I've been thinking over the last few days about why I blog. In my very first post I talked about how this blog was meant to share information about the Harvard Extension School, and keep me motivated as I started my thesis. I would say that the blog has achieved its mission in these regards.
However, I've found that Harvard Extended had a couple of unanticipated effects as well. One is that it has really made me a faster writer, and given me a lot of freedom to expand my thoughts on various subjects. I knew how to write before, but often approached it as I would a student preparing academic papers, or a journalist approaching a reporting assigment, with careful planning and concern for how my professors and editors would react. Now I just fire up blogger, and start writing. It's a free-form structure that's not constrained by rules (other than my own), and it really gives me a lot of freedom to say what I want, how I want.
Another effect: it now serves as a global platform for me to ruminate upon Chinese history, journalism, society, the Harvard Extension School, and other areas of expertise or interest. It's like having an op-ed page all to myself.
A third effect: It allows me to be part of a much wider discussion about these topics. I get questions about the Extension School, and I am sometimes featured on Asiapundit, which finds my commentary on Chinese journalism and history to be worth sharing with a wider audience.
Of course, while unanticipated, these developments are certainly welcome. I have therefore decided to formally incorporate them into the mission of Harvard Extended.