This is the first task of the 23things research tasks set by University of Surrey and maybe my second or third attempt at writing a blog post.
In my line of research (contemporary theatre) blogging and social media are very popular, in fact Professor Dan Rebellato is something of a twitter personality. However I have always preferred to keep my online life and work life separate. I think this is to do with already occupying multiple ‘professional’ identities – Phd student, lecturer, journal editor and communities of practice administrator, which don’t always square with my ‘personal’ identities/ interests (boxing, vintage clothing and massive Dolly Parton hair). This coupled with having an unusual name (my sister in law is the only other ‘F Peschier’ that I know of which has lead to some funny cases of mistaken identity) has meant I try to not be too ‘google-ble’. I am also aware that I have less of a filter online and worry about putting unrefined research that I might not later want to be judged on, out there in the public realm.
I do use social media to follow other people in my field, many who use it excellently and seemingly productively. I am always struck by how time consuming it seems to be. A few years ago I did try to start a blog to keep all my theatre viewing together, a sort of personal reviews site, but as much as I tried to keep it personal I found myself trying to be entertaining. There was probably something in my subconscious that secretly hoped Lynn Gardener was going to read it and offer me a job. I quickly gave it up as it felt vain and rather redundant.
Many theatre designers use Pinterest and Instagram and I LOVE these for collating ideas and visual journalling in that there is less need to filter. I am interested how these could be used for research, especially Pinterest as you can access it everywhere and its seems a very east way of storing links.
There is also the constant worry of protecting your work and not disseminating too much online in early drafts. For me this is lead to do with fear of plagiarism but more that my work is about living people and I have to be careful in general about what I share.
I am looking forward to the next 22 tasks, although I still feel deeply socially awkward about Twitter…