Monday, December 19, 2011

The blogging life

This confession comes from the brilliant Mark Thoma who writes Economist's View:
A recent email prompts me to explain something.

I post lots of excerpts from articles about economics, but one thing you can't read at this site is the stuff I write for other outlets, instead I mostly link (e.g. the links to CBS, The Economist, and FDL from the last day or so in the posts below, and there will be a link to a column tomorrow).

I should explain the reason, because it may not be what you think. It's not an attempt to send traffic to the other sites. It's because I am one of those people who never, ever thinks the things they write are any good. Thus, when I'm done with a piece I never think it is good enough to post here. So I try to hide behind links. And sometimes, I don't even link (occasionally I find the courage to post things, but mostly I don't, and I can hardly read the comments when I do).

Deep down I hope you'll click through and not hate what you read, and it's always a big relief when the response is positive. That keeps me going. But I always fear otherwise -- that the dumb-ass of the day award is surely coming my way (perhaps for this post).

Anyway, because of the email I thought I should explain why I mostly link to my own stuff instead of highlighting it on my site. It's just me and my silly self-consciousness -- me thinking my stuff isn't good enough to post on my site.
My reaction upon reading that is essentially: !!!!! I've never thought twice about Thoma's practice. I just assumed that he wrote elsewhere and he was happy to point others to the sites that he posts at and just didn't want to duplicate the exercise. To think that a respected economist who writes at the CBS site and The Economist site is so humble and self-critical about his writing is refreshing and admirable. He clearly cares about what he is doing and how it is received. Kudos to him.

If you don't read his site, I recommend it. One of my faves from 2011. The linking that he does is quite valuable in and of itself. Some of the best stuff on the web from a progressive economics perspective. I am also someone who subscribes to the view that blogging is free style. A post can be a simple link here and there, it can be highlighting material from elsewhere with interspersed commentary, it can be essay style. Andrew Sullivan is one of the best bloggers in the world, IMHO, and his blog is largely sharing information. I guess it depends on what you are interested in, what you like to see, but that's my view anyway. Thoma's blog is in that vein and is valuable for that reason. Almost 50,000 Google Reader subscribers can't be wrong!

And I share in his sentiment, by the way. I too am "one of those people who never, ever thinks the things they write are any good." True story. There are probably a lot of us out here!