Rising Out of Beta Mode!

Those proud and few readers who knew about MBE from the outset realize that you have been guinea pigs in an extremely small-scale experiment—one that I told few people about and sometimes pondered setting aside.

By now have received sufficient positive feedback, and have enjoyed working on MBE enough, that today I took the plunge of sending the email below to a few hundred people in my email address book.

Thus the experiment moves to a somewhat higher level.

The journal I studied in my first book—referenced here—loved to recycle a sentence from its inaugural issue, to the effect (don’t quote me!) that “we do not promise or threaten to go on forever, but will try to continue for as long as it seems to do more good than harm.” That seems like a useful motto to repeat today. Meanwhile I’m reposting my email here in case I want to send it as an URL later.

Dear friends and colleagues,

Last summer, during a media workshop I was required to attend, I faced a choice between setting up and experimenting with a new Twitter account or a new WordPress blog.

I chose the blog. Then I proceeded to tell almost no one about my first few posts, because this truly was experimental in a strong sense.

If I were on Facebook, likely many of you would have read some of my subsequent posts by now. And gradually I did share a few of these with a few of you. So perhaps some of them made it into Facebook’s notorious databank that way.

But I am not on Facebook. In fact, I conceive my time spent on this blog to be in zero-sum conflict with time on Twitter and Facebook. I freely admit that this makes the blog parasitic on my friends’ Facebook and Twitter accounts, at least if it is destined to circulate very far, but I see no remedy for the situation.

In any case, I did want you to know (since I can’t do this via Facebook) that MBE, Mark’s Blogging Experiment, is a thing now—moving out of beta mode—and invite you to take a look at it.

Here is the front page

The AAUP’s Academe blog recently reposted three pieces I wrote about “assessment regimes” and the politics of academia. If you are thinking today about the teachers’ strikes unfolding in the US and UK, or about my school’s (perhaps yours too?) recent attacks on tenure, you might like to click on them. Here is the first one.

If you want to read more about the general experiment, this is a good place to start.

I wish I could write personalized notes to each of you! But since I can’t, I will just send blanket good wishes and promise to reply personally if you respond. Also, once more I underline the word “experiment” about this endeavor. Although I’ve enjoyed working on the project so far, it might not make sense in the long run unless it includes wider collective communication than it has had so far in “beta mode.” I am very interested in hearing your honest feedback about this ongoing question.

All best wishes,


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