Thursday, March 20, 2014

Why Blog?

Over at "The University of Venus" at Inside Higher Ed, Anu Dinescu explains the advantage of academic blogging.  I agree with everything she says in this piece, including her suggestion that "Blogger" is a nice platform for beginners.  Here is a taste:

It’s easy to set up your blog for free, pick a theme that characterizes your style, have a short online tour about some basic technicalities and start blogging. I use both Blogger and Wordpress, but I will always recommend, especially for newbies in the domain of blogging, the Blogger platform. Especially if you have a Gmail account, it helps you to instantly connect with the various professional communities via Google+.

Blogging helps you to share your thoughts, even the most complicated ideas, and also share many articles that probably were not approved for publication by sophisticated peer-reviews. It does not mean that the standards are below the usual academic high-end. If you write academic articles, your audience belongs to this elitist environment and thus, you will be judged accordingly. Your free online space will help you to be creative and genuine, and write as much as you need to cover a variety of topics. Maybe you are the Renaissance type of intellectual and thus, your interests are diverse enough to be covered only by one publication.

If your blogging turns into a regular activity, it will dramatically help you to become a better writer. A certain routine – a minimum of 500 words every other day, maybe – will offer a lot of improvement to your writing style. Overall, you will not go through anxious moments when faced with a big white page on your computer waiting for your ideas.

Another advantage of blogging is that you can have visibility and connect online with other academics. Such an advantage works equally for Facebook and Twitter. Create a page for your blog on Facebook and invite your academic friends to join. Connect with academics, teachers and authors – you will be surprised to discover how many have joined the online world and how many will finally decide to join in the next few years, too – and join the global conversations. There is a huge potential for creating networks and valuable connections that will contribute for sure to a variety of new collaborations and exchange of ideas.

Last but not least, on the long list of advantages of using social media as an academic, there are the impressive opportunities for online learning. You can be a teacher and develop your own tutorials and online consulting modules, but in addition, you can learn, sometimes, completely for free, about new skills, academic opportunities and other topics of interest to improve your knowledge and profile. Information about such classes are easily traded on social media and the more you understand how the system works, the more advantages you will have for a healthy academic life.