Several off the cuff reasons: contemporary academics need to be networked academics, in all senses of the word; blogs allow you to establish a research identity in the public sphere; blogs allow you to establish and participate within appropriate communities of practice; blogs allow you to document your research as a process; blogs provide an avenue for publication.
At the same time on Wednesday we had a meeting of the mostly untenured faculty in the school, in which we were told anything we put up on the web is simply a waste of time and likely to work against our tenure.
Now, the thing is, I know that it’s good for grad students to do this. I know that you need to network with other scholars and share ideas and do all the kinds of things that blogs end up being great for. I love what some of my new grad students this year are doing in their blogs, and I know that it will be good for their careers.
But I also know that the senior faculty are right. You don’t get tenure without funded research, and blogging is a waste of time.
Of course, once you get tenure, you can go back to acting like a grad student: still working hard as hell, but for the love of the work. Why can’t pre-tenure profs act like grad students and tenured faculty? Why is this process so… backward?