Friday, December 07, 2007

Blogging the PhD

I was prompted today to consider the purpose of blogging while reading Biella's healthhacker blog triggered by a google alert on a particular writer, Anne Marie Mol. (I have her as an alert because she uses ant, shares a health focus, writes well of 'the performative turn' and utilised a creative writing style of a split screen between her own thinking and how this is informed by literature- a performance in its own 'write'.)

The reasons i blog; here they are, the unexpurgated version, Dec 2007:

1. my thoroughly modern supervisor suggested it
2. it helps me think! (writing creates my thinking, its not an after the fact activity)
3. being in the public domain forces me to be consider carefully; accuracy, acknowledgments, palatability- the approachability of what I write to a wider audience.
4. it links me to others who share similar methodology, or processes of study, or content; whether they know it or not.
5. provides for dialogue; real or imagined. Included here are my supervisor, other students (local and international, some I meet, most I never will), with colleagues, family, with myself.
6. provides a chronology of my own thinking and doing. (My methodology informed by ant follows Latour; he suggests 4 notebooks, one of which i have substituted with this blog- a chronology to keep track on the research process)
7. provides me a medium that hyperlinks to relevant resources; clouds that link me to other people's delicious use. And the software-
8. I am not limited to text or prose. i hyperlink, mindmap, use visual, auditary. The blog provides both actual and potential space for trials of creative writing.
9. its a playful forum, in many ways a forgiving forum, as i put it in take it off, move it around, wordsmith for impact.
10. Blogging allows for a work in progress to be shared, commented upon, revisited, reworked.
11. I stay writing, not as much by volume as i read, but time spent writing about what i read, or what i think, or can apply, to my areas of study, could be close to 50:50.
12. I 'perform' differently in this medium. The writing is less formal, less starchy.
13. I am shaped in doing this, and in this there is overlap with what i am studying- in (re)shaping practice, what is practice doing back. The exploring of how i am shaped in doing this provides for insights into how the medium shapes the message in counselling through use of txt, email and Internet postings. There is a walk the talk type quality. Havent started txting the PhD, yet ;)

So Whats different about doing this by blog rather than doing it in a notebook, using paper or a word doc?
a. Its still as public as i choose to let it be.
b. There is no doodling here, the medium and my artistic ability dont gel in the satisfying way of strokes on a page being pleasing aesthetically or soothing or whatever else my doodling suggests.
c. i dont have the satisfaction of crossing out, pushing the pen into a page, screwing up the page as a cathartic exercise. Moving to the delete bin doesnt quite do this.
d. I dont/didnt share as much in written hard copy formats. What i would have shared is so much more formal; i would feel compelled to have it at least halfway right, to be substantive, to look like chapters, essays. To look like a promising academic. The hard copy written format i find/found a slower more pensive engagement.

If you are visiting my site because of this posting linking to your own research purposes, or interest in blogging for academic purposes, please do leave me a post to let me know. Do you have similar reasons? what would you add? I will turn off the antispam number recognition thingy for a week (or as long as i can bear it) to make it easier (dont tell the spammers).


  1. I love your list! It is a clearly reflective about how you make blogging work for you within your own context. How refreshing! I demonstrates that you are focused on your own work and not necessarily on telling others what they should be doing. Thank you for sharing!

  2. Oh, I am also interested in your "four notebook" method. I am hoping to learn more about it from your blog.