Do I really have to blog?
Blogs provide researchers with unique opportunities to present their work to a new, larger audience. Blogging actually has many advantages for scholars, such as
- Learning to express yourself more clearly and to become a better writer
- Or that more people will read the academic publications
- Blogging can support interdisciplinary exchange
- And blogging is much faster than an academic publication
Here are a few tips for academic bloggers:
- You don’t need your own blog. Multi-author-blogs often have a wider audience as they benefit from the variety of topics offered by the different authors.
- A blog post is a publication. If you are writing about ongoing research that has not yet been published, be sure not to publish important details prematurely.
- Use social media to draw attention to your contributions.
- Refer to your relevant publications in your blog posts.
- Use a short (for Twitter, for example) but meaningful title for your blog post.
- Tell the most important stuff first (since the attention span for reading a blog entry is much lower than for reading an academic article).
- It should always be clear who the author of a blog post is (this is not always evident in some multi-author-blogs). Include a short biography with university affiliation and e-mail address as well as a photo at the end of the post.
- If possible, archive a copy of your contribution in a research repository, so that it can be found and listed in academic databases.
Here is a list of academic multi-author-blogs (MABs) for African Studies:
- Africa in Words: Focus on African literatures. Edited by Kate Haines, Rebecca Jones, Katie Reid, Stephanie Santana.
- Africa is a Country: a platform to question the media presentation of Africa. Edited by Sean Jacobs.
- Africa at LSE: supports Africa research at the London School of Economics and Political Science, as well as contributions from other scholars. Edited by Syerramia Willoughby.
- African Arguments: contemporary African history and politics. From the Royal African Society and World Peace Foundation and part of the Guardian Africa Network.
- ASA Blog: Blog of the American African Studies Association, Rutgers University.
- The Conversation Africa: part of the Conversation Network, is also available in French language version.
- Democracy in Africa: information and analysis on African elections and politics. Edited by SJ Cooper Knock and Nic Cheeseman.