Mathemagenic as a thesis, very familiar
I have been reading Lilia Efimova's PhD thesis, Passion at Work: Blogging Practices of Knowledge Workers, and the words feel very familiar. I have been reading her blog almost since the beginning, and her research has been documented more-or-less throughout her journey. It's very interesting to read it consolidated all into one place. Having read pieces of the research previously makes the thesis much easier to read the second time around. (I've also read a few papers as Lilia has published them to her blog, and she has kindly given me thanks in her acknowledgments.)
This is a PhD thesis, so it's not like I would recommend or not this book to read. But if you are interested in blogging and the connection to personal knowledge management, this is a good consolidation of the research in this area. That said, I think it is more readable than my thesis.
What I do have are thoughts about personal connections to the ideas presented in the
I wonder what it would have been like to blog my PhD work in chemical engineering. Granted, it wouldn't be quite so self-reflective as Lilia's work, but the opportunity to push out my thoughts, ideas and questions would be interesting. That said, it was 1995 when I finished, and while I had a website, the idea of blogging wasn't anywhere near yet. And, even today, there aren't a whole lot of chemical engineers in the blogosphere.
Lilia observes that her blogging frequency dropped off while other life events gained importance. I've found the same. But I am also fairly sure there is a larger effect going on. I still subscribe to several hundred blogs, but now if I skip reading for a week there are a few hundred unread posts, according to Google Reader. Three years ago, that would easily have been more than one thousand posts to read. So, everyone has gotten into the same mode. Many of my reading list have jumped into Twitter, where they post the simple, small snippets that might have ended up on their blogs in the past. And I suppose Facebook and other social network services have drawn some of the blogging away. (I certainly see less of the "what character are you?" or random personal surveys show up in blogs any longer.)
Along with this observation around frequency of posts is the clear change of blogging from part of my personal knowledge management practice to something where I keep in loose contact with my extended network of peers, friends, colleagues. I find I do much less bouncing of ideas from other blogs into this one and then back out. (With the exception of the previous post on the discussion between Luis Suarez and Andrew McAfee.)
Looking forward to continued reading.
[Photo: Cover art for Lilia's thesis, as posted to Flickr]
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