We managed before there was blogging, of course.
In grad school my time on campus was limited, and I was constantly tantalized by the many talks and events that I had to miss. But when I had the opportunity to attend a lecture that sounded interesting, even— mostly— talks on subjects that had nothing to do with my field, I couldn’t resist. And it happened that more than once, a speaker said something serendipitous, something completely irrelevant to my work that nevertheless lit a fire in me. It sparked an idea, a new way of thinking about the chapter I was writing at the time.
Today The Dish, one of my favorite blogs, showcases two bloggers who credit blogging as an excellent process to develop and refine new ideas. Both stress the importance of sociality.
Intellectual work is a social process, says political scientist Jay Ulfelder. He endorses blogging:
As elements in the process of developing ideas, blogs are neither necessary nor sufficient for the task, but they are undoubtedly powerful catalysts.
Ulfelder cites philosopher Daniel Little, who says he gets new ideas about a topic as he develops them through the blog. “It makes the process of writing a more dynamic one, with lots of room for self-correction and feedback from others.”