Many of us at the Floating Academy have focused our initial posts on what it means to blog about academic research interests: about a blog’s potential strengths and weaknesses, its unique form and scope of content, its establishment of new communities and feedback loops. But, of course, we are approaching these issues from our perspectives as rookie bloggers who are eager to contextualize how academic blogging may intersect with our other activities as thinkers and writers. Fortunately, there is a fascinating conversation involving some of my favorite seasoned academic bloggers currently taking place at Center of Gravitas, Historiann and Reassigned Time. These bloggers, and their commenters, have raised important questions about how blogging might intersect with the “official work” that academics do.
Beyond blogs, we all know that Academics as a whole are pondering larger questions about the future of the relationship between the academy and the internet: the transition from traditional to on-line publishing, open access versus protected research, the most effective ways to teach online courses and to use the internet in the classroom, the value of new textual repositories like NINES – which has linked its current featured search to the topic of the upcoming NVSA conference – and Google books, and the potential for twittering, live blogging and paper sharing for augmenting the conference-going experience.
Indeed, it seems that our scholarly associations have also embraced these technologies. Recently, the North American Victorian Studies Association (NAVSA) announced new on-line endeavors to keep Victorianists connected: a blog, a facebook group, and a twitter feed (in addition to its already-established website, e-newsletters, and listserv). The NAVSA blog, much like The Hoarding, seems like it will become a very useful online compendium of various announcements, calls for papers, and news items of interest to Victorianists.
This post is less about answers than questions, I suppose. In this foundational time of establishing what it means to be a Victorianist (or, of course, any academic in the Humanities) working amidst various networks – in person and online – what kinds of tools and technologies do we need in order to best do our jobs, to successfully build academic communities and to effectively disseminate research? Will a blog, a twitter account, and a facebook page become the necessary accoutrements of the working academic?