Development blogging, disseminating research & building your e-reputation

Last week I was invited to talk about development blogging, social media and research dissemination at an event in Manchester that the Royal Geographical Society (with the Institute of British Geographers) Postgraduate Forum organized. The topic was Publishing and disseminating your research and I shared some reflections on development blogging virtually from the comfort of my desk at home:
The focus is on publishing and disseminating ‘developing areas’ research, both in academic journals and beyond the academy – through press and broadcasting, social media, non-academic publishing and community engagement. The workshop combines presentations from a range of professionals, alongside postgrads talking about their experiences, with practical advice and lively discussions.
Thanks to 21st century technology I am very happy to share my presentation with the audience outside the classroom as well:

The full presentation, including slides and audio is available as a YouTube video:

But 37 minutes is a lot of time, so I decided to share the content in other formats as well: The slides are available on SlideShare - and there is a separate audio file on my soundcloud.

Aidnography: Development blogging, disseminating research and building your e-reputation by aidnography

I know, I know...still a lot of things to take in.

So how about a very quick summary?

Outline of the presentation:
- Development communication: New digital possibilities & old academic rituals
ž- Understanding contradictions & managing expectations
ž- ‘Almost everyone will miss almost everything you do on social media’
ž- Blogging as communication ‘enabler’

ž- Building your e-reputation
ž- Approaching the ‘perfect space’ for academic blogging

Some thoughts are based on a previous post () on how blogging can be a communication enabler (the 'wrong' people tend to know about your blog; blogging is still responsive to agenda set elsewhere; the biggest 'threat' of blogs and social media is to traditional academic conference rituals).

In terms of building your e-reputation I highlighted three areas:
ž- It’s about your comfort level of exposure (think guest posts, book reviews or profile)

- Social media skills are transferable, ‘real’ skills that are in demand in many different sectors
ž- Embrace digital technology, i.e. Skype presentations, conference HangOuts, YouTube, soundcloud etc. for your teaching, presenting and sharing.

Which brought me to my final point on finding your 'perfect space' for academic blogging and social media engagements:

To wrap this post up, let me share some additional resources that may be useful in this context:

Nelly Ali (Ramblings between London & Cairo) and Mia Bennett who writes at the Foreign Policy Association also shared some great insights into various aspects of writing a blog while pursuing research and a PhD.

Chemistry researcher Antony Williams posted an interesting presentation recently on Engaging students in publishing on the internet early in their careers which contains quite a few relevant tips for careers outside of chemistry and science research.

And finally, Scott Rodgers shared some more theoretical reflections on Social media as academic environments: how we think, do and say that may be useful to think about the 'space' that we can, want to and/or have to create to engage with audiences inside and outside of the academy:
If we return, then, to academics uses of social media, we might think of digital and networked environments as presenting new conditions of possibility not just for how academics think, but also what academics can do and say. Here I am drawing on what are for me some very well-worn ideas of ‘practice theory’. Though the implications of social media for the academic ‘rules of the game’ are still noticed relatively often, they are increasingly becoming the taken-for-granted environments for academic conduct and communication. There are many different implications to these environments. It’s more than simply, for instance, Twitter’s 140 characters bringing about a fragmentation of writing per se. Writing is also increasingly blurred with other mediums (image, moving image, sound, symbol, etc), audience assumptions are hyper-complexified, and authorship itself is less and less stable (for good or bad). These shifts add up, I think, not only to changes in the shared understandings academics have of our common situation, but also to what Schatzki might call the teleoffective structuring of academia. That is, academics’ affective sensings of and normative claims to their purposes and their ends.


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