It is time to start blogging

Added by Branwen Hide on 16 December 2008 12:28

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More than a few weeks ago now, (14 Oct 2008), I wrote about the  increasing use of blogs by academics, and policy makers.

This week the Times Higher Education has two more articles regarding the use of bloging and online news sites by policy makers and academics which I felt I should highlight.

After a bit of coercion by a postdoctoral researcher in his lab, Professor Douglas Kell, Chief executive of the BBSRC, has started his own blog. According to his first post, it will not be used to post official BBSRC policy statements, but will be a place for him to discuss areas of general interest. The site has been submitted to the ?Science Blogging Challenge?, run by Nature Network, which sets out to challenge all scientists to get a senior scientist blogging, with the ultimate aim of helping scientific blogging gain momentum and credibility. It will be interesting to see if Professor Kell, or any of the other senior researchers keep up their blogs and how well they will be received. It can take a bit of time to write a blog entry and given that academics are already pushed for time, it may be that blogging falls by the way side unless it is actively encouraged.

And that encouragement may be just around the corner, with the generation of a new league table that measures what is being said about universities in blogs and online news posts. The first place a person looks for information is the web, and it is natural to assume that they will use the web to find out about potential universities. Therefore, just one or two poor reviews or the inability to find the type of information one is looking for may be enough to cause someone to decide to go to University A vs. University B. Currently a lot of emphasise is being placed on university websites, but the report on which the article is written says more emphasis should be placed on over all web presence. For example, Leeds Metropolitan University has greater positive cyber coverage than the Univerity of Oxford, though Oxford did far better in terms of online news coverage. Whether or not this will have any real or longer term consequences remains to be seen, but it is interesting food for thought and maybe it will become just one more league table that will be addressed.

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