Author: M.J.Ryder

About M.J.Ryder

Writer, academic and digital communications professional.

The dangers of academic blogging and social media

Blogs are everywhere these days. In the world of academia you almost can’t move for the sheer number of blogs popping up all over the place. From academic departments to research centres, reading groups and individuals, there more blogs out there than any sane person could hope to follow.

So why should you bother writing one? Do you need to write one? Can you get by without one?

To blog or not to blog…

There seems to be a trend in academia at the moment where many people feel compelled to start a blog because it’s the ‘done thing’ without really stopping to think about why they are blogging, or even if they should be blogging at all. Just because other people are doing it, doesn’t mean it’s the right thing for you, or even your department. In some cases, it’s far better not to blog than risk the potential damage a poorly run blog could cause to you and your reputation.
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What’s in a name?

For the first of a new blog series on digital marketing for academics, I take a look at names, and the big choice between marketing yourself, and your ‘product’…

Names… names are important things in the blogosphere. Your name is the thing that will help you get recognised – help you get noticed among the thousands of other academic blogs out there.

The best blog names are the ones that are interesting, memorable, and maybe even a little fun. They also tell you something about what the blog is about, without the need to even visit it. Some of my favourite blog-names include ‘The Law of Killer Robots’ (Josh Hughes), ‘A Nuclear Notebook’ (Emily Gibbs), and most recently ‘The Queer Frontier’ (Danielle Girard).

But of course this isn’t the only approach you can take to blogging. Some authors will decide to take another approach and instead market themselves first, over their ‘product’. Though I wouldn’t describe this website as a traditional blog, MJRyder.net is a fine example. In this case, I am selling ‘me’ and what I do, though at the same time I am also sacrificing something of the unique and memorable nature of some of the other blogs I’ve described above. Continue reading »

Survey results: A question of (animal) life and death

A few weeks ago I posted a short survey via my Facebook page, asking readers to answer some questions relating to animal life and death. The idea was to test a few hypotheses I had been playing with relating to the different values we place on animal life. The main focus being that certain animals are valued far more highly in our society than others. The results of my survey can be found below. I will hold off on my comments for now, as I’m interested to see how people react… Continue reading »

Algernon, Runescape and the Game of Chance

About a decade ago, I was sat at home at my computer, fed up with Tiberian Sun, so playing Runescape instead.[1] Having successfully worked my way into the Champions’ Guild, I decided my next challenge was to work my way into the Mining Guild, where I hoped to ‘farm’ a decent income.[2]

To get into the Mining Guild, first you have reach Mining level 60 – a task which can take many weeks of hard labour in the mines of Runescape, mining Tin, Copper and Iron ore until the dwarfs deem you worthy of entering their sacred caverns. Continue reading »