The Future of the Academic Blog

I just read that after four years and one thousand posts, The China Beat is shutting down. For those unfamiliar, The China Beat is (was?) an excellent blog covering modern China. Posts were written by people both inside and outside of academia, but were almost always excellent and informative. For those of us on the fringes of the blogosphere, it was something to aspire to.

As I understand it from their final goodbye post, part of the reason The China Beat is shutting down involves changing currents in the technological dissemination of information. The blog is passé, twitter and Facebook are in. I hope this is not true. Part of the idea behind blogs such as The China Beat was to bring intelligent, reasoned and supported discussion of contemporary issues beyond the walls of academia. What happens when we try to bring that discussion to twitter and Facebook? Twitter may be great for sharing news quickly, but how much intelligent commentary can you really provide in 140 characters?

I have enjoyed The China Beat, and I wish them well. For whatever it is worth, I also hope that the blog sticks around for a while longer as a viable format for disseminating ideas and provoking discussions.

2 Replies to “The Future of the Academic Blog”

  1. Dear G.,

    While it may be sad to see China Beat going off the web, I wouldn’t be so pessimistic about the future of blogging. Constant tweeting is just an annoyance, and like facebook that phase shall pass and we’ll still be here blithely blogging away as if there were no tomorrow. Well, at least once a month. And we’ll still have many dozens of readers, no doubt about it.

    Blog on!


  2. Dear G,
    To judge from my recent experiments, if you join Facebook you can post links to your blog and get some more traffic that way, if traffic is what you are looking for. Not me. I decided that experiment was a failure, and dropped out of Facebook. Facebook will take all your time away from blogging, so you’ll have nothing to which to link, is what I think. Now I’m beefing things up so the blog looks less popular, and more exploratory and informative (I hope). Even if you don’t FB or Twitter, some of your friends will spread the word about your blogs without your say-so. And if you find it challenging to quit either ‘social’ site there are videos on Youtube to help you through the process. Just do a video search for “quitting Facebook.” I still say, Blog on! Otherwise the only literature to be found on the web will be the soulless, unthoughtful and disrespectful kinds that are easily blurted. You have to choose, blogging or blurting, never both. My best,

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