Thursday was a very interesting day for me. You might think it was so because Mark Carney – the next Bank of England governor – was testifying in the British parliament. But frankly speaking even though Carney said some interesting things I have to disappoint you dear Mark – I wasn’t really listening. I had more important things to do.
What can be more important that than? Well, as Bob Hetzel expressed it – the Christensen household grew by 33% on Thursday as my wife gave birth to a beautiful Daughter – Mathilde. Her soon to be three year old brother Mathias is very proud – and his parents are very prod and happy as well.
So why do I tell you that? Should blogs be personal? No not necessarily, but the great thing about both writing and reading blogs is that they are written in a personal way with few disclaimers and that is why blogs are here to stay. And that is what I really want to reflect a bit on.
First, all when I write a blog post I do it at odd times when I can sneak in 5 or 30 minutes to do it. It is typically late at night when the rest of the family is sleeping or early in the morning – or when I am traveling, which I do quite a bit. That means that I rarely think about the structure in my posts. I just write. It is just about getting things off my chest or rather get out stuff that is in my head. Having been thinking about monetary policy issues a lot for more than two decades have led to a certain “overload” and I need to empty my head a bit. And yes, I desperately want people to read what I write and I want them to like what I write. But it is actually more about expressing my views than anything else. I think that is the case for most people writing blogs – whether it is about monetary policy or wine.
Obviously it makes it much easier to write blog posts when you don’t think much about the structure of the posts and write what you think rather than what you think people would like you to write. And editing? Forget about it – yes, I do read through my post, but frankly speaking you will have to live with my typos. The important thing is the message. It should be noted that I have people that are so very kind to help me editing in the sense that they will send me corrections to my text. That I always gladly welcome and I do try to correct my typos when I have time. So you are always welcome to drop me a mail about anything in that regard (firstname.lastname@example.org).
I enjoy my blogging tremendously and it has brought me into contact with extremely interesting people from all over the world – particularly in Northern America. Another very enjoyable thing about blogging is that it is completely unpretentious and there is certainly nothing snobbish about it. I have many commentators who are completely normally people – “Amateur economists” who are interested just interested in understand the world they live in. I love that. As I have said many times “Economics is not an education. Economics is a state of mind”
But I must admit my favourite readers likely are the many economics students and PhD students that follow and comment on my blog. I love when I get mails from you guys about that world and what to make of it. You are all a great inspiration.
The worst temptation in blogging is to become a “blogging asshole”. Any blogger will tell you that they every single day will check out how many visitors their blog have had on a given day. I certainly do that – and I am surely more happy on days when a lot of people have visits my blog. I have noticed that I can maximize the number of visitors to my blog and the easiest way to do that is to become a “blogging asshole”. So what is a blogging asshole. To me it is somebody who first of all is hostile to other bloggers. Somebody who in more or less nasty ways attack the views of other bloggers and commentators. In fact I think that if I did a “I hate Paul Krugman” post every week it would do a lot to boost the number of visitors on my blog, but it would also generate traffic that I would consider as unwelcomed. I love debates about monetary policy issues, but I mostly just want people to get the message. I am no saint. I have been an blogging asshole from time to time when you thing has upset me. Here is an example.
I believe that blogging has become increasing influential and will continue to play an important role in public debate and that is especially the case in the area of economic policy. The case of NGDP level targeting is obviously a very good example. As a central bank governor from a not to be disclosed European country said to me recently “Lars, you must be happy these days. Everybody is talking about NGDP targeting”.
But blogging is not scientific research and we should not forget about the importance of scientific research. That said the two things do certainly not rule out each other. As my readers know I like to share research I have read (or plan to read). Here is the latest example.
Anyway, time to go with my son Mathias to pick up my beloved wife Hanne and our daughter Mathilde.
PS Mark Carney, just relax I did find time to read your comments in the British parliament. I was slightly disappoint that we did not have a more clear endorsement of NGDP level targeting, but I certainly understand the politics of this issue so I also understand that we might be much closer to NGDP level targeting in the UK than Carney’s testimony could lead one to conclude.