Thursday, 12 August 2010

Academic blogging

The AOM conference included a session on using blogging as a tool for bridging research, teaching and practice, with speakers who'd used blogs in these various ways.
  • Brayden G King
  • Teppo Felin
  • David Levy
  • Karim R Lakhani
  • Maxim Sytch
Maxim spoke first of how his university (Michigan) had worked for a year with the Washington Post hosting a blog site for the MBA class. The students had tasks to post and to comment on posts, not unlike what our OU students have been doing since 1996, but these were public postings, and members of the public could also join in. The blog became journals of participation, with 26 questions set by the academics and over 200 participants. Reading all that sounds a lot of work for the academics to mark and assess, but students, like our OU students had to cut and paste their own contributions into their assignments.

Karim, at Harvard started his blog as a doctoral project for his work on the open source software community and also twitters with his students. He made a boo-boo on his Phd blog, commenting that an important paper was not seminal, and incurring comments. Consequently, he has now deleted that blog, and advises not blogging when you're a doctoral student because potential employers could see what stupid things you've written! I'm going to carry on this blog, so I can if I've improved, and so that I can get feedback and encouragement from my readers.

David Levy writes on sustainability issues, and has invited bloggers. To get exposure he trawled related blogs and left comments that linked to his blog. That sounds like trolling, and a bit rude, but it depends on what sort of comments he left. Sensible comments I would welcome, but leaving comments like "Great blog - see mine at xx" I would call trolling, and delete. So David's advice on getting exposure generated some debate.

Teppo Felin writes at and why blog? Because
  • it's fun
  • to exchange ideas
  • for access to invisible colleagues
  • for feedback
Yes! I blog for those reasons too. He gave us a couple more slides of advice on blogging.
Why not blog?
  • You can look like at idiot
  • Worries - what if no one reads it
  • Tenure and career issues
  • Waste of time?
Successful blogs have
  • content
  • mix
  • "voice"
  • emergent
  • guest bloggers
Daniel Beunza from London School of Economics writes on socializing finance - what a wonderful idea! He writes on the sociology of finance, and has done ethnological studies of financial institutions.

It was a great session because so interesting, and encouraging to bloggers, of which there were several in the room. Consequently, people are emailing contacts and web sites for each other's blogs. Look also on the AOM OMT blog.

Here are some other bloggers to know about:
CV Harquail writes
These four bloggers are great examples/ role models. While obviously nobody can be Bob Sutton, he's got the biggest blog going and hosts a terrific conversation. Terri exemplifies a senior scholar putting her theory into real life situations, and Michael shows folks how to be timely, topical, theory-relevant, and to-the-point all at once. Brett's blog and online activity is exemplary-- he is theory based (rarely about a current news topic) and very approachable.

I'll blog more about blogs another day, after I've had time to explore them.

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