Blogging & Impact

MegaphonesThe Impact of the Social Sciences Project have made an interesting case for introducing multi-author blogs over single author ones to help universities in “expanding their external impacts (as influence)”

My summary below, see Improving professional communication – starting multi-author blogs for the full argument.

Firstly they suggest that single-author academic blogs will have little impact because the work of an individual is  specialised and will not attract wide readership or broaden the audience.  They also suggest that academics lack the time to post regularly and that many don’t have the expertise to blog well (technical & web writing).

Their case for multi-author blogs is based primarily on two factors that will widen readership; multi-author blogs can be:

  1. Themed – they can cross silos,  rather than being tied to a specialisation, a specific academic or even department.
  2. Updated regularly

They make two other points in their case, but I’d argue that both are making the case for blogs generally, rather than for multi-author ones specifically.  Blogs can:

  1. Capture & make available output that is often lost (e.g. speaking at an event) or hidden from public view (e.g. journal articles)
  2. React to current developments; unlike more traditional publication / communication channels which tend to by slow and therefore backward looking

Beyond Impact
It must be stressed that the project’s argument is about ‘impact’.  The case for individual academic blogging is still strong I think:

  • greater engagement with your subject area / academic community
  • an aid to reflection
  • building personal reputation
  • a single location for recording and sharing your work

See Martin Weller‘s blog for much more on academic blogging:

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