The multiple voices of an academic blogger.

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?

When sparks Ignite…

Last week was the joy of Ignite London, the first to be held in the capital, egads you say? Surely theres been one before, but alas no, it wasn’t until the lovely and gorgeous Amy and Dan got their teeth into it, that the magic actually happened. (hopefully now there will be many more…)

It was a brilliant night, and even my determined not be a geek beau thoroughly enjoyed the evening, he managed to talk about going down a coal mine…so yes he might not be a museum webby geek, but he is a geek of sorts.

The speakers were awesome, particularly Matthew Baker’s fantastic lyrical rhyme about what’s so special about bacteria. Loved it. There was quite a strong cultural historic theme emerging too, which I greatly appreciated. You can find videos of the talks here.

But with such gold being shared in bitesized five minutes chunks it got me thinking about what on earth I could enthuse about in 5 minutes flat….
And to be honest, I got nothing, nada, kaput. I mean yes I’m stupidly passionate about museums, tea and david Attenborough ooh and chocolate, but are those really the making of a crowd pleasing talk? Not separately, but a museum about tea, run by david Attenborough addicted to cadburys might have some legs… but its not really on the same strand as The Sex Lives of the Great Renaissance Masters: How the Old Masters and their Mistresses Changed Art now is it?

So maybe I could go down the tin mining, regional heritage route? I am tin miner girl and a Geordie after all… but again, I get nothing. Its kind of rubbish that I don’t actually think I have anything interesting to say. So Ignite, was awesome and a discovered lots of new and very definitely interesting things, but it also pointed out that I have a distinct lack of eclectic interests at the moment. Phooey. Must try harder Claire, must try harder.