When I started my job three years ago, people (who shall remain nameless) suggested that blogs were an interesting diversion, but would never be a subject of serious academic study. “Why not study decision support systems?” And while it has been nice to see wide coverage in the press, this just served to support the opinion, for some, that it wasn’t a phenomenon worth studying. How nice to get the latest issue of the Communications of the ACM and see this cover.
Even nicer is to open it up and find some wonderful articles focusing on some serious descriptive work. I am particularly taken by Kumar et al’s (the Almaden folks, natch) article that looks at some of the structure of livejournal, and it’s not just because they cite the work Jia Lin and I have been doing. Along with the Nardi et al piece in here, I think I now have a couple of very good articles to hand to the increasing number of people who knock on my door and say “where’s a good entry point for the literature on weblogging”? And, at the same time, there is something oddly fetishistic about the trauma of going mainstream: at the same time the comfort of knowing that if studying blogs was a folly it is at least a folly that lots of people more respectable than I am have fallen into, and at the same time, the feeling that you may have been so into what was happening right around your own board, that you have failed to see the next incoming wave.
Time to start paddling.