Over the last week, I’ve been re-connecting with Twitter (I used to love it, then I got bored, now I love it again), following a bunch of new accounts in the so-called ‘academic twittersphere’ (do people actually call it that, or did I make that up?). This has led me to coming across quite a few articles about why it’s important that academic researchers engage with social media and generally embrace all the possibilities that the Internet offers in terms of sharing research and ideas, enabling conversations, and making academic research and discussion available outside institutional paywalls and expensive conferences.
One article which has been doing the rounds on Twitter, is this interview with Patrick Dunleavy and Chris Gilson, two social scientists from LSE, in which they argue for the importance of academics blogging:
…a new paradigm of research communications has grown up – one that de-emphasizes the traditional journals route, and re-prioritizes faster, real-time academic communication in which blogs play a critical intermediate role. They link to research reports and articles on the one hand, and they are linked to from Twitter, Facebook and Google+ news-streams and communities. So in research terms blogging is quite simply, one of the most important things that an academic should be doing right now.
I am totally on board with this, and although it’s easy to get ‘information overload’ vertigo when you start following trails of information around online, I love spending whole days reading information online, and get all tingly about the possibilities of sharing my own research online (although, for now, quite intimidated too).
Anyway, I’m just writing this post to feel my way forwards in terms of my own online presence as a researcher, knowing I want to engage and contribute to critical thinking online. Share and learn and connect. I still see the main purpose of this blog (as relatively timid and silent as it’s been so far) to be a space for me to write about my experience as a PhD student, about what I’m reading, sharing thoughts on process and methodology as much or more than actually sharing research findings. But with time, that will come too, I am sure.
I also find what Dunleavy and Gilson say about blogs by individuals vs. group blogs interesting, and I think this is definitely something to think about in the future…