Friday, February 27, 2009

The misuse of blogs

As I write my first entry in this blog I wonder how it is that I have gotten to having a blog. I have, and have been vocal about, several major objections to the existence of blogs. For the most part, they all stem from the categorical misuse of blogs by other entities; for example, newspapers and other news sources citing random things said by random people in blogs as evidence, giving them a weight disproportionate to what they are. Typically, a blog entry is just someone's thoughts and opinions, and not hard evidence. (Note that thoughts and opinions are evidence of something, just typically not of what those thoughts and opinions claim.)

The idea that blogs are collections of thoughts and opinions brings me to my next point, and an argument that blogs are misused. While we all have many thoughts and many opinions, I would be surprised if even the most influential people had more than, say, a couple thoughts and opinions per week that were worth sharing with others. Those who keep a "daily newsletter" or write in their blogs more frequently than weekly simply shift the responsibility of weeding out the important nuggets of information onto the readers.

Thus, I vow to average no more than one post per week in this blog, and, significantly more importantly, to try to distill what I say to information that others may actually find interesting and helpful.

Having said all that, the purpose of this blog is to describe the experience of a young researcher (currently a postdoc in computer science at USC) as he goes through his quest to become an impactful and successful academic. As such, I will post on issues related to academia, research, computer science and mathematics, and general university policies. Knowing myself, a few entries on the Red Sox, and perhaps ultimate frisbee, will sneak into this blog as well.