Blogging and an Intellectual Bottom Line

Tyler Cowen, in a post titled Blogging as self-experimentation, notes:

Blogging makes us more oriented toward an intellectual bottom line, more interested in the directly empirical, more tolerant of human differences, more analytical in the course of daily life, more interested in people who are interesting, and less patient with Continental philosophy.

Yeah! Three other effects for me:

1. It’s made me participate in more public conversations. When formerly private conversations go public, the quality increases.

2. Knowing you’re going to blog an experience changes the experience itself; as you live it, you think about it in the context of how you’ll describe it to others.

3. The transparency of personal blogs keeps you on your toes. To quote myself:

Auto-pilot is lazy. I try to avoid it, but since most strangers ask me the same 5 questions it’s seductively easy to slip into. Except when that person’s been reading my blog. They know my one-liners. They know my interests. They know when I’m bullshitting…Transparency forces me to really focus to what someone’s saying and to construct new ideas based on what I take in, instead of reverting to my theories of yesterday.

3 comments on “Blogging and an Intellectual Bottom Line
  • What’s this business about intolerance towards Continental philosophy? If nothing else, I’ve become more patient with Continental philosophy as I’ve become part of the world wide web. You begin understanding how cultural shifts can affect the viewpoints of others. Further, the phenomenological–the very substratum of postmodern/Continental philosophy–is the subject of most blogging culture. What gives?

  • It is so true. As someone who writes about my travels in a blog, I think it heightens my travels. I am more aware of my surroundings, the textures on peoples faces, the “odd” moments that seem quite normal at the time but would make a wonderful blog… Makes me wish I had a blog 10 years ago when I started! Blogging has made the “moment” occur even more vivid for me because as it has happening I am trying to describe it in words.

  • I agree with the idea that knowing you’ll be writing about an experience for an audience intensifies the moment, helps you focus and remember all the details. I spent a summer traveling with my foster brother in (way back before laptops and blogs were the norm). We had the back-in-the-day, 1996 version of a blog: weekly letters written home (yes, on paper with ink and stamps). The originals were copied and handed out to everyone who had requested a “subscription”. The letters were usually hilarious (because weird s**t just kept happening to us) and probably a vicarious thrill for the readers. The point is that we knew we were writing for an audience, and it not only heightened the experiences as they happened, it helped me organize my writing thoughts and seared that entire summer into my memory. Plus there’s the bonus of having a history of your intense moments that you can read over again when you’re in the old folks’ home and can’t remember who you are or were.

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