Do What You Already Do, Publicly

Donna Yates recently offered this challenge to other academics, and I wanted to share it, since it gets at the heart of what it means to be an academic who blogs, or has a Twitter account, or who is otherwise active on social media:

So, dear reader, I challenge you to evaluate your normal routine. Think about the information you collect on a daily basis, think about the stuff you aggregate for yourself, and think about the data artefacts that you generate. Is there something that you do already that could go public with very little effort? I think probably so. Is that thing useful or interesting to other people? Very likely if it is interesting and useful to you. Will sharing it help your career/research/life? In my experience, yes, but you’ll have to consider that for yourself.

And be bold! Absolutely no one notices when a digital knowledge sharing project fails. I’ve tried so many projects that I have later abandoned because they were unpopular, they were too much work, or they didn’t have the expected benefits for me…

Don’t start a blog if blogging isn’t your thing. You are just going to burn yourself out. Same goes for twitter or, really, anything else that you are told that you should do. Don’t force it. Rather, enhance what you are good at, what you are up to already. Always ask ‘can this have a public face’ and don’t be afraid to give it a try and abandon it if it doesn’t work for you.

Thanks to Paul Barford for drawing this post to my attention.

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  • Shiphrah99

    I’m reading Austin Kleon’s “Share Your Work,” a follow up to his “Steal Like an Artist,” and this makes an interesting counterpoint.