Less blog, and moar blog

Photo by chrysics | www.flickr.com/photos/chrysics
Photo by chrysics | http://www.flickr.com/photos/chrysics

It’s ironic that I wrote a post about whether blogging could be a hobby for Research Whisperer, professed my love of blogging, and yet I haven’t posted here since mid-February!

The issue I discussed in the RW post was: if you’re blogging about work topics, and the blog profile adds to professional gravitas, can it actually be a hobby? Hobby implies something you do in your leisure time, not ‘work’. My lines were blurred, and have always been in academia. It’s a common problem.

The first thing I drop when I’m under the gun for other blog deadlines is this one. My personal and first blog.

I recently deleted a whole heap of posts from this blog. I had used this blog as a repository for AASRN-type info and updates for quite a few years, before the network developed into having its own identity and social media outlets. Even as I hit ‘delete’ on mass-selected posts, I was wondering whether I’d regret it.

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Where will I be?

Photo by Kim Tairi (https://www.flickr.com/photos/angels_have_the_phone_box)
Photo by Kim Tairi (https://www.flickr.com/photos/angels_have_the_phone_box)

I hadn’t counted on a hectic second semester after the hectic-ness of starting a new job in first semester, but it appears that’s what I’ve created!

As well as some exciting and somewhat daunting writing deadlines, I’ll be presenting at the following:

  • 1 October: Student workshop on communicating research through social media at the Australian Entomological Society’s 50th anniversary conference, Canberra.
  • 8 October: Webinar on ‘Getting savvy with your research audiences’ (with Jonathan O’Donnell) for the Australian Association of Gerontology/Emerging Researchers in Ageing.
  • 27 November: ‘Digital academic’ symposium convened by Deborah Lupton, Canberra.
  • 3 December: Breakfast talk for the Psych-Oncology co-operative research group (PoCoG), Melbourne.

This is, of course, on top of my day-job as a research education and development lecturer at an institution with multiple regional campuses. I’ll be travelling to two of the larger campuses over the next few months…two times each.

We’ve also got a holiday planned during one of the school holiday weeks in September, something I’m looking forward to with equal parts dread and longing. Dread because there is nothing worse – nothing – than going on holidays when everyone else and their dog is going on holidays. Longing because it’ll be fun, and away, and I won’t need to commute for a whole week!

I’ll be ready to put my feet up for a short time come 4 Dec. Just a short time, before I’ll have to let the increasing madness of the silly season in.

Pages for pixels

Commuting dreams (Photo by Tseen Khoo)
Commuting dreams (Photo by Tseen Khoo)

I haven’t read a hardcopy book for close on two and a half years now.

My most common reading window is on my work commute. Given the rarity of seats on the train at peak hour, the likelihood that I’ll be swinging around in an aisle or central section is high. I’m not coordinated enough to hold a book + turn pages + balance… hence, the domination of e-reading. Single hand, one-finger swiping. I can read even if I’m being totally sardined by too many people in suits and with hefty bags. Pressed in on all sides + with nothing to hold on to, I can easily disappear into a book with no bag juggling or trying to gain more space.

Diving into a book on the commute works for me. Others have been shocked that I can read so much on the small screen of the phone, but text size is comparable to what they’d be reading on a Kindle or iPad. There’s just more swiping involved.

On my phone, I think I’ve read over 100 books, including all the “Song of Ice and Fire” series (George R. R. Martin – Game of Thrones), most of Lee Child’s Reacher series (up to book 11), just about all the Rizzoli & Isles series (Tess Gerritsen), + many of the AWW 2012 books.


2013 – backwards + forwards

Down the garden path (Photo by Tseen Khoo)
Down the garden path (Photo by Tseen Khoo)

Most people do their retrospective posts at the end of the year, but the end of the year was such a frenzied mishmash of work, outings, functions, and at-home time that I was lucky to get that final 2012 post out at all.

Not that this post is about making excuses.

It’s actually a wrap-up of my blogging and other writing from last year, and some musing on what I hope to get up to – writing-wise – this year. My semi-resolution from January 2012 was “to write more and to do it for fun, not academia”. This I did, in spades.

I churned out a lot posts, most of it split between RW and here. I was also invited to write several guest-posts for other blogs, a couple of articles for The Conversation, and was approached for a sponsored post. When I look back on it now, I wrote more consistently and faster in 2012 than I’ve ever done before.



Image from Pozible site for “Colin the Dog’s Fabulous Midnight Adventure”, the 1st project I ever supported through crowdfunding

I crashed a digital industries subject recently. It was the second last week of term, and the students really looked like they were over the semester and, indeed, the year.

The subject had a guest speaker, which was why I was there.

That guest speaker was Rick Chen, co-founder of Pozible, Australia’s first and biggest crowdfunding site.

I went in my professional capacity as a research developer, someone who’s meant to be hunting down ways for researchers to fund their work, but what I got out of it – quite unexpectedly – was the most inspiring seminar I’ve been to…possibly ever.

Is that too grand a claim? I feel a bit embarrassed to say it.