Wednesday, 21 October 2015

Keeping a blog: academic strategy or lifestyle choice?

I’m giving a short 10 minute talk on this blog to colleagues with an interest in social media. In such circumstances I feel a little bit fraudulent as there is no single rationale for my keeping this and hence no clear argument to suggest that anyone else should. Further, others have strategies for dep[loying social media for very particular purposes of self promotion whilst I have never been sufficiently cold blooded about it. Still, as Wittgenstein points out, we send people to prison for a variety of reasons and that doesn’t suggest no rationale at all.

I guess the key factors are:
  • Showing the ship getting into the bottle to graduate students. My original motivation was to show papers / chapters at all stages of preparation in order that graduate students (PhDs and those on the MA in Philosophy and Mental Health) were not discouraged by the sight, only, of philosophers’ finished works. Of course this carries the danger for me of publishing rather than hiding my mistakes and hence of me never getting another job.
  • Serving as a preliminary stage for writing papers / chapters by forcing some preliminary coherence. It is difficult to know how far to take the preliminary / draft versions. But so far only 2 journals have objected to this.
  • Promoting the subject (philosophy of mental health / psychiatry and philosophy; anti-reductionist philosophy) and my own views of it. Some conferences etc. The figures of hits per month are about the same as OUP book print run so by accident this may be quite significant.
  • Conversations with fellow academics. Eg Harry Collins here and here. There are arguments for and against enabling comments and I have so far not done. But I publish emailed comments.
  • Enabling my own life of the mind. thoughts on the meaning of life.
  • A convenient place for manifestos. See below.
Practicalities / style guidelines: I write assuming that there is as much chance of a readership as the papers I Blu-Tack to my office door. Hence no apologies for time off nor use of the vocative. I warn people if I write up a substantial conference paper or a draft formal review of a book. I don’t worry too much about past links. Google based Blogger is favoured by Google searches. Wordpress is slower but, I'm told, has better access.

There is a rationale for the title and vague inclusion criteria for entries but it is not exclusively an academic blog. Hence, eg., theatre reviews. I suspect I would no longer be keeping a purely academic blog. It isn't really an academic strategy.

Some manifestos