Friday, 1 June 2012

The Great Education Blogging Survey

Alice Rose Bell is doing some interesting education research, and is collecting data about education bloggers. I'm not sure I count as one - I work in education and talk about life in an institution (or Institution) - but I'm not a dedicated 'education blogger' unlike Music for Deckchairs, Ms E-Mentor or many of the people whose work I admire. Though I am very didactic, I suppose. 
Anyway, she asks us to complete this questionnaire and pass it on. So here goes.

Blog URL:
What do you blog about?
Work, teaching, marking, politics, music, books, reading, politics, more politics, fencing, things that make me angry. 
Are you paid to blog? 
No. Though I like to think that it's part of my professional duty. And I certainly blog during working hours. That sticks it to the Man. 
What do you do professionally (other than blog)?
I'm a university lecturer. 
How long have you been blogging at this site?
Since October 2008. I was asked to give an MA class on new media so set up a blog and asked the participants to do the same. They refused. I carried on, partly because it saves my friends' ears and partly because I can't help lecturing people. I'll stop when you all agree with me. 
Do you write in other platforms? (e.g. in a print magazine?)
Not habitually, though I've contributed the occasional piece to journals, education newspapers and elsewhere. I tweet and get letters in the Guardian too, sometimes. 
Can you remember why you started blogging?
I was asked to give an MA class on new media so set up a blog and asked the participants to do the same. They refused. I carried on, partly because it saves my friends' ears and partly because I can't help lecturing people. I'll stop when you all agree with me. 

What keeps you blogging?
Many things make me angry. Some things make me enthusiastic. I'm a bit didactic and I like to have my say, even though I have only a small audience. I'd like to think I'm entertaining (and/or annoying). Some of my tastes and interests are quite marginal, and a blog lets me communicate with people who share them. 
Do you have any idea of the size or character if your audience? How?
I've a basic metrics analysis link: I get between 150-200 hits per day, depending on what I've written and what time of year it is (academic holidays are a low point, so many of my readers are colleagues or students of mine). Some pieces get tweeted round and views rocket. Other days the tumbleweed rolls round. My readers are mostly in the UK, with a strong minority in the US and then a regular group from the rest of the world. 
What’s your attitude to/ relationship with people who comment on your blog?
Most commenters seem to be regular readers. I'd like more comments actually - it implies engagement and interest. I usually respond to comments and frequently alter posts in the light of them. I can never tell what's going to attract a lot of comments - it's never the ones I think should get people going. 

Do you feel as if you fit into any particular community, network or genre of blogging? (e.g. schools, science, education, museums, technology)
Education and humanities. But I'm really a generalist - I admire those bloggers who've built an audience by single-minded devotion to a particular field or subject. 
If so, what does that community give you?
Developing links with other academics has given me plenty to read, and occasional publication on other sites and in the press. I haven't collaborated with anyone yet, but I'm hopeful. There's always a lot of support - emotional and professional - available. .
What do you think are the advantages of blogging? What are its disadvantages/ limitations?
It's addictive and easy - I find myself rushing to blog rather than embarking on a lecture or a paper. It's hard to know whether you're actually contributing to the sum of human knowledge or pleasure. I do like the communal aspects, and think there is a degree of social capital accruing to blogging. Negotiating the personal/professional boundaries is a bit tricky too. Then there's the matter of performative identities - I was amused and intrigued to find that some of my readership believed that I am female. Getting tone of voice right is also trickier online, partly because we read and write differently online: I'm not sure people know where it fits generically yet. 
I like the speed of blogging: perhaps it fosters off-the-cuff thinking, but in many ways, intelligent commentators reacting quickly is necessary in the current political and cultural environment. The public sphere has been widened from a tight circle of professional commentators to a wider sphere of (mostly white, educated, western, anglophone but often contradictory) commentators who can at least provide instant feedback with alternative perspectives to that of the élites.
Do you tell people you know offline that you’re a blogger? (e.g. your grandmother, your boss)
A lot of people do, though I've tried my best to keep my meatspace name off the site, though not entirely successfully. I used to be more explicit about my workplace and its tensions, but I've rowed back from that rather. 

1 comment:

Some Chilean Woman said...

I wish I could write as much as you do! Maybe getting off Facebook would help me.

I'm a regular, happy you're still you're still writing.

We'd probably comment more if the word verification was easier. I am on my third try.