. . . [A]cademic blogging represents the fruition, not a betrayal, of the university's ideals. One might argue that blogging is in fact the very embodiment of what the political philosopher Michael Oakshott once called "The Conversation of Mankind"—an endless, thoroughly democratic dialogue about the best ideas and artifacts of our culture. Drezner's blog, for example, is hardly of the "This is what I did today …" variety. Rather, he usually writes about globalization and political economy—the very subjects on which he publishes in prestigious, peer-reviewed presses and journals. If his prose style in the blog is more engaging than that of the typical academic's, the thinking behind it is no less rigorous or intelligent.I would also add that, in some ways, academic blogging is more challenging than traditional scholarly writing. At its best, it's scholarship without a safety net. The traditional model imposes lots of layers of review between an author and his audience. An academic writer might start with a draft, and then review it himself; get reviews and suggestions from friends; get reviews from colleagues; suggestions from experts in related areas; reviews from workshops; and then reviews and suggestions from editors. By the time the article is published, it may reflect as much the views of friends, colleagues, and editors as the views of the writer himself.
In contrast, blog posts are unfiltered. The author writes up a few paragraphs and presses "Publish," instantly exposing the idea to an audience of hundreds or even thousands of people (and in the case of the VC, maybe tens of thousands). A traditional draft with a dumb idea is never seen or quickly forgotten; a blog post with a dumb idea gets linked to around the globe and is preserved online in perpetuity.