Academics should be blogging? No.
"blogging is quite simply, one of the most important things that an academic should be doing right now" The London School of Economics and Political Science states in one of their, yes, Blogs.
It is wrong.
The arguments just seem so right: "faster communication of scientific results", "rapid interaction with colleagues" "responsibility to give back results to the public".
All nice, all cuddly and warm, all good.
It might be true for scientoid babble. But this is not how science works. Scientists usually follow scientific methods to obtain results. They devise, for example, experiments to measure a quantity while keeping the boundary-conditions in a defined range. They do discuss their aims, problems, techniques, preliminary results with colleagues - they talk about deviations and errors, successes and failures. But they don't do that wikipedia-style by asking anybody for an opinion. Scientific discussion needs a set of non-negotiable attributes: there has to be competence, trust and reputation. That's one reason why scientists meet at conferences. You need to know whom you are talking to. You have to be sure you can talk freely about difficulties without spilling them out into the public. You need to know the competencies of your colleague - her strengths and weaknesses.
Science is not just opening the doors for input and flooding the public with data. Science simply does not work that way.
Patrick Dunleavy and Chris Gilson complain in that blog that scientific discussions happen "in language where you need to look up every second word in Wikipedia". Dear! You can not look up scientific language in Wikipedia. Look, the language of physics is in large parts: mathematics. And it is so not to exclude Justin Bieber fans from tweeting about it - science uses language-extensions to express things that can not be talked about in everyday language.
"Twitter is a huge supplementary help, in forcing academics to communicate key messages in 140 characters!" Between scientists? What a terrible idea! This does nothing more than reducing the complicated and complex findings of research to flashy, glittery nonsense. We have that all the time: a group of physicists does experiments with single atoms close to absolute temperature to check on a principal law of physics. What does the public-relations guy demand? At the end there has to be a sentence about the relevance of that research for the computers of tomorrow. The relevance is zero.
The public is not stupid. It is simply not true that they want to have *anything* back - as long as it is entertaining. Look at the nobel-prizes for physics of the last 100 years. All that basic research stuff on x-rays, electromagnetic waves, semiconductors.... Nobody would have tried to dumb that down to some catchy 140 character nonsense that 'the person on the street' understands or feels good about. It took decades - many decades - to be relevant to the public. But then it had the most impressive impact. What multi-billion dollar markets all that became! Again: x-rays, electromagnetic waves, semiconductors.
Ok, the authors of that 'five minutes with...' blogpost speak for social sciences. But I am certain social scientists disagree as well.
It is good policy, of course, to think about dissemination of scientific results to the broader public - and any media is good for that. But there certainly is no need for extreme speed or extreme brevity. The findings have to be translated for non-scientists, sure. But we all are aware that the amount of truth and relevance that get's lost in that process has to be kept at a minimum.
Science-communication has to be done by professional science-communicators. They live at the interface between public and science. They are translators. In no way is blogging "one of the most important things that an academic should be doing right now".