I don’t really know what I think anymore

First and foremost I have to say that blogging and tweeting are difficult for me.  It doesn’t feel natural, but I guess that is a portion of the goal of this course.  I don’t feel that what I have to say or share on a topic is important enough to warrant a digital discussion.  However, after reading Working openly on the web, my views on blogging has somewhat changed.

I have been on social media since I could type, probably.  I had a blog when I was studying abroad in Germany, as that was the easiest way for my friends and family to keep up with me that didn’t involve me telling the same story 12 different times.  When I read the article, and saw the very first point, “Have a corner of the web that you control” it really struck me.  This idea of blogging isn’t a long version of a facebook status and letting everyone know how awesome my sushi was today, but to control the content of which I am associated with.  If this course keeps forcing me to have epiphanies weekly we are going to have to slow this train down!

Gardner Campbell’s article too I found interesting.  In engineering, typically you hold your research cards very close to your chest while you scowl at other individuals who even THINK about looking at you.  This article as well as the second rule in the first article seem to have a different idea in mind.  That is, share your research ideas and your academics with other individuals.  I need to do some thinking on this, as it is off-putting to me at this point.  Maybe someone can help explain this to me, but if I come up with a great idea or get some data that outlines a new finding in my field, I am going to keep that to myself until I can publish a paper on it.  Perhaps the idea is to move away from academic papers?  Woah!  That sounds crazy!



  1. G. Purdy · September 1, 2015

    I am the same way with blogging and tweeting. It is difficult for me to come up with ideas which I think are actually worth sharing on the interwebs. You are spot on that blogging is one of the best ways to ensure that you control the information you put out on the internet. I also think that creating an e-portfolio is another great way to make sure your professional information is current and accessible by future employers. If they can go to your e-portfolio and see what you are about, it is not as likely that they will need to Google you to see your online presence.

    As far as research sharing, this idea has been around for a long time with varying levels of success. Our system needs to move in this direction to push academia forward at a faster rate. If we can switch our system from being an “I will publish first” world to an “I will share and we can create knowledge together” world, think of the collaborations that could occur!


  2. EmilyG · September 1, 2015

    The idea of sharing research or ideas online before publishing is definitely more acceptable and manageable in some fields than others. I work in drinking water quality and it can be really important to find a way to share data with the public or other researchers rather than hoarding it away until you can publish it and there have been some really awesome blogs pop up by researchers in my field with the goal of sharing results. In a more theoretical field, it seems like it would be much more challenging to bridge the gap between sharing ideas openly and saving them for publication.


  3. A. Nelson · September 2, 2015

    I completely get your ambivalence, Zach! I am also from a field (History) where we are trained to keep our work carefully hidden until it is PERFECT and ready for “expert (blind peer review”….and only then should it be presented to the scholarly community and the public (if they are interested – most aren’t!). As I writer, I definitely have many decades of that culture to overcome. I’ve been blogging and putting my ideas out on the open web for a couple of years now, but I still find myself laboring over every sentence, and worrying that what I’ve got “isn’t good enough” to let anyone else read. And yet the practice of doing this — engaging in an asynchronous dialogue about intellectual issues in a flexible and accessible medium, has definitely helped me stay sharp, become more flexible, and much more attuned to the different kinds of audiences one can engage outside the silo of traditional publishing. I think 21st-century scholars simply must think about using the right tool (medium) for the job, and have more than one in their kit.
    Also, it would be great if we could stay on the “weekly epiphany” schedule!


  4. zachd1 · September 2, 2015

    Dr. Nelson,

    First off, thank you for your response. I really like your last point about using the proper tool for the job. I think that especially as an engineer, I can get caught up in using the most up-to-date and innovative forms of technology to share my ideas and that isn’t always necessary. The idea behind connected learning is not that blogging and tweeting is the ONLY way to access and present information but that sometimes it is the best way.


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