Academic Historians, Civil War History, and Blogging

One of the characteristics of blogging that I view with ambivalence is the practice of blogging about blogging. I know that some bloggers like to discuss this issue every once in a while, and some have offered powerful cases for the importance of social media as a way for historians to communicate. I’m not so sure I want to join that chorus, although I agree that historians ignore social media and the internet at their peril given how people interested in history go about gathering information and opinions.

I admit that I feel a bit ill at ease about being on a panel on blogging at next month’s Civil War Institute at Gettysburg College …. not because of the company (Kevin Levin and Keith Harris) but because it’s not clear what I have to say. I try not to tell other historians what they should and should not be doing, and in the case of blogging, I’ve already heard complaints about this session from non-academic bloggers who feel excluded. I’m surprised I haven’t heard anyone complain that it’s Charlottesville-centric (or that Gettysburg College and the University of Virginia share the same school colors). My purposes in blogging are mine, and others may have different ones. However, the impact of blogging (on bloggers as well as on the audience and the discussion) is interesting, and I must confess that after years of engaging with carious forms of social media, blogging is my preferred venue of communication (although I remain fond of the well-moderated discussion group).

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