Tony Gurr

Why are Academics (still) NOT Blogging? (from GUEST BLOGGER Laurence Raw)

In Guest BLOGGERS, Our Universities, Research, Teacher Learning on 25/08/2013 at 1:01 pm

Dummies (Academic Blogging) Ver 02 TG

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While reading Ana Cristina Pratas’ very generous review of the book ADAPTATION AND LEARNING ,2013) that I co-wrote with Tony Gurr, I was reminded once again of the ways in which blogging is still viewed with considerable suspicion by many academics – especially those with an interest in furthering their careers.

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To BLOG or NOT to BLOG

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A blog lacks the respectability associated with a scholarly article; it will neither help you to increase your research profile, nor contribute to your institution’s output for a Research Assessment exercise.  Professorships will never depend on the number of hits your blog receives.

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Yet perhaps this is missing the point.  Five years of blogging about radio drama, and education has taught me a great deal about the act of writing; the need to make one’s point quickly and concisely so as to sustain reader’s attention.  As a member of several editorial boards, I have lost count of the submissions I have received where the writing has been quite simply execrable; repetitive, long-winded and woolly-minded.  A blog helps to eliminate such deficiencies; if readers can’t get your meaning in the first two paragraphs, they’ll simply go on to another page.

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Blogger (crap blog)

As we argued in ADAPTATION AND LEARNING, blogs also attract immediate responses.  Writers do not have to wait months and months to receive feedback in journal reviews; they can find out what their readers think and respond in any way they wish.  This process can help to encourage dialogue, as well as helping writers refine their work for subsequent publication, either online or in print form.

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Blogging is also a democratic form of communication.  Readers do not have to spend time searching for articles in obscure journals, or browsing sites such as JSTOR for material; it is available to everyone, irrespective of their disciplinary specialism.  My Radio Drama Reviews blog attracts professionals – actors, directors, technicians – as well as enthusiasts from all walks of life and from all parts of the globe.  Blogging is also wonderfully democratic; there are no distinctions to be drawn between ‘academic’ and ‘non-academic’ readers and/or writers.

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This provides a wonderful opportunity for bloggers to disseminate their work to a wider audience.  In personal terms, this can help to advance their reputation (as well as increasing the range of possible opportunities for further writing and/or research projects); in institutional terms, this process of dissemination might provide the basis for innovative, transdisciplinary modes of research involving individuals from different walks of life (or disciplinary specialisms).

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Creativity (Matisse quote 01)

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Blogging represents freedom.  I do not have to spend time planning and/or researching something; I can write down what I think and receive an immediate response. I can write on my netbook, my iPad, or sitting at a desktop (or on smart phone).  I can write in the office, at home, or sitting in a coffee-bar.  The American dramatist David Mamet once claimed that writing in restaurants offered him the greatest creative opportunities; I wholeheartedly agree.  Above all, blogging helps to stimulate creativity; I am not constrained by academic conventions to produce pieces of a certain length and according to a particular scholarly format.

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blogger

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Blogging should not be seen as a potential threat to more established means of communication (such as the scholarly article). On the contrary, it provides an ideal means to try out new ideas, which might subsequently appear in printed form.

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Blogging (guest bloggers welcome)

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There are some really good pieces on this topic online: look at these, for instance:

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Also, take a look at one of Tony’s earlier posts – it got him a bit of “hot water”:

Holy Trinity in HEd (Ver 02)

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BLOGGING – the “secret weapon” that is (finally) helping TEACHers “trump” SCHOLars!

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Laurence Raw (aka @laurenceraw on Twitter)

Baskent University – Ankara, Turkey
Editor: Journal of American Studies of Turkey
http://baskent.academia.edu/LaurenceRaw
http://www.radiodramareviews.com
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  1. […] Why are Academics (still) NOT Blogging? (from GUEST BLOGGER Laurence Raw) | allthingslearning […]

  2. […] Image is courtesy of Guest blogger – Academic blogging for dummies […]

  3. […] about engaging wide audiences. However, non-traditional writing, such as blogging, is still viewed “with considerable suspicion by many academics”. In addition, there may be risks involved in contributing to public debate, especially for early […]

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