On reading and writing blogs

I am spending quite a bit of time on reading and writing blogs, e-mail lists and forums every day. After talking to a person that thought this would be just a waste of time, I have been thinking about why this could be justified from a research perspective. While in many cases it could be considered waste of time, in other cases it is really crucial for my research. Working in a fast moving field, where quite a bit of the activities happen online and very little is available through traditional research channels (e.g. books), it is important to follow discussions wherever they happen.

I feel the same about writing this blog. While I am trying to organise all the quotes and thoughts in the (currently) 150 page draft of my dissertation, it is a refreshing experience to be able to just write shorter thoughts and comments as a blog entry. Not only is it good to actually try and write a down my thoughts (which is usually harder than I think at first), but it is also a great way of getting feedback from people on things I am working on.

Also, working at a university and getting paid by the state, I think it is also my obligation to make my thoughts and work available to the world. Not that it might be that interesting to everyone, but at least it is there if anyone is interested. To turn the initial question around, why shouldn’t it be a requirement for university researchers to write blogs about their work?

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Alexander Refsum Jensenius is a music researcher and research musician living in Oslo, Norway.