On being a pundit

By Razib Khan | September 5, 2012 10:51 pm

Back the summer of 2002 I recall a friend of mine telling me, “so you’re a pundit now!” I’d been blogging for a few months, and I didn’t feel like a pundit, whatever that meant. ~10 years on I guess I am a pundit. In that vein I was discussing with a friend what it took “to be a blogger” (they wanted to get into the game). First, blogger is a rather expansive category. I have no idea what one would need to do to be a food blogger beyond any old person off the street. But I do know how to be what I am. I focus on three things:

* Precision
* Accuracy
* Novelty

And exactly in that order. It’s of the essence you say what you mean to say. Confusions will still occur, but you can mitigate it by trying to be precise. Accuracy is important, but not as important. That’s because I don’t know everything very well. I’m going to be wrong a lot of the time. I know what I think I know, and so can be precise in my description, but I don’t know what I don’t know, and can only do my best in terms of accuracy. Finally, there’s novelty. This is a tricky one. I find that when I do novelty if I’m short & sweet it’s really hard to be precise and accurate. If I have a novel idea then that’s the sort of seed which is going to grow into a post on the order of 5-10,000 words. I can’t manage that very often, so I don’t really do novelty.

Since we’re focused on precision, what I mean by novel refers to ideas and concepts which are new and surprising to me, and which I think will be new and surprising to readers. The “bread & butter” of this weblog probably consists of the churn of new readers who are surprised by the numerous topics which I’ve discussed at various depths and lengths over the years. But in many ways this is just cognitive recycling and elaboration. This is a needful thing, but it’s not introducing fresh and startling ideas to the world.

CATEGORIZED UNDER: Blog, Uncategorized
MORE ABOUT: Blogging

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About Razib Khan

I have degrees in biology and biochemistry, a passion for genetics, history, and philosophy, and shrimp is my favorite food. In relation to nationality I'm a American Northwesterner, in politics I'm a reactionary, and as for religion I have none (I'm an atheist). If you want to know more, see the links at http://www.razib.com


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