Rob Jenkins, a community college professor, recently wrote a blog post for the Chronicle of Higher Education in which he questioned the value of blogging. Most who teach in higher education are involved in a world that requires them to publish in order to retain their livelihood, yet blog posts are often not counted as published material. Since blogs have the power to shape how people think about issues, Jenkins asks important questions:
Which ultimately does more good—an article or monograph that is read by 20 or 30 people in a very narrow field, or a blog post on a topic of interest to many (such as grading standards or tenure requirements) that is read by 200,000? What if the post spurs hundreds of comments, is debated publicly in faculty lounges and classrooms, and gets picked up by newspapers and Web sites across the country—in other words, it helps to shape the national debate over some hot-button issue? What is it worth then?
I am in a position quite similar to Jenkins. My position in higher education is not dependent on what I publish. As higher education continues to change, I imagine faculty expectations will also shift (including those related to publication). I am hopeful that conditions will provide a means to recognize contributions faculty make through blogging.
As I think about the value of a blog post, I also wonder about ministry. How much a pastor’s blogging is valued by her or his congregation varies widely.
- Does your congregation’s pastor (or does one of your pastors or key lay leaders) blog? If so, how often do you read the content?
- What do you believe to be the “value” of a pastor’s blog posts? to her or his congregation? to the broader conversation about issues?