Daniel R. DePetris: The Political Docket

Why Blogging and Tweeting Matters

Posted in Uncategorized, United States by Dan on June 13, 2010

I came across a pretty interesting article by Drew Conway, a PhD student at New York University, about the importance of blogs in today’s environment and how graduate students (or those in undergrad for that matter) can take advantage of the many tools that blogging has to offer.

The reason I’m commenting on this post is because blogs have taken on an inherent value in American society.  You can’t go far on the internet without stumbling upon a wide variety of blogs, most of which redirect you to other blogs that you had no idea existed.  Everything from sports to politics, security to celebratory gossip is discussed, and virtually no issue is left untouched by today’s blogosphere.

But besides the exponential rise of blogs on the internet today, online forums provide a much needed service in the field of amateur (and professional) journalism.  Online forums, whether it be a blog, a message board, a facebook account, or a twitter feed, are extremely beneficial to the average Joe (like myself) who has something worthwhile to say to the public.  In fact, before the adoption and growth of blogs on the internet, the ordinary citizen really didn’t have a proper venue to get certain things off his or her chest, besides the brief “letter to the editor” section in local newspapers.  But even the “letter to the editor” section had its limits; most concerned citizens get rejected due to space and content constraints, particularly in nationwide publications like the New York Times, the Washington Post, or the Wall Street Journal.

So it came as burst of fresh air that some aspiring students in academia are becoming accustomed to forming their own blogs.

Here’s the brief conversation I had with Drew yesterday:

Me: Drew, spot on.  This post had to be said, because from my own personal viewpoint, I see very few of my peers experimenting with the thousands of forums and message boards that contribute to the online discourse. Granted, I am still relatively young in my college career; I just recently graduated at the undergrad level and am heading to grad school in the fall. But even with this limited journey in academia so far, I’m consistently baffled by the fact that students in the human sciences neglect to take advantage of the internet.

There is a whole world out there besides the dusty coated books in the library and the up-to-the-date textbooks we are forced to buy on an annual basis. The world of print media is quickly being succumbed by websites and tweets, if it hasn’t been already. Academics like Steve Walt, Marc Lynch, Peter Bergen and the like have all expanded their knowledge base and following through the establishment of their blogs. And for the most part, all three of these individuals have increased their stature in the IR community like never before. In fact, I didn’t hear much about Walt before I ventured onto his blog at ForeignPolicy.com.

Naturally, you would think that M.A. and PhD students today would follow their example. I started blogging relatively early (my own blog is approaching its one-year anniversary this month), and some of my friends have indeed follow suit. It would just be refreshing to see more ideas out there (especially in the field of political science and IR), thus generating more debate and more networking.

Drew: I am very pleased to see that you have taken up blogging—particularly in your undergrad. Best of luck, and keep up the great work (just checked out The Docket)!

And of course, other people contributed to the conversation as well.


-Daniel R. DePetris

Journalist Blogs - BlogCatalog Blog DirectoryStumbleUpon.com


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