The multiple voices of an academic blogger.
The multiple voices of an academic blogger.
The multiple voices of an academic blogger. is there an echo in here?
Currently I write posts for four blogs including this one. I enjoy it, I have a different approach to each of them (here, work, DLNet and IgniteLDN) due to the different nature, intention and audience, but I do try and keep my tone consistent and as much like ‘me’ as possible. However, splitting yourself four different ways isn’t always easy, particularly when then four different outlets deal with different yet similar things. It has come to my attention that on one of the blogs in particular my change in tone on occassional posts might not be appropriate. So this got me thinking. What is appropriate? Have I been letting the side down? Why bother? What tone of voice should I use? Should I use a tone of voice? Who is reading this? Is anyone reading this? Should I just go and read a book instead?
I’ve been thinking about the implications of academic blogging for a while, a while back I pondered whether this blog was damaging my academic reputation. The concept of academic reputation keeps coming up again and again, and on the whole it seems that using social media tools to disseminate and discuss your ideas and to create a dialogue are frowned upon, and research that I have been working on show that the majority of academics never ever use social media and web 2.0. That isn’t the case where I work, UCLDH is well versed in bloggage and tweets, and as were the museums I have worked for. It’s likely that the field I work in and the people I work with are just ahead of the curve, and everyone else will catch up eventually.
I’ve been blogging personally on this blog for a while now, and I still feel like I’m finding my feet, and I don’t know if I would call it academic either. Blogging certaintly, I don’t want to randomly rant, or produce diary snippets of my life, and I know a little bit about my regular readers and do try and think about whether they would find it useful or interesting. Whereas on Facebook, its clear who I am and who my audience is (personal with a little bit of the UCLDH crew thrown in), and on twitter (@clairey_ross) I’m sort of more professional and informational with a little bit of life in there too. Here I specifically want to talk about what I’m excited about, and that is usually museums and cool (some people, including my boyfriend, would say geeky) stuff that I’m working on, have been to, or am just plain hyperventilating with excitement about. I’m happy doing this, because this is my personal blog, I write about what interests me and I hope it interests my readers, as I assume they are mostly into the same things I am, or they wouldn’t be reading at all, right?
However on the other blogs, it isn’t as easy. I still try to find the space between the excitable slightly weird me and the professional me, which is difficult. It’s easier on the Ignite blog, because the set up in its essence is to be randomly interesting and I hope my personality fits in quite well. So posting about Restoring The Archimedes Palimpsest or What does the hard hat and Wonder Woman have in common? Is absolutely fine.
But for DLNet its different, I don’t know if people want to see the scatter brain me, so I am more informative rather than flap happy. Its early days for the DLNet blog and we haven’t really gathered momentum, I hope it will take off soon and I have some ideas for that. And then to the UCLDH blog. This is different again; a mixture of project discussions, UCLDH events and reviews and promotion for other related conference and events, whats right for here? A personal approach or a more factual one? I can’t decide.
So I pose the questions: am I spreading myself too thinly? Should I concentrate on one and not the others? Which one? Should the tone of an ‘institutional’ blog be more informative and less personalised? Should there be multiple authors, do multiple tones of voice make for a more creative discussion environment? Or do too many cooks spoil the broth?
2 thoughts on “The multiple voices of an academic blogger.”
I think the first thing you should do is stop worrying. I’m not sure what’s been said but I’ve yet to come across a blog post that you’ve written that’s inappropriate.
On the DLNet one why not encourage guest bloggers, or make sure you always ask someone in advance to blog your events. If people are organising ThinkDrinks, get them blogging about that. Or get people to blog about their e-learning projects. Or you blog about interesting e-learning projects that you’ve heard about.
I think you’re right that the DLNet ones needs to be a bit less personal. Think about what you want to achieve from it, which is ultimately, I guess, a following of people interested in the organisation and using the website to form networks of their own with people with similar interests.
You probably should try and get some different voices on there (happy to help out if you want!) and you could maybe do something similar to what MCG does – a weekly/monthly reflection on what’s happening in museum e-learning.
Hope this helps. But mostly, don’t worry!
its interesting that a lot can be decided by what tone of voice you try to use, and whether it is appropriate or not totally depends on the individual reader. with regards to DLNet: you are right; I do want to get different voices out there and guest blogging is a way to do that, in fact ages ago I was going to contact you and few others to see if you would be willing to do some blogging on there. I’m sure it will all come together in time.