As an academic – a term which I do not think I have actually explored – I try to continue to read new books and journal articles on a range of subjects, although they all have a familiar strand of something digital. I saw a book title which really appealed to me, “The Digitial Academic edited by Deborah Lupton, Inger Mewburd and Pat Thomson”. Soon after reading the first chapter I started to pick certain chapters to read and one which caught my attention were those related to blogging. It was while reading these chapters that I pushed my book aside and grabbed my laptop to start to type. The question in my mind – Why do I blog!
In the beginning
When I first left school to join the academic team at the institution where I work, I was full of hope, excitement and innovation. I suddenly realised that I was working in an environment where I could embrace my digital self and integrate if firmly into my practice.
With blogs created I instantly started to share my practice as a primary school teacher, blogging about ideas, lessons, tips and even tricks. I was in my element. I remember very clearly, however, the first time that my elation was firmly dampened. I was in a meeting with my manager and the question was asked – “What has been your research outputs?”. Initially, I was dumbfounded not even realising what s/he was talking about. But, recovering my feet quickly I launched into the ‘outputs’ I had done on my blog and who had used/read them. But again I was dampened as I was informed that these posts were not classed as ‘academic’.
A change of site, change within me
Although my blogging on this site and my live shows continued for some months after that encounter and revelation about blog posts, my engagement with this blog slowly came to an end. I am still blogging now, but I am doing so in a state of confusion. My other blog, the one about gaming etc, became my main blogging output leaving this one without a focus and with little desire from myself to blog.
I went from being a well-established practitioner to lesser-known and even rarely accepted academic. I went from being a big fish in a big pond, to being a very small, tiny piece of plankton in the swirling oceans of the academia. My opinions meant nothing and the only way forward was to publish research in peer-reviewed journals.
Since I was no longer a practitioner my reputation in the classroom also plummeted and I was left in a ‘no persons’ land. It reminded me of the lyrics of a lesser-known MeatLoaf song – “Too old to rock and roll but too young to die”
Trying to change
I feel that this blog has to change. I recognise this completely but my concern is my writing style and how it needs to change. I’m not sure who you are, the person reading this, but I am confused about what you want and even more confused about what I want to write. I like to reflect and write openly about my thoughts and/or feelings. But this, as it has been identified to me several times, is not academic. I have written some researched thoughts before, where I have provided references and really have engaged with the more academic side of my persona. To be honest, I don’t enjoy blogging the academic content as much as these types of posts but, if these are not academic enough, should I be blogging at all.
I am completely caught between my two personas – one which I am, and one which I should be and I think the activity of blogging currently reflects this.
I will be interested in what people would like to read if anything at all. I have some blog posts identified for the future, but whether these actually come into existence I am not sure. I’m hardly ever going to be a Paulo Freire or a Sara Ahmed. If I am going to be myself then you will need to prepare yourself for some strange blog posts! Even while writing this, I am considering whether I am actually an academic at all – maybe I need to find a definition about what one is and blog about that. Or maybe it is time to hang up my academic blog and allow it to drift away into oblivion.