It’s true that the peer review process is the standard in academia, as it should be. But blogging gives us a chance to write in a more personalized voice, and is often a mere Google search or Facebook share away from the reader, rather than being locked behind a journal’s paywall, or tucked away in a dissertation in some faraway library. It can increase the visibility of our own research and of our chosen fields.

So wrote Anthropologist Patrick Clarkin earlier this week. He claims that, instead of distracting us, social media can strengthen academic community and research.

He starts by reminding us of the high costs that go into obtaining academic journals, contacting researchers, and coordinating with others in his field. He then notes how he’s gotten around that by going online:

I’ve used social media such as Twitter to promote some things I’ve written on my blog, which others have kindly shared with their followers and even turned into assigned readings for their students. Some of those writings have gotten me some praise from my department chair, brought me invitations to conferences, helped me find a co-author, and have helped me to share some ideas with a wider audience. 

Clarkin also writes about dealing with low readership after graduation because of one’s age and lack of experience. Blogging helps young, under appreciated researchers publish anyway.

Another academic has written something similar — Liana Silva, a minority scholar, says that blogging is vital to her research as public interest and funding move away from her field.

From her post in the Guardian:

For minority scholars, such as myself, blogging is not just a bullet point on a CV; it is an intrinsic part of what my research is about: a commitment to making the struggles, achievements and contradictions of African Americans, Puerto Ricans or women visible to the broader population. I cannot afford silence. Blogging allows me a platform to talk about issues that may go unnoticed, or issues where the point of view of a person of colour or of a woman have been left in the cold.

FJP: Fighting the good fight. We like that.

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