So then, it's a new academic program straight outta Duke University: "Write(H)ers," which will, according to the Duke Chronicle, "create a community of feminist-oriented writers," by, you know, teaching women how to blog. Specifically—direct quote—"The 23 members of the program will participate in personal blogging." This new program is officially sponsored by the Women's Center at Duke University, a school with a tuition of $43,623 per year.
As strong supporters of feminist-oriented writers and bloggers, let us be very clear: this is a total fucking scam.
One way to look at this program—the way that Duke University would like you to look at it—is, "Hey, I support feminism, and I like the idea of blogging, therefore, because one plus one equals two, I think this program is a great thing, and, by the way, go Blue Devils!" Another, more accurate way to look at this program is, "Hey, here is a great example of a very expensive private university creating a pseudoacademic program out of an activity that can most effectively be learned absolutely free outside of the bounds of academia. Though it superficially gives the impression of benefiting women, it will, in fact, mostly benefit Duke University itself."
You do not learn to blog by enrolling in a program at Duke University. The very fine guest lecturers that the Write(H)ers [side note: the name "Write(H)ers" implies that it is a riff on the nonsensical word "Writeers." Please rethink] program plans to bring in to speak to the kids—including Gawker Media alum Irin Carmon—did not learn to blog by enrolling in a program at Duke University. The finest bloggers, meaning the finest writers who happen to write primarily online, got good, like every other writer, by reading, and writing. These things—particularly the writing part—can be accomplished for free, without ever paying a penny to Duke or any other university, and without filling out an application form to an academic program. I hear Tumblr.com works well. Contributing "three blog posts over the course of the semester" is not going to help you. Sorry.
I do not mean to mock the goals of the students who have enrolled in this program. On the contrary. I wish to help them. I cannot, in good conscience, be said to be an expert in virtually any field on the face of this earth, except for professional blogging. I am a professional blogger. (And a feminist! Though this advice goes for anyone.) In fact, I guarantee you, the 23 students in the Duke University Write(H)ers program, that my credentials as a professional blogger exceed those of your professor. And now, for the spectacularly low price of free, I am going to tell you, based upon my experience in the heart of the professional blog world, what the reaction will be when we read on your job application that you are qualified to be a blogger because you graduated from the Duke University Write(H)ers program:
1. We will laugh at you.
We will laugh at you not because we are opposed to the creation of a community of feminist-oriented writers; we are not. We will laugh at you because the fact that you felt the need to enroll in a program at Duke University in order to learn how to be a feminist blogger is indicative of a worrying lack of common sense on your part. If you sincerely believe that you need highly mediated academic instruction from Duke, or any other university, in order to learn how to write on blogs—a medium whose prime benefit is its lack of barriers to entry or institutional mediation—then perhaps you don't really "get" what this is all supposed to be about. Hey teacher, leave those kids alone*.
*None of this should be construed by Duke University as meaning that I would not be happy to accept a generous honorarium in order to come and guest lecture, as a professional blogger. Please email me for my list of dietary restrictions.