual and the oral. Writing on a blog might not rise to the standard of a university press or scholarly journal, but neither does a lecture. Rarely will what we write to say in a classroom be subject to the same degree of scrutiny as what we write in a monograph, but that fact does not diminish the value or creativity of the texts we create in the process of teaching.31 Digital publishing offers an opportunity to recognize the multifaceted nature of our work as historians, which is not limited to the printed page.

28 Leave a comment on paragraph 28 0 Indeed, it helps us recognize that writing and print are not one and the same. Back in the 1960s, media theorist Marshall McLuhan famously predicted a future “global village” where visual and aural media would eclipse the importance of print, yet the written word has more than held its own in the years since.32 In the age of Harry Potter and blogs, people write all the time.33 They compose text messages and emails; they write newsletters for church and work and post comments in endless “flame wars” on YouTube videos and news articles.34 Blogs, wikis, and Twitter are part of this general flurry of written activity. This material may not contribute to tenure and promotion; it may reveal one’s work in a less polished or persuasive form than an article or book. However, it can offer real benefits to the process of writing as an outlet for expression that is freer and faster than traditional publishing and it provides an arena for collaboration and discussion that can serve the same varied purposes as a graduate school cohort, a writing group, or the peer review process. It also reaches a public for whom our work is otherwise mediated solely by journalists, and thus allows us to demonstrate the writing of history as a worthwhile, entertaining and important thing to do with an intellectual life. These are not small gains. Long ago, Truman Capote slammed Jack Kerouac’s work by saying it “isn’t writing, it’s only typing.” When it comes to an important journal submission, online or off, we would be well advised to strive for Capote’s standards – but the rest of time we should feel free to type.35

29 Leave a comment on paragraph 29 0 About the authors: Alex Sayf Cummings is an assistant professor of History at Georgia State University.  His work has appeared in The Journal of American History, among other publications, and his book on the history of music piracy and intellectual property law is forthcoming from Oxford University Press.  He is a co-editor of the blog Tropics of Meta.

30 Leave a comment on paragraph 30 0 Jonathan Jarrett is a Departmental Lecturer in Medieval History in the University of Oxford and a Career Development Fellow of the Queen’s College there. His interests lie in frontiers, documents and power, all of which he pursues especially in the tenth-century incarnation of what is now Catalonia. He is author of Rulers and Ruled in Frontier Catalonia, 880-1010: pathways of power, and of various papers and articles, and blogs at A Corner of Tenth-Century Europe.

  1. 31 Leave a comment on paragraph 31 0
  2. Stephen Duncombe, Notes from Underground: Zines and the Politics of Alternative Culture (New York: Verso, 1997); John McMillian, Smoking Typewriters: The Sixties Underground Press and the Rise of Alternative Media in America (New York: Oxford University Press, 2011); Amy Spencer, DIY: The Rise of Lo-Fi Culture (London: Marion Boyars, 2008); eHow, “How to Become a Published Author,” http://www.ehow.com/how_2057347_become-published-author.html.
  3. Phoebe Ayers, Charles Matthews, and Ben Yates, How Wikipedia Works: And How You Can Be a Part of It (San Francisco: No Starch Press, 2008), 41-2.
  4. Dana Goodyear, “I Heart Novels,” New Yorker, 22 December 2008, http://www.newyorker.com/reporting/2008/12/22/081222fa_fact_goodyear.
  5. Jonathan Sterne, The Audible Past: Cultural Origins of Sound Reproduction (Durham, NC: Duke University Press, 2003), 182.
  6. Raymond Williams offered a pioneering analysis of a medium as a “cultural form” in his 1974 text Television: Technology and Cultural Form; Roger Silverstone provides an updated perspective in “Preface to the Routledge Classics Edition,” in Williams, Television (London: Routledge, 2003), vi-xii.
  7. Daniel J. Cohen and Roy Rosenzweig, Digital History: a Guide to Gathering, Preserving, and Presenting the Past on the Web (Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Press, 2005), http://chnm.gmu.edu/digitalhistory/; to their list of types of historical websites could be added, however, social networking sites such as Academia.edu or project outreach sites such as CAER: Chester Amphitheatre Environs Research Project, University of Chester, http://www.univchester-parkdig.blogspot.com/, or “Digging to Understand the Past,” Norton Community Archaeology Group, http://nortoncommarch.wordpress.com/. On the agendas behind this last category see Matthew M. Palus, Mark P. Leone and Matthew D. Cochran, “Critical Archaeology: Politics Past and Present,” in Historical Archaeology, ed. Martin Hall and Stephen W. Silliman (Oxford: Blackwell, 2006), 92-100.
  8. Jonathan Jarrett, “Medieval Latin and the Internet, twelve years on,” A Corner of Tenth-Century Europe, May 15, 2009, http://tenthmedieval.wordpress.com/2009/05/15/medieval-latin-and-the-internet-twelve-years-on/.
  9. The Internet Archive, “Frequently Asked Questions,” http://www.archive.org/about/faqs.php#31.
  10. Lisa Gitelman, Always Already New: Media, History, and the Data of Culture (Cambridge: MIT Press, 2006), 22: “Beyond CERN, the broader physics community made early use of the World Wide Web. For instance, the library at the Stanford Linear Accelerator Center (SLAC) soon offered Web-based access to “pre-prints”—articles that are on their way through the peer-review process, but that haven’t appeared in print or electronically yet with the final imprimatur of a refereed journal. The new accessibility of preprints made them not more authoritative but certainly more integral in the work of physicists. The practice of doing physics (like doing classics, as it happens) changed in keeping with the accessibility and abundance of what had before been inscriptions that circulated slowly and in narrow contexts…”
  11. Blogger, http://www.blogger.com/about; LiveJournal, http://www.livejournal.com.
  12. Danah Boyd, “A Blogger’s Blog: Exploring the Definition of a Medium,” Reconstruction 6, no. 4 (2006), http://reconstruction.eserver.org/064/boyd.shtml; Dairyland, http://members.diaryland.com/edit/welcome.phtml.
  13. “Nupedia” entry in Wikipediahttp://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nupedia.
  14. Stacy Schiff, “Know It All,” New Yorker, 31 July 2006, http://www.newyorker.com/archive/2006/07/31/060731fa_fact; “Mason Historiographiki,” George Mason University, http://chnm.gmu.edu/courses/schrag/wiki/index.php.
  15. “About the Edge of the American West,” Edge of the American Westhttp://edgeofthewest.wordpress.com/about/.
  16. U.S. Intellectual History: The Blog for the Society for U.S. Intellectual History (S-USIH), http://us-intellectual-history.blogspot.com/; Mary L. Dudziak et al., Legal History Bloghttp://legalhistoryblog.blogspot.com/.
  17. Pride of place will for Jonathan Jarrett always be reserved for the searcher for “historic annal sex” in October 2008 who found his blog’s archive for March 2007 and who presumably learnt there a new word meaning a chronicle with year-by-year records.
  18. Vellum, “The Language that Locks Others Out,” Vaulting and Vellum, 15 August 2009, http://vaultingvellum.blogspot.com/2009/08/language-that-locks-others-out.html.
  19. We do not imply or endorse by this the breaching of copyrights, which in any case hardly requires blogs.
  20. See A. G. Rud, “Ivan Tribble Unmasked!” Moo2, October 10, 2005, http://moodeuce.blogspot.com/2005/10/ivan-tribble-unmasked.html.
  21. Ivan Tribble, “Bloggers Need Not Apply,” Chronicle of Higher Education, July 8, 2005, http://chronicle.com/article/Bloggers-Need-Not-Apply/45022/.
  22. For examples, see Ambrose Hofstadter Bierce III, The Broad-Gauge Gossip, http://historianbroadgauge.blogspot.com/ and C. Vann Winchell, Nothing Recedes Like Success, http://www.historygossip.blogspot.com/. However, both sites have been quiet since early 2010.
  23. Such episodes do happen but are inevitably difficult to document, because they tend to result in the removal of materials from the web. At the time of writing, however, we can point to Damn Good Technician, “Interruption in Service,” Damn Good Technician, 10 May 2009, http://damngoodtechnician.blogspot.com/2009/05/interruption-in-service.html, and the Edgy Historian, “Why Do We Need the Barbarians?” Historian on the Edge, 15 July 2011, http://600transformer.blogspot.com/2011/07/why-do-we-need-barbarians.html, in both of which the tracks of repercussions are still visible.
  24. Jeffrey Jerome Cohen, “Blogging the Middle Ages,” in Geoffrey Chaucer Hath a Blog: Medieval Studies and New Media, ed. Brantley L. Bryant (New York City: Palgrave MacMillan, 2010), 38.
  25. Alex Sayf Cummings, “Arab American Kitsch: From Ahab to Abed and Back Again,” Tropics of Meta, 26 July 2011, http://tropicsofmeta.wordpress.com/2011/07/26/american-arab-kitsch-from-ahab-to-abed-and-back-again/.
  26. The archaeology blog, Then Dig, intended to classify some of its posts as peer-reviewed according to a standard explained on its page in 2011, “About This Site,” Then Dig, http://arf.berkeley.edu/then-dig/about-this-site/, but has not done so as of this writing. The journal postmedieval crowdsourced its review for one issue in 2011 via a blog at http://postmedievalcrowdreview.wordpress.com/.
  27. David Parry, “Burn the Boats/Books,” and see also Jo Guldi, “Reinventing the Academic Journal,” both in Hacking the Academy: The Edited Volume, eds. Dan Cohen and Tom Scheinfeldt, University of Michigan Press, forthcoming, http://www.digitalculture.org/hacking-the-academy/.
  28. Dan Cohen, Stephen Ramsay, and Kathleen Fitzpatrick, “Open Access and Scholarly Values: a Conversation,” in Hacking the Academy, http://www.digitalculture.org/hacking-the-academy/hacking-scholarship/#_blank.
  29. Something could also be said about blogging anonymously, but space precludes its discussion here; we assume that it is unlikely that scholars would wish to pursue academic work anonymously. On such issues see Magistra, “Pseudonymity and its discontents,” Magistra et Mater, 14 May 2010, http://magistraetmater.blog.co.uk/2010/05/14/pseudonymity-and-its-discontents-8591664/.
  30. For example, see Jonathan Jarrett, “‘Social Networking Gets Medieval,’ Does It? A Historian’s Take on Some Recent Research on Computing in the Humanities,” A Corner of Tenth-Century Europe, 5 June 2008, http://tenthmedieval.wordpress.com/2008/06/05/social-networking-gets-medieval-does-it-a-historians-take-on-some-recent-research-on-computing-in-the-humanities/, which has led to a conference session and an article in a forthcoming volume of essays.
  31. See the discussion at Michelle Ziegler, “Medieval Tweeting,” Heavenfield, 11 December 2011, http://hefenfelth.wordpress.com/2011/12/11/medieval-tweeting/, which is relevant to all fields of history.
  32. “Preface,” in Nonacademic Writing: Social Theory and Technology, ed. Ann Hill Duin and Craig Hansen (Mahwah, NJ: Lawrence Erlbaum Associates, 1996), xvi.
  33. Ivan Kalmar, “The Future of ‘Tribal Man’ in the Electronic Age,” in Marshall McLuhan: Critical Evaluations in Cultural Theory, ed. Gary Genosko (New York: Routledge, 2005), 227.
  34. Shayna Garlick, “Harry Potter and the magic of reading,” The Christian Science Monitor, May 2, 2007, http://www.csmonitor.com/2007/0502/p13s01-legn.html.
  35. Alex J. Packer, How Rude! The Teenagers’ Guide to Good Manners, Proper Behavior and Not Grossing People Out (Minneapolis: Free Spirit Publishing, 1997), 387-8.
  36. Robert Emmet Long, Truman Capote, Enfant Terrible (New York: Continuum, 2008), 82.
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Source: http://writinghistory.trincoll.edu/collaborative/cummings-jarrett-2012-spring/