How to: Academic Blogging

Page 1

How to: Academic blogging Chris Gilson and Stuart Brown LSE EUROPP blog editors #LSEImpact


• May 2010 - British Politics and Policy at LSE • January 2011 - Impact of Social Sciences • February 2012 – EUROPP – European Politics and Policy • April 2012 – LSE Review of Books



Regularly updated


Interactive, community building


More informal

Often formal

Very easy to publish new content

Dedicated program needed, e.g. Dreamweaver

Easy to do at low cost


Why should academics blog? • Shorter articles: 300 – 1,200 words therefore good for external audiences • Easy to share via social media and email • Searchable and available on open web

• Whole person style – where content may be personal as well as academic


Blog article


8,000 words

800-1000 words





Black and white charts?

Colour, audio, video


Tens or hundreds

Potentially thousands



Open Access

WHY SHOULD ACADEMICS BLOG? • Easy to start, with software such as Wordpress takes 10 minutes to set up • A valuable job finding tool as employers can see more than just your CV • Dissemination is immediate so too is comment and feedback • Link to academic papers (also via other blogs)

ACADEMIC BLOGGING: SINGLE AUTHOR BLOGS You could start your own, single author blog. Here though: • Content is king, unless you post regularly traffic will die off • Some SABs are successful where the name is well known (Paul Krugman) but most SABs are now either shutting down or joining with other bloggers

What should I blog(write) about? If you’re keen to strike out with your own blog, here are some ways that you can keep content fresh: • Updates on research progress • Commentary on current events

• Reports from conferences, seminars and other events (liveblogging?) • Thematic posts with other blogger(s)

• Reposts from other blogs

Academic blogging: multi-author blogs So instead a good choice for academics is to contribute to a multi-authored blog. The advantages are:

• • •

Multiple contributors covering many topics or subjects, posting regularly and reliably, so that readers know when to return Your blog is disseminated out to a wider network of interest than you could create on your own Comments and social media can help build a community

You can get feedback on reader numbers and retweets via blog staff using Google Analytics

Examples of multi-author blogs •

• LSE’s blogs • OpenDemocracy - • Politics In Spires (Oxford/Cambridge)

• Sociology at Warwick -

• Ballots and Bullets (Nottingham)

• • Guardian Comment is Free • Huffington Post

Who are you blogging for? •

• Students •

Other academics



General public?

Blog editing - general • Academic writing o



Long articles, long sentences and words


References and footnotes


Arguments at the end

• Writing for blogs o

More informal, but not too informal!


Shorter articles (800 - 1,000 words or so)

o o

Hyperlinks Arguments at the start

Blog editing - presentation • Your blog does not look like what you think it looks like o o o

PC Smartphone iPad

• Newspaper style ‘split’ after two paragraphs to bring readers in, then full article

Blog editing - Titles • Narrative is best • Summarises the blog quickly, so Greece cannot afford to ignore the challenge of controlling inflation.

is better than The Stylized Facts of Greek Inflation: New Wine in Old Bottles

Blog editing - Introductions • Also summarise the most important parts of the post • Provide background • Introduce author(s) The Spanish labour market is infamously rigid. In response to Spain’s economic crisis, the recently elected right-wing Popular Party, has undertaken major labour market reforms. Vicente Cuñat argues that the government’s attempts at reform are a missed opportunity because they will fail to resolve Spain’s job market duality of temporary and permanent contracts and they will not reduce the red tape associated with employment law.

Blog often! •

• Linking •

Google visibility

Timescales – 1,3,6, 12 months

Blogging and social media • Twitter – short messages to many (eventually thousands) • Facebook – more content, events • Pinterest – photos, displaying your multimedia ‘wares’

Social media tools sessions – 12:00 & 16:15 Holden Room Remember that without social media engagement…

Thank you! Chris Gilson @chrishjgilson @lseeuroppblog Stuart Brown @lseeuroppblog