A Return to Blogging (?)
I started this blog in June of 2002, nine and half years ago, and for the first few years it was great fun. The "blogsphere" itself was a lot of fun then, much like USENET back in the late 1980s: although a lot of people were participating, there was an intimacy to discussions and the trolls, spammers and hustlers hadn't yet taken over. Surprising people would reply to posts and the debates we got into could be quite interesting. I derived a lot of intellectual energy from Wormtalk.
But as time went on blogging became less fun. The advent of group blogs and monetized blogs and then group monetized blogs made individual blogs less personal. The movement from blogging to FB and Twitter reduced the number of interactions that happened on the blog itself, and the further development of coterie blogs with their hierarchies and cross-linked promotions further reduced the element of spontaneity that had been so much fun. Sometime in 2008 or 2009 I found myself dreading posting to Wormtalk and that, coupled with the effort that Anglo-Saxon Aloud required, saw me significantly reduce my posting of new material. Then came the economic crisis, when pretty much all my energies department chair energy was spent trying to shuffle around resources so that no one's jobs (we were successful, but at great cost of time and effort). I thought I would get back to blogging when I was on sabbatical, but during that time I ended up teaching anyway (we gave up the funding for a replacement for me in order to keep a colleague in a different time period) and sabbatical turned out to be more work than regular teaching. Simultaneously Scott Nokes stopped regularly updating his Unlocked-Wordhoard, which had become a significant source on inspiration, and I got some push-back from people about blogging while a department chair. Then in August 2010 the "Terrible Events" happened to members of my extended family (P.S.: At that time I de-friended pretty much every academic I know on Facebook. It was nothing personal. I just didn't want family things spreading all over the place, and didn't trust myself not to slip in managing different FB privacy levels for different groups of people). So in 2011 I posted a total of 3 times. Wormtalk was effectively defunct.
But although I find that I dislike, a lot, many things about the internet circa 2012, I miss sharing ideas in the more immediate form of blogging (as opposed to journal articles that take two years to appear and four to see a response). So I am going to give Wormtalk another whirl and see if I can get back some of the immediacy, energy and pleasure that was so apparent in the "Golden Age of Blogging" from 2003-2007. I plan to talk about Anglo-Saxon, Tolkien, our Lexomics research, the job market, graduate school, teaching and learning. We'll see what happens.