Rough Theory

Theory In The Rough

Online Tools for Building Research Networks

So I’ve been asked, somewhat at the last minute, to present as part of a panel on “Online Tools for Building Research Networks”. Specifically, I’ve been asked to speak on “Blogging about Research”. Hmm… is that what I do here?

The other panellists won’t be bloggers (the intention of the event is to provide an overview of the various sorts of online tools, communities, and projects that might be useful to academics relatively unfamiliar with the concept of online networking tools). So I suppose I’ll need to introduce the medium in some way (and try to keep the discussion as far as possible from what I personally do… ;-P). If people have any ideas about what it might be useful to say (from experiences you have with similar presentations or discussions with non-bloggers in an academic context), I’m all ears.

The questions I get most frequently are along the lines of:

  • What the hell is a “blog”?
  • Is it, like, some kind of chat room/online dating site/bulletin board/strange arcane hobby you picked up in America, etc.?
  • How do people find you?
  • Why do people find you?
  • Aren’t you worried someone will steal your stuff?
  • Isn’t it risky, putting your draft work up where everyone can see it?
  • If you write something good on a blog, isn’t it wasted? I mean, there’s no way for people to cite blogs, is there?
  • How much time do you spend on this, anyway?
  • Wouldn’t that time be better spent doing something else?
  • How much “serious” discussion can you really do on a blog?
  • Don’t you have to know programming to do this?
  • Don’t you have to pay money to do this?
  • Will anyone pay you for doing this?
  • I looked at some blogs once – I couldn’t make any sense of the conversation! How do you follow this stuff?
  • I looked at some blogs once – I couldn’t find anything I was interested in! How do you find blogs that are relevant?
  • I posted at a blog once – they ignored me/yelled at me/banned me! How do you actually get a conversation going?

If other people can think of other questions that pop up in discussions with non-blogger academics, more than happy to take them on board.

Local folks are welcome to attend – provisionally the formal panel will take place on 31 August, from 3:00-4:30 p.m., with the session then relocating to the pub (as no doubt befits the seriousness of our topic…) – some details on times, dates, and locations to be confirmed; I’ll post an update here when things are finalised (assuming this post doesn’t get me kicked right back off the panel…).

One response to “Online Tools for Building Research Networks

  1. Pingback: » Spring Research Carnival

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