One of the (vague, ill-defined, unstructured) tasks I set myself this year was to see if my blogging/social networking activity could be bent some way to a more focused institutional benefit. I can make lots of (unsupported, wildly inaccurate, ego-driven) claims about the benefit of this blog to the Open University, for example it acts as a form of staff development, it forms part of an institutional dialogue, it raises the university's profile, it demonstrates the university's engagement with new media, etc.
But I also feel that my blogging activity has been well supported without any specific aim, and it has now reached a reasonably robust state where can I make the above claims without everyone in the room laughing (only some of them). So, I wanted to investigate whether this practice could become more central and foregrounded in what I do and in its institutional benefit.
One result of this has been the initiation of the digital scholarship work at the OU. We have created a site as a part of this activity (knocked together very quickly at our 2-day hackfest). After another iteration of this, I may propose to senior management that it is open to all (in the spirit of things), not just OU staff, but it may be that it only really works with the specific OU focus. One element of this is that it has a central blog for news relevant to digital scholarship. This is rather like my tumblr blog but with a bit more comment. I am also taking over some blogging duties over at the SocialLearn blog.
It is going to be interesting to see whether I can blog effectively for these different audiences. I started this blog as a separate entity from the OU, and although it is obviously related, I have never really had to worry about a very specific intention behind the blog. Hence I can spout half-formed ideas about music, football, elearning and general bobbins. This isn't going to cut it in my new (on-brand, suit-wearing, performance criteria achieving) role. It will also be interesting to see if I can spread my already meagre intellectual jam thinly across three blogs, and whether it impacts upon this one.
I guess what this really comes back to is identity again and the personal-professional tension. I believe a bit of the personal is essential to give a blog meaning. I created this intellectually challenging graph to illustrate my point:
(Graph produced at crappygraphs.com)
So this mini-personal experiment will examine whether I can blog to a different audience, and still retain enough personal element to make it meaningful for me and the reader.