Archive for the ‘blogs’ Category
At his web site, Kieran has a nice working paper called “Public Sociology in the Age of Social Media.” The paper, forthcoming in Perspectives in Politics, has some really nice commentary on how the world has changed since Michael Burawoy called for a public sociology. A few clips:
I shall argue that one of social media’s effects on social science has been to move us from a world where some people are trying to do “public sociology” to one where we are all, increasingly, doing “sociology in public”. This process has had three aspects. First, social media platforms have disintermediated communication between scholars and publics, as technologies of this sort are apt to do. is has not ushered in some sort of communicative utopia, but it has lowered the threshold for sharing one’s work with other people. Second, new social media platforms have made it easier to be seen. Sadly, I do not mean that it is now more likely that you or I will become famous. Rather, these technologies enable a distinctive field of public conversation, exchange, and engagement. They have some of the quality of informal correspondence, but they are not hidden in typed correspondence. They take place as real-time interaction, but do not depend on you showing up to a talk. Again, as is typically the case with communication technologies, exactly what gets enabled can vary. The field of public conversation encompasses everything from exciting forms of serendipitous collaboration to the worst sort of trolling and harassment. Thirdly, new social media platforms make it easier for these small-p public engagements to be measured. They create or extend opportunities to count visitors and downloads, to track followers and favorites, influencers and impacts. In this way they create the conditions for a new wave of administrative and market elaboration in the field of public conversation. New brokers and new evaluators arise as people take the opportunity to talk to one another. They also encourage new methods of monitoring, and new systems of punishment and reward for participation. Universities and professional associations, for example, become interested in promoting scholars who have “impact” in this sphere. But they are also slightly nervous about associating what they have come to think of as their “brand” with potentially unpredictable employees, subscribers, and members.
In “Science as a Vocation”, Weber remarks that although we do not get our best ideas while sitting at our desks all day doing regular work, we wouldn’t get any good ideas unless we sat at our desks all day doing regular work. In a similar way, successfully engaging with the public means doing it somewhat unsuccessfully very regularly. This fact is closely connected to the value of doing your everyday work somewhat publicly. You cannot drop a lump of text onto the Internet and expect anyone to pay attention if you have not been engaging with them in some ongoing way. You cannot put your work up on your website, or “do a blog”, or manufacture interest in your research like that. There is a demand side as well as a supply side to “content”, and most of the time the demand side does not care about what you have to say. This is why, in my view, one’s public work ought to be be continuous with the intellectual work you are intrinsically motivated to do. It is a mistake to think that there is a research phase and a publicity phase. Your employer might see it that way, but from a first-personal point of view it is much better—both intrinsically and in terms of any public engagement you might want—to think of yourself as routinely doing your work “slightly in public”. You write about it as you go, you are in regular conversation with other like-minded researchers or interested parties, and some of those people may have or be connected to larger audiences with a periodic interest in what you are up to.
Read the whole thing.
To celebrate our 10th year, we are introducing a new blogger – Jeff Guhin. Jeff graduated from Yale with his Ph.D. in sociology and is the author of the upcoming The Problem of America: Practices of Moral Authority in Muslim and Christian Schools (Oxford University Press). He is a scholar of culture, religion, and education. This Fall, he will begin teaching at the sociology department at UCLA. Welcome aboard!!
On April 21, 2006 (!), Teppo Felin wrote a post called “greetings – organizational world.” Since then, we’ve had a great time discussing management, sociology, economics, political science, and a whole lot more. Over 5,000 posts, 28,000 comments, 800, 000 visitors and over 5 million visits.
But people are more important than the discussions. We’ve made life long friends through this blog and we’ve been able to build a truly wonderful online community. That is the true legacy. So all I can say is “thank you” and I hope that our community continues to grow.
What are the most commented on posts in the blog’s history? According to WordPress, they are:
- The critical realism affair. Technically, Kieran’s critical realism post only got 122 comments, but taken together, the three CR posts got about 160 comments. That was the hardest blogging I ever loved.
- Should I stop teaching post-modernism? (144 comments)
- Elizabeth Berman’s inequality in the skies. (101 comments)
- GRE scores are valid. Sorry, guys. (99 comments).
- You know who in Texas. (74 comments)
- Brayden and Eszter’s book on online reputation. (74 comments)
- How I pick grad students. (63 comments)
- Is academia meritocratic? (63 comments)
- Steve Vaisey on how to theorize motivation. (58 comments)
- World Cup Survey. (57 comments)
Great mix of serious debate on issues ranging from social theory to stratification to social psychology to teaching. Other contenders: Brayden thinks Gladwell is sometimes really, really wrong (54); what has been accomplished with math soc? (51); Kieran discovers that me and one of my PhD students gamed his soc rankings (54); Gabriel Rossman’s infamous “assumptions” post (50); Chris Martin on White privilege (46); a discussion of Jessica Collette’s impostor syndrome research (47); and Chris Winship discusses the ASA amicus brief in the Walmart case (44).
A few years ago, a friendly senior scholar sat me down and warned me: “Fabio, you really have to stop this blogging thing. It’s not good for you.” This was a pretty serious conversation. He meant it as kind advice from a more seasoned friend and colleague. I smiled, mumbled, and said, “Um, ok, thank you.” Then, I proceeded to blog as usual.
I figured that blogging wasn’t bad as long as (a) you did not let it displace your actual job and (b) your blog posts were professionally written and not shrill in tone. I only seriously blogged once my book on Black Studies was published and had a solid list of articles under my belt. Also, I made sure that the bulk of my blogging was about sociology, org studies, and professional issues (e.g., the Grad Skool Rulz). I have never regretted my choice to continue writing in this format. People still like reading it and I get lots of positive feedback.
As I look down the orgtheory crew list, I see that I’m not alone. Other orgtheory crew members are doing quite well despite their association with this blog. Omar, most famously, is now an editor of ASR, our flagship journal. Brayden is doing well at the leading b-school in the US. Kieran not only blogs here on occasion, but also his personal blog and at Crooked Timber. He’s doing quite well at Duke and his data visualizations are often picked up my major news media. Katherine has written an award winning book and Elizabeth is graduate chair at Albany. Sean directs the MA program at Sciences Po in France and Teppo has just become chair of his department at Oxford.
This is obviously a selection effect. I think it’s silly to think that these folks weren’t already top notch when they participated in this blog. It speaks well, though, of Teppo and Brayden, who founded this blog and reached out to so many people who have excelled in the profession.
The lesson I have for early career readers is this: When there is something new, something that doesn’t fit the mold, you shouldn’t run away from it. Don’t be scared to reach out and develop your voice. Surround yourself with good people. As long as you write from a position of integrity and respect for the reader, it will be ok.
Blogging is like exercise. It feels great as long as you stay in the habit. But once you stray, for whatever reason, boy is it hard to get back in the saddle.
Not only have I been a bad blogger, I’ve been cheating on you with another blog. But I swear it was just a one-time thing. Dan Hirschman and I wrote a piece on “The Influence of Economists on Public Policy” for the Oxford University Press economics blog.
Although we wrote it last week, it ended up being pretty timely given the chatter over Justin Wolfer’s recent Upshot piece about how economists came to dominate the conversation. If you’re interested in this sort of thing, Philip Cohen’s piece over at Contexts does an excellent job at contextualizing the Wolfers article, particularly with regard to ways sociologists might have somewhat more voice than the NYT chart gives them credit for.
Anyway, I have a growing list of things to blog about, not all of them involving economists, I promise, but an incredibly busy schedule at the moment — thank you, graduate admissions season. But I’m not planning on checking out just yet. This post is just me reminding myself that blogging isn’t really all that hard. More to come soon.