Both Ms Kelly and Mr Said are dead right.
Public "professional" intellectualizing (for quick money now or toadying for future favours) is quite rightly always highly suspect.
But unrewarded intellectualizing, drive by conscience, compassion and concern, is a fair bit less suspect (remembering that personal agendas can still be well hidden.)
Pamphleteering - with its sturdy tradition of locally printed - brief - paperbound essays - historically been the best known and most effective form of amateur public intellectualizing*.
Thomas Paine's revolution-starting pamphlet entitled "Common Sense" being perhaps the best known : a succinct 20,000 words/46 pages that significantly changed world history for ever.
Amateur blogs are today's globe-wide pamphlets - with downloadable pre-imposed PDF variants (printable into an instant pamphlet on ordinary household computer printers) retaining a touchstone to the pamphlets of Paine's day...
* I myself much prefer the words "public essayist" to describe "pamphleteers & bloggers" (like myself ) - but whatever.