Bibliography in the Age of the Internet, Part III: Blogging and Thesis Preparation
I have opted to slightly alter what will now be the final post of this series (the fourth and final proposed post on “the Googlization of everything” has been canned on account of obviousness/unnecessariness). I will be briefly discussing “better” blogging (as it relates to this blog, in fact) and touching on my plans for the next few months, mostly in an effort to actually formalize my plans for the next few months.
One might think I am perhaps unqualified to discuss better blogging, having not been the most disciplined of bloggers here and elsewhere. (I have had several blogs, both academic and personal, but I always seem to fall out of my blogging routines and, as the social media marketing publications remind us, consistency is paramount! That having been said, this post marks #30 in just over a year, so let’s celebrate that!). However, as with everything else in my life, I aim to do better (don’t we all), and have something of a plan to facilitate my improvement.
When it comes to selecting a (free) blogging service, your choice, depending on what you hope to get out of your blog, really comes down to Blogger, WordPress or Tumblr. Each platform has its benefits and limitations. In homage to the post that would have been on “Googlization,” I will point out that Google (now, as of 2003) owns Blogger, so if you like all of your apps synced and/or you want to always be signed into everything, this may be the program for you. Personally I prefer WordPress to Blogger; I feel it has a better platform and superior functionality. It allows me to do more but doesn’t necessarily require that I know more to do it. Good deal. As for Tumblr, arguably the “it” blogging service of the moment, its ultimate-ease-of-use and instantaneity, in my opinion, sort of makes it the Twitter of the blogging world (to the point where I sometimes wonder why I would have a Tumblr if I have a Twitter); and much like Twitter these days, it seems the primary function of Tumblr is to blog by reblogging the content of others. Tumblr is a blogging service for sharing; if you have dreams of typing out sprawling online odes, it’s probably best to make use of one of the other two.
In an effort to improve my blogging consistency, I have devised a blogging schedule for the coming academic year (which I intend to really try to stick to…really). With this series of bibliography blogs out of the way, as of September, I hope to publish one entry every two weeks, or two per month, based on material I encounter through my Google Alerts and organize with my Delicious account (I will briefly discuss both the Alerts and Delicious in a moment). Ideally, these posts will aim to be fairly concise, but will critically engage and question/challenge the news story or idea to which I’m responding. For anyone who has taken an undergraduate or graduate university course, I see these posts as akin to the “response paper.” We’ll see how it goes.
As I note above, the inspirational or primary material for these blog responses will most likely come from the results of my Google Alerts, the weekly key-word searches I have set up through Google’s service to scan the web for content related to my work (my current alerts are for things like “social media,” “social networking,” “Twitterature,” and so on). I have also edited the schedule according to which I receive my Google Alerts: whereas in the past I was getting daily results (a daunting mound of information), I now receive a week’s worth of Alerts via email on Sunday night, and the plan is to review these links and blog about them every second Monday. Again, this is the plan.
When reviewing Alert-ed material, it’s Delicious that helps me organize it, a tagging service that is certainly a step up from the “Bookmarks” you’ll find at the top of your browser page. You can actually find my most recent Delicious links on the sidebar of this page. Delicious can actually be integrated right into your browser, enabling one to literally tag a page with the click of a mouse. (Note: I was without a Delicious add-on in my browser for several months up until a few days ago, as it took the Delicious team awhile–too long!–to redesign the app for Firefox 4.0 and 5.0. This was not my happiest time. The good news is a beta version of the add-on for all versions of Firefox was introduced in July, so my tagging–and yours!–can recommence!) One final note of personal preference re: Delicious tagging: I like to present my links in an unbiased manner (so, for instance, I have no tags that read “stupid” or “ridiculous” or “HATE”), largely because I choose to keep them public. I think the amassing of everyone’s links on Delicious is perhaps its best feature; it has certainly helped me find and track a lot of information on social media. And now, blogging in response to some of this material with allow me to engage with it in a more in-depth manner, and comment on it—hopefully a useful exercise for the thesis writing to come.
In conclusion (the future is now): Thank you for embarking on this bibliographic journey with me; I hope you enjoyed it, and I apologize that it took a little longer than anticipated to roll it out. Where do I go from here? Well, I’m RAing at present, fortunately working in and around social media stuff that will no doubt aid in the preparation of maybe, possibly, hopefully starting to write my first chapter (I will be linking to some of my RA-produced work in August). In the meantime, I have an article due 1 October, a few CFPs requiring shining proposals and some extracurricular stuff to attend to. From here, I see reading for chapter one across October and November, and hopefully starting to write by November; let this not be wishful thinking. (Look forward to future updates on my progress, here and on Twitter.)