Blog Posts – Those Unpublished Drafts
Peter Rawsthorne’s list of ‘half-finished’ blog posts reminds me that I have several texts at various stages of development myself. Some of the participants in my PhD research described similar blogging practices when it came to generating unpublished drafts.
Having multiple texts (or at least ideas for texts) ‘on the go’ at any one time is not exclusive to academics who blog. As curious and engaged researchers, we create numerous short-form and informal texts in our everyday academic actives; to make notes, record events and projects, conceptualise and synthesise ideas, and construct arguments. However, in deciding to share some of these in the public domain, the academic blogger encounters additional motivations and considerations as to when (s)he decides to publish them, and in what state. Many bloggers it seems, may have a number of blog posts in draft form, at various stages of completion, at any one time. But there is little discussion around how they determine if and when a blog post is considered ‘finished’ and ready for public view.
Attitudes to how ‘well-written,’ substantive or formalised a blog post should be may differ considerably. Anyone who reads this blog regularly will know I have a flexible attitude to what constitutes a blog post – and have argued previously for the blogging space as a site for experimentation (in format, style, content and subjectivity), free of many of the constraints associated with formal academic outputs.
Topicality can be a factor here too. Bloggers may feel it necessary to draft a blog post quickly if it is in response to another blog post (such as this one), or if it is related to a breaking event or a new publication. However, some posts may remain dormant and incomplete for some time if there is little impetuous to finish and publish them.
The strategy of stockpiling completed drafts may also be a common practice. Though I think the pressure to blog regularly is often over-emphasised, having a number of posts ‘in reserve’ can be seen as being useful, particularly for busy periods when blogging is a low priority. In addition, some posts may be temporarily withheld if they compromise formal publication opportunities, or simply kept for a time when they will have the most impact.