Digital Scholarship

Academic tweeting and blogging: Some thoughts, questions, and links

I’m the first to admit that I’m a late adopter of Twitter and blogging for academic use, and therefore I’m also late to the conversation about how it fits into our existing models of academic work. That said, right now I’d have to classify myself as a true believer in the utility of platforms like Twitter and blogging for the kind of sociology I’d like to do. The potential of blogging to share creative ideas outside the typical channels like conferences, journals, and books is exciting to me for several reasons. When inspiration strikes, you can publicize your ideas, as opposed to writing a stale article and hoping it ends up on the reviewer’s desk on a good day. You don’t have to travel hundreds of miles to get folks into the hotel meeting room at 8:30 AM on a Sunday to hear a talk. There is potentially a much greater audience for a blog, so that your work might be seen by more than those who specialize in your field. It’s been rewarding to get feedback from non-sociologists on my various posts, sometimes academics in other fields, and other times interested readers from outside the academy. As for Twitter, a few days ago I tweeted that I was thankful about how Twitter helps “overcome the tyranny of the small department.” Small departments aren’t likely to have multiple members with shared research interests because that’s a disservice to students. Over the last 8 months or so that I’ve been seriously using my account (I feel bad for the 2 years I let it sit there unused) I’ve made connections with scholars I’d otherwise not know of and have been introduced to work and resources that I’ve found very helpful. In a way, I’d like to think these are like conversations one might have in the hallway of a department with colleagues whose interests are closer to your own. (Sure, I don’t really know what those departments are like…)

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