23 Jun

4 interesting articles i’ve read this week

For tonight’s instalment of seven days of lists, I give you four interesting articles / blog posts (shortish ones!) I’ve read this week

  1. The verdict: Is blogging or tweeting about research papers worth it? In this article, the author talks about her experience with making her papers available in her institution’s open access repository, then blogging and tweeting about them, and the resultant impact on downloads. In summary, she suggests: “If you want people to find and read your research, build up a digital presence in your discipline, and use it to promote your work when you have something interesting to share.”
  2. Author Nicholas Carr: The Web Shatters Focus, Rewires Brains. A student in my undergrad Social Technologies class pointed me to this article. It’s a little bit older now but it’s really, really interesting. The author calls the internet an “interruption system”. The article provides understandable insights into the impact of the internet on our attention and what happens when our attention is chronically fragmented.
  3. Why the humble notebook is flourishing in the iPhone era. I wrote a post the other day about Midori Traveler’s Notebooks (MTNs), and I have another coming about how I use mine to organise my life and my thoughts. This post looks at bullet journalling, a system that I implement in a lightweight way in my MTN. This post is a reflection on how the bullet journalling craze is playing out.
  4. Why isn’t there a Grindr for straight people? My boss told me about this article. We have some incredibly random conversations because we are both very, very prone to making tangential links. I think we were talking about information environments and he was telling me about how this article said that people use Grindr when they’re sitting in gay bars to explore who is there and might want to hook up. He was telling me about how Grindr emulates the gay bar environment. Here’s a key quote: “All successful dating apps succeed because they recreate versions of older dating institutions and experiences in a new, digitally networked form. And what Grindr seeks to approximate are specifically sites of LGBT liberation and community: gay bars, bathhouses, gyms and so on.” I find this incredibly interesting. The convergence of online and physical.

What have you been reading lately?

16 Jun

tense intentions

Have you ever stopped and really thought about how you use tense in your writing?

I made a deliberate decision to just write my PhD findings however they came out. The complexity of the thinking and constructing theoretical categories and theorising was enough on its own, without having to worry about whether Melanie (pseudonym) did something or does something or whether she told me about something she does or told me about something she did. 

Added bonus on the complexity front: I still have some kind of relationship with most of my participants, and during the data collection phase I was privy to so much of their narratives that it’s really hard for me to think about them in past tense, but present tense doesn’t work when you’re talking about something specific that happened in the past. 

So I decided I’d just write. I’m a decent writer and I thought it might iron itself out as I wrote. Not so.

I’ve been having a conversation with my editor about how to handle tense and it has been surprisingly challenging to work this out.

Tense is some crazy shit.

Unsurprisingly, the Thesis Whisperer has some excellent advice on tense in literature reviews and I’ve read some other useful stuff too. (Credit to my editor for recommending these reads.)

The upshot of my reading and thinking about this is that I have to mix tenses. 

If I’m referring to something that happened during an interview or observation, I’m using past tense, cause it happened. It’s not ongoing.

Example: Melanie wrote a blog post about her experience of returning to work.

Example: In her first interview, Melanie talked about deciding out how much to disclose about the child.

When I talk about generalities, whether specific to individuals or relevant to all participants, then I’m using present tense. 

Example: Melanie ‘likes’ Facebook pages as a form of bookmarking.

Example: Participants ‘like’ Facebook pages for a number of reasons.

And finally, when it comes to theorising – which is about abstraction – and making theoretical statements about the phenomenon, I’m using present tense.

Example: Information experience in social media is immersive.

In my head, I know I’ve got to mix tenses this way. But I also find it really challenging to make blanket decisions about tense across 55,000 ish words of findings.

I don’t actually know why I decided to write on this topic. It’s probably not interesting at all. But it actually really helped me to get this straight in my head. #blogjune brings a win once again.

#blogjune 16/30

Ps. Apologies for typos. I wrote this on my phone in bed. 🙂