Friday, 13 February 2009

Worries about this blog

Ali has talked on her blog about the misgivings she felt in advance about getting involved in blogging. One of my own misgivings has always been a worry about time-wasting. I started reading blogs about four years ago (I'll write about this in another post), and would hate to add up all the time I've spent on blog sites since then. On the plus side, I do think I've gained a lot of useful knowledge, and the insight into other perspectives on the world has been fascinating. But then there are the opportunity costs -- all the other things I might have been doing instead. I just heard a few minutes ago about someone who's been learning Arabic in her lunch hour. Could I have learnt (even basic) Arabic in all the time I've spent on other people's blogs?

Right now, like most academics, I'm worrying about now getting time for research. Spending time writing my blog is almost inevitably going to take up valuable research time (since admin. and teaching deadlines are usually much harder to ignore). So ... I guess you can see where this is going: be prepared for some research-related blogging on this site! Two birds, one stone. (Or the humane equivalent, whatever it is.)


  1. Ah! Well, that's great - I keep a research blog myself, it's a great reflective tool and also a really handy searchable repository for my ideas. Additionally, I'm trying to get my fellow researchers to engage in a dialogue via the blog (although haven't had much success as yet). By the way, a very quick blog search for learning Arabic:
    - You can do it at the rate of a word per day
    - By Podcast
    - The basics on video

  2. After a reading blog(!) posting on a better alternative to academic publishing I think I will start posting short 'research notes' on my 'other' blog (I had started one last year, with sporadic posts, and I think I will keep that to low-volume/high-quality (hah!) posts, while my daily mumblings will be confined to my course blog.

    But the big drawback is, on the other hand, that blogs don't count for the RAE/REF/whatever. However, it might motivate me to write those things up as proper papers. And it can encourage feedback/discussion.

    If you want to change the system, you have to start small: Viva la revolucion!

  3. Multiple blogs sound very impressive, but I think I will be hard pressed even to keep up with one. Bill, do you know about everything on the Net? Do you, by any chance, know where to look for an advanced online Latin course? That would probably be of more use to me than Arabic. Use at work, anyway; Arabic might be more useful in terms of understanding the world.

  4. Here are some links to start with. You can get some old textbooks on-line for free as PDFs, eg grammars etc.

  5. OL, thanks (again!) -- I'll try some of these.