thoughts after the Australian Blogging Conference 2007

Despite the state of my blog, I went along to this “unconference” where lots of bloggers conversed in real life instead of online.

It exceeded my expectations and has led to a shift in the way I am thinking about my blog. This new perspective came from two sources, at the beginning and the end of the conference. The first was Melissa Gregg, an academic who blogs at Home Cooked Theory both what she is researching and what is happening in her life, making a point of not separating the two. Later, Mark Bahnisch made the point that blogging in this way can offer something richer than “hi I’m Mark and I write serious stuff about politics”.

So having gone to the trouble of focussing my blog, and having found that it is difficult to regularly post in such a focussed manner, I am now adopting Melissa’s and Mark’s strategy. From here on, expect to find my thoughts on whatever I am thinking – you’ll get a more complete idea of me. Expect to find the stuff I am researching, even though it isn’t always specifically about the collective nature of creative process.

The session on research blogging has given me the confidence to adopt this approach. Some academic institutions frown on, or don’t permit, blogging about research but I know my university is fine with that. Someone (Anne Galloway) has already done a PhD through a blog. Jean Burgess at creativity/machine used her blog to collect things relevant to her thesis. Through the blog she ended up with a complex network of people in her field, and in related fields. And Sarah Xu is doing her Doctorate of Creative Arts through a blog (which has just been moved to WordPress).

So I won’t have to have two blogs, drawing a neat boundary between divided selves.  This feels fine.

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10 Responses to “thoughts after the Australian Blogging Conference 2007”

  1. sajbrfem Says:

    Melissa Gregg, an academic who blogs at Home Cooked Theory both what she is researching and what is happening in her life, making a point of not separating the two

    This was a big thought provoking thing for me too. Even more than the idea that you can blog about both in the same space, I have been thinking that if you don’t you can run the risk of privileging certain parts of life over others, these almost always being the paid work or analog.

    I for one am very interested in hearing about both your research and your wider experience.

  2. Anne Says:

    I’m not sure what you mean by the description that I have “already done a PhD through a blog” 🙂 My blog does what Mel and Jean describe – it serves as a record of my life during the PhD years and as a networking tool.

    What you may find methodologically interesting is that my dissertation contains many excerpts from the blog. I used ideas about mess in social science research and the notion of improvising theory in ethnographic work to describe how my blog became part of my method.

  3. Pam Rosengren Says:

    Thanks for clarifying that, Anne. Your name was mentioned repeatedly at the session on research blogging. Someone asked had anyone done a PhD using a blog, and the reply was that you already had.

    I am very intreested in how your blog became part of your method, and I’m sure sajbrfem will be too. Thanks so much for those links.

  4. Peter Fletcher Says:

    I’ve been using two blogs, one for personal, introspective ‘stuff’ and the other which I hope will act more as a personal brochure/resume/capabilities document at a professional level. I can see how combining the two can work though.

  5. Pam Rosengren Says:

    The thing with having two separate blogs like that is your prospective employer will probably find the other one anyway.

    I like the concept of including ourselves as people in our research blogs. It is challenging and I have yet to really break through.

    Having said that, I want to use a blog just for myself as a container for fragments of ideas that I might later work into art or poems. They’re not the kind of thing that would make any sense at all on a published blog, and I want to keep them to myself until they are ready. So I am seeing if I can make WordPress work inside this machine (Mac OSX). I got part of the way through that but will go back to the idea after semester ends.

  6. home cooked theory » Blog Archive » On things maturing… maybe Says:

    […] thankfully allowed a lot of ideas and projects to be exchanged. Following the trackbacks I’ve had here over the past week will give you a flavour of the discussion (more reflections on the […]

  7. mhward Says:

    I’m not sure if this qualifies, but I am using blogs to collect data for my PhD on the process of doing a PhD. I have a group of candidates who are blogging and reading each other’s blogs, but I also read other bloggers like yourself who are blogging the process for interesting insights – which I would only use with permission of course! I also use a blog for notes and comments., and sometimes I don’t publish them, just keep them there for myself. But I’d be reluctant to use a public blog for drafts of thesis material – I only use it for rough notes and published stuff.

  8. Pam Rosengren Says:

    Mary Helen! We met at the AoIR conference in Brisbane last year. I am glad you found this. Of course your stuff qualifies – you’d arguably be one of the ones most qualified in this discussion.

    I find the distinction you make between drafts of thesis material, and rough notes very helpful. In other words sharing the ideas is good, that is what we are here for, but sharing the actual work itself is probably not a good plan.

    Then again, there’s Sarah Xu’s DCA where her blog is an integral part of the work. There’s an edge here that I’m sitting on that feels rather sharp and uncomfortable at present, between the lure of breaking through to new ways of working, and keeping to the beaten path.

  9. sajbrfem Says:

    There’s an edge here that I’m sitting on that feels rather sharp and uncomfortable at present, between the lure of breaking through to new ways of working, and keeping to the beaten path.

    go on, break through, you know you want to 🙂

  10. mhward Says:

    Pam, I’m in the same place, I think. I can’t find an email link on your blog, so can you email me? mhward (at) usyd (dot) edu (dot) au. Ta.

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