Today at the Center for History and New Media, Jeremy Boggs gave a presentation on the History Blogosphere (as of today). This blog entry is being written as he speaks, just to give you an idea of the potential immediacy of blogging. His presentation links are available on his blog.
According to Jeremy, Cliopatria is now tracking several hundred history blogs…quite the emerging community. To get a quick look at some of the best, take a look at Jeremy’s list of the Cliopatria awards. Among the best designed is Frog in a Well, one of the few history blogs with real design, as opposed to just using one of the templates (as is the case with the blog you are reading). For those with designs on better design of their history blog, Jeremy recommended Blog Design Solutions.
Several of the better blogs (including Cliopatria and Frog in a Well) Jeremy showed were group blogs. These have the advantage of multiple people posting content and multiple perspectives on associated topics. They also fly in the face of the common practice of blogs as being narcicisstic.
For more on what Glenn Reynolds (Instapundit) has to say about the “Golden Age of Blogging”, check out the interview with him on the Kojo Nnamdi Show on WAMU (88.5 FM in Washington). The podcast itself is available via iTunes.
Some of the questions from the group in attendance were about who is blogging in the history community, why they would do it, and how they can control the look and feel of their blogs. Several in the audience agreed that they found many blogs a little hard to read and no one spoke up in favor of lots of scrolling down the screen (surprise, surprise). We also discussed the implications of what one writes, including the possible hazards.
If you want to know which of the many history blogs is Jeremy’s favorite, check out Old is the New New.
Conclusions? An emerging conversation about the past is taking place in blogs, largely outside the view of mainstream academia. What will this mean for our profession? For the study of history? As of today, it’s too soon to tell.