I was chatting with a friend the other night, she’s also a guest blogger here, and I mentioned how well the blog was going. We’ve had loads of new followers lately. It took us more than two years to get to 2000 followers on WordPress and in the last two weeks we gained another 500. Readership is climbing steadily and that’s exciting.
She replied with a question: “I am curious about the blog generally and how you feel it benefits you. I know you are excited about the number of followers and it may seem self-evident as to why you are excited but. . .why are you excited?”
I sent back my powerpoint presentation about why academics blog and what’s so wonderful about it. I get asked to talk about blogging to other academics fairly often.
Here’s that pitch about the positive things blogging does:
- Keeps me in touch with people all over the world
- Makes our work accessible to the non-academic world
- Helps to connect us with current events and things going on in the world
- Academic writing often reaches very few people
- Keeps you writing even when writing isn’t easy.
- Helps you get over the perfectionist tendencies lots of academic writers have
- Fun to publish so quickly when academic publishing is so slow
- I’ve been invited to contribute to publications via my blogging and my blog posts are quoted in academic papers.
- Terrific feedback: Like journal referees but without the rejection
“Professor Roger Pielke Jr from the University of Colorado pointed out in his speech to the Lowy Institute last week, blogging has had a directly beneficial impact on his research: (Blogging) is a remarkably powerful tool for refining ideas, for collecting intelligence, for making contacts. I get routinely better feedback critique from ideas, arguments, I put out on my blog than I do in the peer review process….”
But I realized that this wasn’t exactly what she was asking. It was more about this blog. Why does this blog get me so worked up? Why does it make me so happy? What’s the excitement connected to?
And that got me thinking.
Here’s what I replied: “In the case of this blog I really do think it’s important to broaden the range of conversations about fitness to include feminist perspectives. Why? I guess I think there’s a strong connection between agency and embodiment and that physicality is something that’s been denied many women. I loved Tracy’s recent post about physical fitness and her response to the Jian Ghomeshi scandal. Lots of our academic writing is read by very few people. It floors us to have thousands of people read a post. We also get a lot of email from women thanking us for being feminist voices…so much fitness material is pretty awful. And yet, physical fitness matters.”
Okay, a bit blathery at the end but I hope you get my point. Fitness matters. Feminism matters too. And for me those thoughts are connected. Fit is a feminist issue and I love our blog!
Hope you like it too.