I have been finishing off a long-ish post that I've been meaning to write for a while, but now I don't think I will post it. This is because I came to realise that it's actually stuff I want to write about more formally at some stage, in my thesis or in a paper. Generally speaking, the things I write about on this blog are more closely related to my actual research than many other academic history blogs, which is how I wanted it to be, but it does seem that I've reached a limit here! I guess it's because blogs have no particular academic standing, so it's like I'm giving away something (my research, my ideas) for nothing. Somebody else could take those references and ideas1 and publish them before I get a chance to, or maybe I'll say something careless and wrong that will reflect badly on me; a journal article at least passes before several more sets of eyeballs before it gets to the outside world. I don't know that I'd go so far as to say that presenting research on a blog or other non-peer reviewed forum is career suicide, but it may not be particularly wise either. Now, I don't mind posting snippets of interesting or curious information which I don't have any particular use for, and which I may or may not use some day. That can be a helpful form of thinking aloud, for one thing, and it may lead to something more formal. But it seems to be different when it comes to my core research. Posting about that makes me nervous, I find, so I tend to talk about somewhat peripheral (but hopefully still interesting) subjects. That may be safer, but it probably also reduces the potential benefits of having a research blog.
So, I might re-work the post not posted into a shorter, more general piece. And it's not like there's a lack of interesting but non-threatening things to blog about -- the trouble is finding the time to do it! I suspect, too, that my more central research concerns will be easier to write about on here when I am also writing them up for publication or presentation. But I don't know. Am I being too paranoid? Not paranoid enough?
Not that I am claiming to have had any brilliant ones ... ↩
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