Reflexion on blogging… Day 1

So there, I started a blog…

How did I get here? The quick answer is I joined Twitter!! I was reluctant… What would people have to say in 140 words that would not be mundane and would be useful?… turns out: loads!

I decided Twitter was only going to be for professional reasons and so far I have stuck to this rule (ok bar @stephenfry but who does not follow him on twitter?… ok, ok also @ProfBrian and @daraobriain but I work in Science so really it’s work still!). I can genuinely say that, although, as I feared, it is a little bit addictive, it already has helped my career (in 2 weeks yes!). First I have been reading more off-the-press peer-reviewed articles than ever in fields broadly but not directly relevant to mine and ideas have emerged from them but mainly I have come to the realisation that the future of science outreach and impact is online! I know, I know this is so 2008!! but hey you’ll have to forgive me in 2008, I was struggling with my PhD and wondering where my career would go, I had no idea that all this revolution was going on!

Actually maybe I did a bit when a couple of years ago while writing a “pathway to impact”, I mentioned a list of users groups on Linkedin that I could use for industry outreach and thought I was being clever by mentioning the number of people that were members of each group… I was quite proud of it indeed! well one of the reviewers did not think so and consider my proposal of using Linkedin as “not terribly convincing” while another said they liked the suggestion… so the jury is still out. In fact, I think the problem was that although the idea was there my grasp on social media and on-line presence was poor and still is.

Now a newly appointed academic, I think it is time for me to develop this knowledge and try my hand at it. As a good scientist that I hope I am this process will have to go through research, hypothesis stating and trials and errors. First thing first, I will have to read other scientific blogs. Some about blogging and how to blog and some about science because if I have the pretension to think that people will want to read me, I will need to common courtesy to read them!

So today I read a couple of blog posts about female academics and blogging:

http://blogs.nature.com/naturejobs/2012/11/23/why-female-scientists-dont-blog-but-should

http://www.nature.com/spoton/2012/11/spoton-london-2012-to-blog-or-not-to-blog/

Both very informative, they discuss the reticence of female academics to blog and give some tips on how to get started. They made me think of what I wanted out of blogging and whether I was going about it the right way.

I decided that this blog was going to be both a showcase for my research and my research group but also a place when I can reflect on being an academic. Why? because maybe putting it in writing will help me structure my ideas but also because maybe it might help others as Athene Doland discussed as a mentoring tool. But maybe this dual purpose is not wise and maybe in time I will have to split into two different blogs.

Finally, it is important for me to say that I aim this as a positive tool to develop my research, knowledge exchange and teaching skills and help me to be the type of academic I want to be. It will not be a forum for my venting, ranting or complaining I hereby pledge.

This first post only aims at defining the rules for myself and hopefully if I get the hang of this blog thing I will post at later stages on how these rules have worked for me and (hopefully) the readers.

End of first post… scary!

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