Blogito ergo sum?

Am preparing a list for my supervision meeting tomorrow of what I’ve done since the last one, which of course includes yesterday’s Digital Researcher conference and this blog. Anticipating the inevitable question, I thought I’d try to answer for myself why I’m writing the blog and what I hope to get out of it.

Aside from shameless self-promotion, which of course comes into it, I think the main benefit I anticipate is actually going to come from the activity of writing itself. I may deal all the time with improving other people’s writing, but the discipline of generating something (hopefully) coherent on a regular basis can only be good.

Second is the opportunity to try out some ideas and get feedback on them. You need a network first, of course, but I’m working on that and I know I’ve also got some readers who I met on my degree and MA. I find that for me the best way of developing an idea is to try to get it down on paper and write around it, so the blog can only help in that.

Third is to gain contributions to my thinking from other people, both by feedback to blog posts and by direct appeal if I get desperate! Twitter has already been helpful in that, of course, but the blog is more permanent and gives you the opportunity to be more expansive. I do see definite advantages to combining the two.

Fourth is to establish and enhance my overall web presence. There is more than one Sally Osborn out there, I was perturbed to discover 🙂 So my aim is to so bamboozle Google that I come out on top and am firmly identified with my research.

Fifth and last, but by no means least (can’t always get away from the clichés…), is to expand my existing network and find lots of lovely new people to communicate with, who hopefully are interested in what I’m doing and what I’ve got to say.

It would be useful to hear from other people their reasons for blogging and if I’ve missed anything compelling!

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3 thoughts on “Blogito ergo sum?

  1. Hey! I covered a bit of why people in my discipline (archaeology and anthropology) blog on my own blog… as well as tackling some problems with people in our discipline publishing about blogs and how that has irritated bloggers.

    http://findsandfeatures.wordpress.com/2010/03/02/what-are-these-blog-thingies-a-response-to-blogging-anthropology/

    To paste the more relevant section:

    “In my experience archaeo-anthro blogs are usually about one or more of these:
    Writing for the enjoyment of it
    Meeting people in your discipline
    Providing a focus for an online identity
    Drafting ideas
    Exploring concepts
    Asking for opinion and input
    Transgressing
    Organising and promoting activism
    Communicating news
    Democratising information for everyone who doesn’t have a university to fund their journal subscriptions
    Discussing new research
    Engaging everyone.

    What they are only occasionally (or not at all) about:
    Engaging some notion of ‘the public’
    Making money
    Getting published
    Upping your research score
    Making yourself more employable
    Getting any recognition from ‘important’ people”

    Good luck! I haven’t actually mentioned to either of my supervisors that I blog… perhaps I should come ‘out of the closet’ on this and see what they think!

  2. I haven’t told peers, lecturers etc that I blog either (although a lecturer from my former MA course stumbled upon my blog entirely randomly!) – but then, I’ve only just started blogging my pre-PhD pilot research, as opposed to my personal blog. In fact, it didn’t occur to me until recently that I could use my research blog as anything other than a place to play with ideas. But since I’ve recently realised that online networking can be very useful, reading slides and tweets from yesterday’s conference was fascinating (I couldn’t attend in person). All the same, I’m not sure what most academics would think about research blogging. I, too, might try ‘going public’ with it, and see how it goes!

    I agree with much of findsandfeatures’ lists above. As a researcher committed to participatory/emancipatory work, I’ve already used a single-project blog to engage participants, with some success. I’m particularly keen on the way blogs and other social media can open up access to research — whether that’s access for disabled people (important in my field), non-academics with an interest in the field, some participants/beneficiaries/stakeholders, ‘non-traditional’ learners, and many other groups who wouldn’t generally read journal articles but appreciate access to research processes and findings.

    Great research blog you’ve got here, btw. I found you through following the #dr10 hashtag yesterday.

    • Thanks to both of you, interesting stuff. I don’t think I’ll write about every aspect of my research, particularly if there’s an angle I’m taking that’s innovative (which I hope there is!). But I do think that the sounding board aspect of it is going to be helpful, as well as the access/engagement issue, since some of my stuff is more general interest than the strictly defined academic community. We’ll see!

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