Excellent two part article on Personal knowledge publishing and its uses in research by Sébastien Paquet
Among the many interesting points he makes is one on the question of quality:
Quality emerges in weblogs largely as a result of the web of hyperlinks that is weaved by the community of editors. Although it is true that there is no review process prior to publishing, one definitely occurs immediately after publication.
As people read others’ weblogs, they link selectively to the content that they find interesting. Content that has been referenced more often directly obtains more visibility….
Note that these dynamics mirror those of academic publishing: articles that are cited more often are more visible and are read more. This is useful in two respects: it encourages quality, and it makes it more likely that people will find the most relevant documents.
Oliver Wrede provides a really excellent framework for thinking about weblogs in higher ed in this detailed conference paper.
He begins be emphasising that blogs create a particular form of authorship:
Weblogs are not special because of their technology but because of the practice and authorship they shape. And it is a practice that will require a weblog author to be connected to processes, discourses and communities.
He goes on to specifiy this:
Weblogs combine two oppositional principles: monologue and dialogue. A reaction to a statement is not only directed to the sender but also to unknown readers. Very often the weblogger gets feedback from unexpected source: new relations and contexts emerge. This (assumed) undirected communication developes to an open and involving activity.
Weblogs not only enable interaction with other webloggers, they offer a way to engage in a discoursive exchange with the author’s self (intrapersonal conversation). A weblog becomes an active partner in communication, because it demands consistent criteria for what will be posted to a weblog (and how). This »indirect monologic dialog« of weblogs allow to conduct communicative acts that otherwise would only be possible in very particular circumstances.
The whole paper is really worth a read and I will come back to it.