For the past year and a half, I have been an occasional contributor to an academic blog, Shouting Loudly. Below this post are links to a few of my entries at that site. I view academic blogging as an opportunity to share early ideas with my fellow researchers, encouraging more open discourse. Weblogs are a pretty basic tool for online self-publishing, used for a wide variety of purposes. Low-traffic academic blogs like Shouting Loudly thus fill a niche that is quite different from what we publicly associate with “the blogosphere.”
For the record, I do not believe that blogging can or should replace the peer-review system. The peer-reviewed process is a critical institution in developing rigorous arguments. Journal articles can be held to a high standard for having benefited from such a process. Blog posts, by contrast, provide a nice opportunity to make mistakes.
Many of the pieces that I have written for Shouting Loudly have later evolved into journal articles, conference papers, and book chapters. When an idea first sparks, I like to flesh it out in writing. That used to be stored in a Word document on my personal computer. Now it goes on the web. Writing for a more public audience improves those ideas at the outset, forcing me to think through and explain some of my own assumptions. It also lets others point out early flaws in my thinking, and provides versions of my writing that are more easily digestible for a broader public audience. I have found it to be personally helpful as a scholar, and would recommend it to my colleagues as a useful tool. Blogs such as this one are not intended for the lofty goals of reaching the public audience, affecting policy makers, or anything of that sort. They are simply a tool for researchers to improve their writing, tease out new ideas, and potentially learn from each other more effectively.
While davidkarpf.com is intended to be a stable and unchanging repository of my professional work, shoutingloudly is the online space where I preview new ideas. I would encourage visitors to this site to take a look at that blog for fresh content, and to offer your own ideas in the comment threads if you are thus motivated.
Shouting Loudly posts of interest (updated versions in parentheses, and available on the “conference papers” page of this site):
December 30, 2008: “The MoveOn Effect Gets Charitable.” (eventually became a dissertation chapter and conference paper)
October 22, 2008: “2008’s ‘Macaca Moment'” (eventually became my YouTube and the 2008 Election conference paper, now under Revise and Resubmit Status)
February 27, 2009: “Tweeting Their Way to Victory? Color Me Confused” (incorporated into a book chapter for DigiActive’s To Make a New World: Critical Issues in Digital Activism)
March 6, 2009: “Conservatives on Twitter Cont’d, Plus My Latest Blogosphere Research” (findings from my 2009 MPSA paper, currently being updated for a book chapter)
January 17, 2009: “Obama Unveils Organizing for America. Hold Onto Your Hats, This Just Got Interesting” (incorporated into the conclusion chapter of my dissertation)
October 22, 2009: “Reputation 2.0?” (revised into a conference paper for WebSci’09. The paper has now been accepted for publication in IEEE Intelligent Systems)