Should we blog?

Today at FRKTC, we discussed whether academics should spend all their time writing papers or at least some of it writing blogs.  The vote went in favour of blogs.

So, the CLIS blog has been latent for almost a year, but no longer.  Nevertheless, the question remains.  Let me put it a different way.  How compatible are the identities of blogger and published academic?

4 thoughts on “Should we blog?

  1. Very interesting question Martin, which, like many interesting questions raises another, or indeed others.

    Should these identities be compatible? What if they’re not? Do we ask such a question of ourselves in non-academic contexts, such as how compatible is the identity of the tender parent with that of passionate lover? how campatible is the identity of “life and soul of the party” with that of “sensible teacher”? how compatible is the identity of … I guess the list is endless, and most of us have many such compatibility questions on our own lives.

    I ask this in a conpletely non-combative way, indeed as an opening up of questions relating to the whole notion of “identity”. What is it? Is it an “it”? or a “they”? I don’t know… I’d be challenged to articulate my identity, but probably could say what (things, beliefs, values, attributes etc) I identify with, which I think is different to “having” an identity. It’s a more dynamic concept I think.

    In a way, that little muse brings me back to the blogging issue. In my experience, for some it’s the space to think, that facilitates more formal writing. For other people that space is found when walking, ironing (yes really… !), at the gym, while scribbling jottings in a diary, etc, and I guess no-one ever thinks to ask if there are any compatibility issues between the identity of walker and published academic…

    Would love to see some other responses to this.

  2. Very interesting question, although I don’t feel a conflict between being an academic, posting on blogs, having a myspace page, going to chat rooms etc. Indeed I often have really thought-provoking discussions on-line with people I will probably never meet.

    I guess we all have different aspects to our selves / our identities that come to the fore depending on where we are, who we are with, what we are doing. Maybe, like a diamond, identity is multi-faceted, catching the light in different ways at different angles. Although having said that I also think identity is not fixed and changes over time.

    I wonder whether the question of compatibility is related to a question of authenticity. Whether on-line or in life I like to think that people are genuine and sincere and not ‘trolls’ (to use an internet term). Maybe, while academics may show different facets of their identity in a blog, at a conference or in a paper, we still need them to be ‘true’ to the self we perceive them to be i.e. a feminist, a marxist, or whatever.

    Does that make sense?

    Clare

  3. Pingback: CAKES: learning technology blog » Blog Archive » Managing Your Online Identity

  4. You post does make sense, Clare, and I like your metaphor.

    Your initial question, Martin, is a provocative one. If we see identity as a form of ‘habitus’ then we might be able to argue that the force field of power relations surrounding our ‘habitus’ render some actions in competition with others. I wonder whether the debate that took place at FRKTC was more about time management, efficiency and output rather than the development of an academic ‘identity’.

    Why don’t we test this? Can we write a blog that contributes to the development of an academic culture in our Faculty and, thus, by extrapolation, support the academic identities of staff members? We could even turn it into a paper????

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