Matt Phillpott has recently discussed the results of a survey carried out for Blogging for Historians, a project that investigates the use of blogs by archives, libraries and historians. Participants were asked what they thought worked well in a blog in terms of content and, also, what worked less well. ” The results”, Phillpott notices, “were interesting”.
Many of the responses noted the need for posts to be short, around 300-500 words. Participants also underlined the need for blog posts to deal “with a straightforward subject: one question asked and answered, a review …, or ‘problem’ topics”. The need for images was noted quite often, which Phillpott attributes to “a desire for some visual interest to act as a further stimulus”.
The principal content singled out as unsuitable to the blog format was “long essays or narratives”. There were also some suggestions that the use of footnotes and other scholarly apparatus should be avoided. Blogs were described as inappropriate for the presentation of full scale research, but well suited to snippets, composed in “a more relaxed writing style”. Participants, Phillpott says,
did strongly seem to argue for short, succinct, and informal posts, with pictures, but not too personal.
For a further discussion of the survey results, read this other post on Blogging for Historians.