Monday, 21 February 2011

Social Networking pays off

I have wonderful Facebook friends. Four years, a young fellow post-grad encouraged me to join Facebook, which I'd thought was for my children. Since then, I’ve been idling away my time on Facebook, seeing it as a transitional activity between useful academic and productive research work - an alternative to playing cards. Now it pays off.

A few months ago I broke my hand, and typing one handed on Facebook, I bemoaned the delay to my thesis whereupon several friends offered help. Last week I took up the offer from three of them, also post-graduate students – though in other places – to read my cross-case analysis, a chapter that I started writing last April, and have struggled with. Even my knitting was never as entangled and useless as this chapter has been – supervisors have read versions of it again and again until they can’t read it any more. My three Facebook friends agreed to read it against the brief:
  • does it flow?
  • has it said something sensible about each of the four research questions (with a comment on supervisors’ different perspectives)
  • any typos, grammar problems or missing words
My friends have responded very helpfully and encouragingly with comments mainly about where they got confused, but also where I’ve said something interesting that I could pull out more and how to do that. They've also picked out 'an' when I meant 'and' and 'temporarily when I mean 'temporally', so done some proof-reading too.

This has really encouraged me, not only that I’m writing so someone else understands, and that my research has interest but also that I now have a justification for using Facebook. Social networking isn’t idling away time but an important activity!

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