07 January 2009

Slow start to the year

The year is now starting in earnest. The first day of January isn't real, it's still too much part of the holiday season, with unfinished boxes of chocolates and crackers lost and found on the tree, friends and family calling and wishes exchanged.

Now it's back to work, and also back to blogging. But maybe differently.

When I look at the blogs in my RSS reader, it seems that they come in two categories: some are updated daily, or at least several times a week, and posts are short and to the point. Others are slower to update, and then longer entries are posted. One reason could be the hard discipline it is to keep a daily blog and fit the writing into a long list of other activities. If blogging is a hobby, it can be a time-consuming one; if it fits into a professional activity, it may be relegated to the "things I do when I am less busy". And then, they twitter. Or maybe they Twitter.

Last month, when Christmas was still a list of presents in my notebook, I met Damien to get some background on Irish blogs for The Introduction. He mentionned that a lot of community building and communication goes on behind the blog page, on Twitter. These micro-blogged short messages are more manageable, and somehow also feel more personal, similar as they are to our mobile text messages.

At the other end of blogging, is the slow blogging movement, which has its roots in the concept behind the slow food movement. I came across it first in an article from the New York Times, which led me to bgblogging. The posts there are thoughtful and peaceful, they take time to establish a context and paint a picture before delving into more intellectual matters. They mix the personal and the public, the artistic and the academic. It must take time to write them, and it takes time to read them.

I try to consider the transitional spaces between old practices and new, old literacies and new, old treasures and new.(bgblogging)
Making art is A Good Thing, and blogging can and should sometimes be a means to that end regardless of its many other affordances. (ruminate)


The reflexive use of the blog and the concerted effort at slowing the pace of blogging and of living reminded me of Nancy White's slow community movement.

And now that I am back at my desk, and frustrated by the slow pace of my writing, I think that maybe I should accept that pace, and see the PhD process as slow thought, slow scholarship.

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