Writing on a blog about the benefits of blogging might seem a bit superfluous, but here is a nice reminder of the possibilities that the social web can open.
The philosopher Levi Bryant, one of the central figures in Object-Oriented Ontology (OOO), recently wrote this blogpost on chance encounters and why blogging can be a vital tool in generating new spaces for new philosophical movements.
Speculative realism (SR), the new philosophical umbrella which Bryant’s work falls under, is an almost entirely internet-born phenomenon. In the post, Bryant wonders about the randomness of new connections and raises a central issue about why blogging and participating in discussions on the internet can generate new energy:
The internet, and blogosphere in particular, created a common place that allowed these strange entities of SR and OOO to become a little more real, a little more substantial, a little more existent. Through these discussions and the medium that’s allowed these discussions to take place, new lines of thought, new problematics, new questions, and new positions have emerged.
Bryant raises the very real issue that most of the time, the articles we spend most of our time writing generates almost no response at all. Only a handful of people read them and more often than not, they sink to the bottom like stones, serving little purpose aside from filling up ones CV and as statistical evidence to the administrators that something is actually being done. But blogs can help build contacts and networks in a much more immediate way. And open for new opportunities as well.
These [relationships with other researchers on the web] lead to collaborative projects, intellectual growth and enrichment, further articles, opportunities for conference presentations, and so on. Participation in electronic media increases your likelihood of being read and allows you to meet other researchers that you would never otherwise meet. All of this is a way of encouraging readers to participate, to explore ideas even when they end up going nowhere, and to avoid seeing participation here as something secondary to your academic work.
What exactly will come of these new forms of life being generated by the new media is still blurry. But taking ones ideas and research into the public domain and seeing what new connections it sparks is surely worthwhile.