All entries for Monday 10 October 2011
October 10, 2011
Follow this post to find out how to register!
So how do you go about becoming an academic blogger? Firstly you need to decide what kind of blogger you are. What do you want to achieve through blogging? In answering this question it can help to get a sense of other people at Warwick who blog and what they get out of it.
- Do you want a place to publish your work online?
- Do you want to raise your profile?
- Do you want to practice your writing?
- Do you want an online presence for a project you’re involved in?
- Do you want to disseminate your research?
- Do you want to setup a collaborative writing/publishing project?
- Do you want to connect with other researchers?
- Do you want to gain a wider perspective on your field?
by Kristina B
These are just some of the things that motivate postgraduate researchers to get started. It’s not necessary to know exactly why you want to start blogging. Most people find that their interest in it changes (and grows!) over time. Nonetheless it’s a good idea to think about what you might like to achieve as a postgraduate researcher through starting a blog. This also shapes how you blog: what service you use and the style you adopt in your writing e.g. if you’re writing to connect with other researchers in your area then technical terminology is more acceptable than if you’re writing for a broad audience.
Now what about the practical side to getting started? Firstly you need to decide what platform you want to use. Below is a table with some pros and cons for the most well known blogging services, as well as links to step-by-step guides to using each of them. There are also other services such as Typepad and Posterous which are worth considering if you’re particularly keen to explore the range of options before you begin. However what counts as a ‘pro’ and as a ‘con’ depends on what you want to use your blog for, as well as how experienced and confident you are at using online tools. Here are some rules of thumb about what service might be right for you:
- If you just want an online scrapbook to post thoughts, ideas, quotes and multimedia then use Tumblr. It also suits if your blog is going to be more personal than professional - though it’s worth pointing out that for postgraduate researchers in particular, as well as bloggers in general, the two categories can sometimes get blurred.
- If you want a place to practice your writing, connect with other researchers at Warwick or act as an online presence for a Warwick based projects then use Warwick Blogs. The fact it’s branded and shows up prominently in search engines makes it very useful for these purposes. It’s also good if you’re not feeling particularly confident about the process.
- If you want to disseminate your research, connect with researchers internationally or raise your profile then use Wordpress or Blogger.
- If you want to setup a collaborative writing project then use Wordpress. Though the amount of functionality can be confusing at first, it has very powerful tools to facilitate multi-author projects and extending the functionality by moving it to a private hosting service.
|Pros||• Having a Warwick domain name means search engines will find your blog easily
• Easy to setup and use
• Good for projects largely based within Warwick
|• Easy to register a domain name for your blog
• Extremely powerful and flexible
• Supported by large and active community
• Easy to setup with multiple users
|• Owned by Google and convenient if you already use other google products
• It’s easier to use than Wordpress
• It’s possible to build your own templates
|• Visually attractive
• Easy to use
• Social networking functionality built into the platform
• Great smart phone functionality
• Excellent for multimedia
|Cons||• It can be difficult to make your Warwick blog stand out
• Being prominently branded by Warwick can undermine the independent identity of your blog
|• Degree of flexibility can be confusing for first time users
• Themes tend to be less attractive then Tumblr
|• Many people think Blogger sites look less professional than other services
• Sites hosted by Blogger are sometimes slow to load
|• Limited customization
• Designed for ‘micro-blogging’ and less suited to larger pieces of writing
• Generally more effective for multimedia then writing
|Step by step instructions||• How to blog using Wordpress||• How to set up your Blogger account||• Beginners guide to Tumblr|
To complete thing 1 create a blog using one of the platforms listed above. This blog will be used to track your progress on the programme. Each week we will ask you to write a post about each thing you have been asked to complete. For your first post write about your experience setting up the blog and tell us a little about what you are hoping to learn from the 23 Things for the Digital Professional programme.
Once you have created your blog you can register online to take part in the programme.
- Blogging Quiz: What type of blogger are you?
- Top 5 Blogging Tips
- Meet the Bloggers: Video Case Studies.
- Blogging about your research: first steps.
The author of the blog posts for this week’s theme is Mark Carrigan. Mark is a postgraduate researcher in the Sociology department. He is a prolific blogger and can be found on a number of social networking sites online.
What does the word ‘blog’ mean to you? For many people it has connotations which are far from glamorous. Witness BBC journalist Andrew Marr's dismissal of bloggers at the Cheltenham Literary Festival last year: "A lot of bloggers seem to be socially inadequate, pimpled, single, slightly seedy, bald, cauliflower-nosed young men sitting in their mother's basements and ranting."
However in conversations about blogging, the product is often confused with the platform. While many people do use blogs for the sort of sole authored ranting that Marr suggests, this is simply one use of the underlying technology. The platform itself is immensely powerful: zero cost, immediate, easy to use, customizable, collaborative online publishing.
Blogs are starting to have a big impact in academic life. In fact our own Vice Chancellor recently drew attention to ‘the power of blogs in forming new fields of international study’. Blogs can be particularly invaluable for postgraduate researchers. They allow us to engage in a whole range of academic activities (communication, networking, collaboration, dissemination, public engagement) much more easily and quickly than was previously possible. The academic ‘blogosphere’ is growing rapidly and it offers a wide range of opportunities for postgraduate researchers. Here are some examples of how blogging can be used by PhD students:
- Conducting literature reviews and developing analyses e.g. Research Blogging
- Establishing a personal portfolio site or online scrapbook of your work e.g. Jennifer M. Jones
- Collaborative writing projects and public engagement e.g. Sociological Imagination and Inequalities Blog
- Promoting academic conferences e.g. Discourses of Dissent
- Organizing and promoting study group activities e.g. BSA Theory Group
- Supporting other postgraduate researchers and reflecting on the research process e.g. Thesis Whisperer and PhD2Published
The next post will introduce you to thing 1 and your first activity - 'Creating a blog and writing your first post'.
- From blogging to print: My journey to creating impact.
- Wikipedia article on the ‘Blogosphere’.
- Vice-Chancellor, Professor Nigel Thrift’s blog.
- A Blog of Her Own: Scholarly Women on the Web.
- Don’t doubt the value of blogging in academic publishing.
- Cite or Site? The Current view of what constitutes ‘academic publishing’ is too limited.
Welcome to 23 Things for the Digital Professional, the online learning programme for research staff and students at the University of Warwick. Over the next 10 weeks we will be posting 23 things on this blog introducing participants to a range of online tools for maximising your impact, research and teaching.
Registration opens today and will remain open until midnight on Sunday 23rd October. Full details of how to register will be posted under Thing 1. It is possible to take part in the programme anonymously. The only time we will ask for your full name and contact details is on the registration form. This will only be seen by the team running the programme. For any other accounts that you create you may then use a pseudonym.
During week 1 participants will create a blog (full details of how to do this will be provided in the post for Thing 1). To complete the programme each week you must write a blog post about the activity or thing described. This will allow us to track your progress through the programme and also act as a place for you to reflect on what you have learned. The participant blogs are a great way to build a community and we would recommend that you both read and comment on other participants' blogs.