Neuron Culture

In the intro to his self-published (on collection of blog posts, The Wreck of the Henry Clay, New Yorker contributor Caleb Crain sums up nicely the anxieties shared by at least one other writer-with-blogging-addon about blogging, and, by extension, about self-publishing books. Which I may just do myself soon — a collection — because I CAN. Ellipses are mine.

I came to blogging … as a veteran of print…. [and so] came to blogging nervous about losing what footing I had there… The quandary: If I wanted to communicate an important discovery, shouldn’t I write it up formally, either for money (i.e., journalism) or prestige( scholarship)? If a discover wasn’t worth these rewards, was a casual communication of it worth risking my reputation, such as it was, for accuracy and deliberation?… To speculate beyond one’s area of expertise, based on no more than intuition and a few pieces of evidence, which happened to be new to oneself but not might be to specialists — wasn’t that a recipe for broadcasting one’s ignorance? And at the pit of my stomach, as I contemplated my efforts to make a living as a freelancer, lay another question: Would my editors continue to buy the cow if I was dispensing the milk for free on my blog?

This last question, Crain notes, turns out to be a good one.

Do check this out.

Posted via web from David Dobbs’s Somatic Marker


  1. #1 Christopher Mims
    September 21, 2009

    But does he answer that question? Certainly there is a fine line between getting significant utility out of a blog – building your personal brand, scratching an itch that your regular writing doesn’t – and getting used by a blog, whether or not that blog contributes to someone else’s bottom line (like Scienceblogs) or doesn’t (if you’re blogging on your own). I would have liked to hear more about *your* views on this subject.

    You’ll notice that my own blog isn’t one, really. But on the other hand I can’t resist the social bookmarking service that is twitter. So perhaps I’m no less guilty of frittering away what could be paid time!

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