OK, so I know I've been non-blogging for too damned long.
I finished my dissertation this past April and graduated from WashU on May 15.
So that represents my magnum opus of commentaries on St Louis politics, which occupied most of my 'free' time over the past two years or so.
Of course, I hope my future does not hold the same fate as that one other guy who was a STL native and got a PhD in poli sci at WashU. Hmmm.
Really, though, most academics would tell you their dissertation was the worst thing they ever wrote. It may be bound and put in the library, but it's not really a publication. It is a degree-completion requirement.
But it's a really nice feeling to see your name in print, anyway.
Maybe someday I will have some publications in peer-reviewed journals, but I'm nowhere near that point as yet.
So that's been my big project for the past two years that took most of my energies for writing and thoughtful commentary.
Meanwhile, the opposite of thoughtful commentary -- social networks -- is where I've been found more often lately. I have more-or-less active profiles on:
...and I'm working on GovLoop (where my profile still needs lots of work).
I guess I'm also on Xing but that's one that I have not really used much so I'm not even sure how to find my profile there.
MySpace, well, I'm staying away from that one.
Twitter was particularly fascinating during the Iranian election crisis. Twitter is a very different vehicle because users simply "follow" each other, without claiming to be "Friends" or "Trusted Connections."
I cannot claim that social networks facilitate thoughtful debate on local issues -- but then again, that's not necessarily what political blogs do, either.
Different electronic tools are useful in different situations. The challenge is figuring out what to use when -- and when to ultimately disengage from the technology and instead try to connect with real people in a more meaningful way.
Not that I'm a particular expert on any of this; just some thoughts.