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A new blog! and a mini-rant about co-blogging! June 14, 2007

Posted by Ben Webster in blog triumphalism.
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I see Fernando Rodriguez Villegas (one of the organizers of the AIM workshop that I wrote about earlier) was inspired to start a blog around the same time we were. Unfortunately, he says he is going on vacation for a month, but the two real posts he’s done so far have been pretty good.

This seems to point out to me why having co-bloggers is such a good idea. When I was thinking about starting a blog, I didn’t even consider doing it on my own, because I knew I wouldn’t post consistently enough to do a blog worth reading, and because I feel like having a group blog is a positive sum activity, that really encourages interaction between the bloggers, not to mention that it lowers pressure on everybody. I feel like this is clear if you read enough group blogs, but I feel like older mathematicians, perhaps because they’re less familiar with the form, seem to have not picked up on this fact (well, with at least one exception).

Accordingly, I have a modest proposal: rather than each having an individual blog, Terry Tao, Richard Borcherds and Alain Connes should all blog together (in fact, all the Fields medalists should have a blog together. This would be the best blog ever). And all you blogging mathematicians out there, find some cobloggers!

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Comments

1. A.J. - June 14, 2007

I’m not sure Tao needs anyone to help him produce more material. :)

2. Scott Morrison - June 14, 2007

In fact, I don’t know if I would have had nearly as much enthusiasm for getting started here if I hadn’t already been reading the The n-Category Café and there seen the wonders of `group blogging’.

3. Allen Knutson - June 14, 2007

I wouldn’t post consistently enough to do a blog worth reading

This is one of the principal reasons I use an RSS aggregator (Bloglines) — to read rarely posted blogs that it would be too frustrating to check on. Basically, I’m saying that I don’t see the problem. Obviously you should blog however you prefer.

4. Ben Webster - June 14, 2007

This is one of the principal reasons I use an RSS aggregator (Bloglines) — to read rarely posted blogs that it would be too frustrating to check on. Basically, I’m saying that I don’t see the problem. Obviously you should blog however you prefer.

I certainly agree that this is much less of a problem because RSS readers exist, but not everybody uses them (though they should. Some slow day in the not to distant future, I expect to write a post praising Google Reader to the heavens)

But it’s a fair point that what I really meant is “if I had a blog on my own, I would feel much worse about the frequency of my posting.” Perhaps that’s an attitude problem on my part, but I think it’s a common enough attitude to suggest group blogging at least as an entrée to the form.

Perhaps the other advantages are more important, though. For example, I think saying “hey X, start a blog” is a much less successful tactic for getting X (where in this case X=A.J., Scott, Joel, David and Noah) to blog than saying “hey X, come write some posts on this blog I’ve already started.”

5. tdstephen3 - June 15, 2007

As an undergrad, the various blogs mentioned above not only supply unpredictable inspirations but they illucidate the conversational aspects of professional mathematics. Thank you to the hosts of the Secret Blogging Seminar for being who you are, the generation of academics who have been exposed to such a cornicopia of information -

“— I wouldn’t post consistently enough to do a blog worth reading, and because I feel like having a group blog is a positive sum activity, that really encourages interaction between the bloggers, not to mention that it lowers pressure on everybody.—-”

and unashamedly pointing out the realities of this semi-anonymous/highly competive and extremely fruitful format of communication.

“—– And all you blogging mathematicians out there, find some cobloggers!—–”

I am exhilerated by the prospect of co-blogging, as an amateur… with appropriate co-bloggers, of course.

6. John Armstrong - June 16, 2007

tdstephen: Why do you say it’s highly competitive? If anything I’d say that a weblog is the least competitive format I’ve seen for talking about math. There’s so much to talk about and so much space in the market here that you’re not stepping on anyone’s toes. I can go through my (relatively basic) expository line, The n-Category Café can toss ideas back and forth about bleeding-edge topics, and Gooseania can let out his frustrations at his research, and the intarwobs collect it all into one tube so that an audience doesn’t have to pick and choose one or the other.

7. Geoff - June 17, 2007

But if there’s one thing that we’ve learned from today’s mass media, its that more than three or so avenues of expression will make all our heads *a-splode*… So are you trying doom us all John? Are you? :D

In all seriousness though, discovering math blogs has gotten me very excited. Now if I could only remember how on earth I found The Unapologetic Mathematician…

8. John Armstrong - June 17, 2007

Geoff: A lot of people did through Not Even Wrong or The n-Category Café when they linked me shortly after I started.


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