For weeks I have been meaning to make some changes to the ‘About Me’ section of my blog. Unfortunately I kept putting it off, and then I got an email sent to my university email address:
I was wondering if you were free this evening to talk to Sky News about the Birmingham City University MA Course on Social Media – I saw you had blogged about it today.
We were hoping to talk to you at 7:15pm this evening – we have a studio in Birmingham we could use.
I missed it. Whilst my hotmail is guaranteed to be picked up within an hour, my university account languishes unread for days on end as people fill it with notices about filing cabinets and lectures I’m not interested in.
This isn’t the first time I’ve thought I need to update my ‘About Me’. My referring to ‘so-called’ web 2.0 technologies has led to the term being carried over into a THE article; whilst not explicitly emphasising that I’m a ‘Doctor’ means that my opinion probably carries less authority than the ‘Doctor’ from a history department.
Therefore I have finally made a few changes. Gone is the ‘so-called’, ‘research fellow’ has been replaced with ‘post-doctoral researcher’, and most importantly my preferred email address is clearly visible!
I’m not sure whether I would have said yes or no to Sky News, but it would have been nice to have the choice.
Whilst Google Street View has been around for a while, today it launched for 25 cities in the UK. I haven’t previously been much concerned with Google Street View; clever, interesting, but not really applicable to my life. However, one of the 25 uk cities included today is Norwich, the city I grew up in but left many years ago.
‘Memory lane’ doesn’t really do justice to the scope of nostaligia that can be evoked by Google Street View…before today the world would have missed out on a history of places I worked in my youth!
My first job was as a paperboy:
There used to be a newspaper kiosk that I worked in here:
I had a job in a butchers…but it’s now a construction firm:
I worked in the Red Lion kitchen:
…but Google Street View has its limitations; it doesn’t go down an alleyway to show me what used to be the Lamb:
Obviously the world wasn’t missing much. Increasing amounts of information is not necessarily a good thing, it depends how you use it.
Whilst I don’t think there would be much gained from all academics Twittering their days away, I think there is a need for a change in the academic attitude to the blog. Despite the blog being one of the earliest examples of social media, great swathes of academia have failed to adopt the technology (or have adopted it in an extremely safe manner, i.e, ‘the research project blog’). Is it because it is a technology without purpose, or is it because it opens an academic’s opinions up to the sort of scrutiny that would otherwise be lacking?
As this is my 398th Webometric Thoughts’ blog post, readers will not be surprised that I am a fan of the blog. I am a natural blogger in that I am always happy to proclaim my opinion, no matter how outrageous it may appear to others (…you don’t want to get me started on vegetarianism). But shouldn’t all academics be natural bloggers? Up and down the country academics are constantly proclaiming their opinions in lecture theatres, journals, books, and conferences, but relatively rarely in blogs. As blogs provide an opportunity for the sharing of opinions far beyond the academic community, and engaging in debate today rather than in six months time, surely blogging should be a part of every academics output.
Whilst debate is an essential part of scientific progress, I am always surprised by the lack of scientific debate. Whilst I have heard of great debates conducted through the letters pages of eminent scientific journals, and have occassionally seen the rigerous questioning of a paper presented at a conference, in general most scientific publications pass with very little debate. Academics are generally a pleasant bunch, and if you don’t make many waves, noone will bother you. After all, hardly anyone will read your paper anyway.
The blogosphere, on the other hand, is a very different beast. It thrives on debate, to the point that some people surf around merely looking for someone to argue with! Wouldn’t it be good for both the arts and sciences if academics were forced to defend their ideas in the blogosphere more often? Especially those which are seemingly indefensible.
Free Public Lecture, Tuesday 31 March, 6pm, University of Wolverhampton (Room MC 001).
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Dr. Mick Grierson is an experimental artist specialising in real‐time interactive audiovisual research, with a specific focus on cognition and perception. He works in film, music, and software development, both inside and outside industry, designing, developing and producing new approaches to creating audiovisual experience.
In addition to working in traditional roles in film and television, he has designed commercial audiovisual software for the entertainment industries, which has led to several high profile commissions, including title design and digital audiovisual installations for the hit T.V. show Derren Brown: Tricks of the Mind.
In 2008 he collaborated with the Sonic Arts Network and the South Bank Centre to create a freely available interactive audiovisual interface for use by the deaf and hard of hearing, and received considerable international press attention after
demonstrating his Brain Computer Interface for Music to the BBC.
In addition, he is lead developer on the Mabuse Real‐time Audiovisual Composition Software Environment. He is currently Co‐Director of the Goldsmiths College Creative Computing Programme, and an AHRC fellow in audiovisual cognition at Goldsmiths College Electronic Music Studios.