Social media talk: 3 December 2012, Sighthill

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As part of an event for ‘Supporting Researchers at Edinburgh Napier University‘ I’ve been asked to put together some resources and reflections on the ways blogs and blogging can play a part in the life of a humble researcher, such as me. Rather than produce some slides for my twenty minutes in the spotlight I’ve bundled a collection of links into this blog post. Please post questions, suggestions and more connections in the comments below ??? particularly if you’re in the audience for the talk.

This isn’t the first time I’ve used this blog as the basis of a presentation ??? follow these links to other posts for…
  • previous conference talk on using blogs, including links to websites that can provide you with a (free) space online to start your own and lots of tools to make it look good
  • lecture I presented to a fourth year class when my guest speaker fell ill with an hour or so before the class
  • some slides that were used at an industry focused training day, where I presented on social media
I find it all too easy to neglect my blog, particularly during a busy autumn term when I get distracted by teaching and programme leadership. Fear not for there are many other resources out there, such as the Guardian HE Network (http://www.guardian.co.uk/higher-education-network). Within their site you’ll find resources such as…

The next set of links is a hand picked collection of ways I’ve used blogs and blogging, gathered together in a few categories:
  • Developing my research ideas and interpreting different topics, particularly those related to my PhD themes
  • Keeping a record of conference talks, events attended, books and papers read
  • Engaging with other bloggers: David McGillivray (UWS)
  • Publication
  • Teaching links
      • When I created the blog in the summer of 2010 I decided I was primarily writing it for myself. I wanted to have a space for my thoughts, somewhere I could write and publish work on a variety of topics and be able to find it later. Rather than keeping it to myself I also saw it as a space in which to have a presence online, but somewhere I could control rather than having to abide by the rules of Facebook or another comprehensive social media platform. It is important to me that my blog is open to anyone with an internet connection and isn’t locked up in an online walled garden. I spent a small amount of money buying a domain name to suit me (www.davidjarman.info), but this isn’t compulsory by any means. I’ve been happy with the blogging platform I use (Posterous), but as they’ve since been bought by Twitter there’s a degree of uncertainty about the future.

        At times my attitude towards using the blog is ???sharing by default???: if I attend an event I might automatically write a post as my way of recording what happened, which is then shared with the world. I don’t see my work as being commercially sensitive, although I know of other researchers who wouldn’t consider publicising what they’re doing ??? perhaps they’re contractually obliged not to! At the back of my mind I ask myself what my students, employers and parents might think of the things I write and publish, whether it’s for the blog or on Twitter. In my experience it doesn’t tend to take long for new users to get used to the cultural norms of conversation and sharing on a given social media platform, but if you???re not familiar then it???s advisable to spend time reading and observing before jumping in.

        I don’t think I make full use of the tools available: I don’t blog often enough, rarely dip into organised Twitter conversations (such as #PhDchat) and could do more with video and audio to liven up my corner of the web. But I enjoy it nonetheless and am very glad I’ve got an easily accessible record of my PhD progress thus far.

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      Image: ‘Blog 62’  |  flickr.com/photos/thomashawk/74117168/