First Review for Built on Bones!

So, I spent this week doing a lot of things. One of my favorites was freaking about my photoshopped proximity to lifetime hero author Neil ...

Sunday, 30 March 2014

Why Bother? the final #blogarch question. Now with added answers!

Ok! Got distracted by other academic commitments, so fell off the #blogarch wagon for a bit, but back on for March and Doug's final question:

 where are you/we going with blogging or would you it like to go? 

"Where do we go from here?
Is it down to the lake I fear. 
Ay ay ay ay ay ay..."

Or, as several of my colleagues would put it, why am I wasting my time writing non-peer reviewed anything? Why would I share anything about my work when people could find out and use it themselves, without giving me credit? I've encountered time and again the repetitive mantra that blogging is at best a waste of time, and at worst an ego-stroking, publicity-seeking exercise carried out by those who just can't hack 'real' academic research.


This does rather beg the question - why bother?

Well, one answer is, I increasingly don't. My personal blog languishes as research projects that really can't be discussed publicly (by request of the PI, but also because I work with medical data and that is a big no-no) take over my time. What was once an outlet for side projects I couldn't see leading to publication (looking at you, augmented reality skulls!) is now almost solely about communicating the experience of being an early career researcher. Because the field project I've been working on already has it's own fantastic blog, I don't feel I have to share that side of my work in a new forum. And finally, nothing in the news recently has pissed me off enough to write out a sarcastic rant

Of course, if you know me under my other identity, as 1/4 of Team TrowelBlazers, you also know I'm totally lying when I say I don't blog as much. I blog ALL THE TIME. A post a week, for a year, on awesome fantastically-be-hatted, snake-wearing, Olympic-fencing women archaeologists, geologists, and palaeontologists.* But the difference there is that the TrowelBlazers project is very much a community thing. Very loosely 'run' by a group of early career researchers, it's a very public-participatory experience: people submit posts almost as often as one of our team writes one. We've got short-form communications like twitter and facebook underpinning a larger community who are all talking to each other, which means our 'blog' is more of a forum than a missive. 

So, as I see it, a personal blog is nice, like a tl,dr twitter archive, or even a public journal. But aside from letting me vent, I'm not sure how much I get out of it. On the flip side is the TrowelBlazers project, which I get enormous amounts out of - energy, enthusiasm, community, networks, support, pictures of women climbing into tombs in very large hats, you name it. The difference is in the level of interaction, and at the end of the day, no one wants to be caught talking to themselves.

* not all at the same time.

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Trivia (personal)

archaeologist. dental anthropologist. yes, that's a real thing. Author of Built on Bones, available in February 2017 (UK), May 2017 (USA) from Bloomsbury.



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