Why do I blog?
A week ago Carla Verwijs wrote about (negative) weblog experiences. She quotes a post from John Grillo in which he expresses his frustration that he hasn't been able to build a community around his blog. This made me wonder why I started to blog. Before I started Communigations I blogged in Dutch. One of the things that made me stop was the lack of response on the things that I wrote. Since there is not much serious (by that I mean 'professional') blogging going on in Dutch I decided to try and start a new blog in English. I had the advantage of having Ton at my side, giving me a kickstart in traffic to my blog. Not much of that traffic stuck to reading my weblog. But actually I don't care anymore. I figured out that I write mainly because sometimes there are things that I need to get of my chest. Before blogging I sometimes wrote about that in a diary (I have miscellaneous notebooks, which makes it hard to choose in which one to write), but often I just kept thinking about it and never attempted to get it out of my system (sometimes resulting in endless pondering). Through my blog I have a centralized medium in which I can publish anytime and anywhere, all those things that I need to get of my chest. It literally clears my mind and I never have to worry about not being able to find my writings back, it's all being archived. That every now and then a reader pops up with a comment or an e-mail is a bonus and reinbursts my enthusiasme about blogging. Building a community around a weblog is rather difficult when your writing about a specific topic and therefore I cherish the little response I get on my blog.
So here I am, sitting in the train going home after a very interesting conversation with Aldo de Moor (whom I've met at Blogwalk last friday) and Hans Weigand, both researchers at Tilburg University.
I thought it was going to be a conversation to get to know each other and talk about my interest in Habermas and what kind of research they've done (which includes studies using Habermas' theory). Instead, we've talked about applying for a PhD position with their department. So it was much more focused than I thought it would be.
I've already written that I used to like the idea of doing a PhD, but that the past year I've focused more on thinking about what type of (non-research) work I would like to do. So now I have to switch back to figure out whether I would like to do scientific research the next four years. Honestly, I don't know right now. But the deadline for application is due april 16th. OK, it's only the application deadline and my application might not be approved. Still, I would only apply for a position if I know for certain that I'd like doing it.
So the upcoming weeks I'll try to find some people who've done a PhD and are willing to talk to me about it. Talk, talk, talk.... And hopefully afterwards I'm able to make my decision.
Observations on BlogWalk1.0
There are a couple of things that I've noticed during the last four days. First of all it is interesting to see that people who (mostly) know each other only through their weblogs are very capable of having really interesting discussions in real life. Through reading eachothers weblogs there seems to be a certain shared set of values and common use of terminology which makes it relatively easy to discuss certain topics in depth within minutes.
Secondly, to reach such in-depth discussions you need to have face-to-face contacts. The interaction through weblogs is relatively slow, because of the time and space distance you have to bridge. Therefore meeting with webloggers face-to-face really strengthens the bonding between people (which is not very surprising) . Meeting f-t-f with people means that you have a clearer understanding of the context of a person (also read Lilia's reflection on this). Not only the physical aspects of someone such as the way someone walks and talks, but also the things about one's personal life and interests are very important to be able to understand the things people write on the internet (and shows that you can have clear misconceptions about a person, e.g. when age is considered :-). That means that it would be highly adviseable to all people involved in the blogospere to try and organize meetings every now and then (in a relatively small setting), just to be able to understand more about eachother and have real intens discussions.
Personally, I'm motivated to get more involved with KM. The things that were being discussed last friday really appealed to me. Thinking about how organizations could (and maybe should) use the opportunities that e.g. weblogging offer for knowledgesharing. Another thing I'm highly interested in is personal webpublishing and the initiative for all kinds of action starting with the individual: I write about my own interests. Making those interests publicly means that I create opportunities for myself. I can be reflective on my own work and other people can connect to me through those interests. That means that any contact with other people evolving around my weblog is initiated by myself and therefore I've got the feeling that those contacts are more truthfull. Being truthfull is something that is missing on all kind of places in our society, especially within organizational settings, and maybe the use of weblogs as a tool for personal webpublishing can bring back a little bit more truthfullness in our lives, regardless of the opportunities the internet creates of being untruthfull in every aspect. However, regular meetings between bloggers can easily overcome problems whith 'virtual identities'.
Conclusion of all this? We really need another BlogWalk meeting!
Proposal BlogTalk 2.0
As promised I've now put my proposal for BlogTalk 2.0 online. While dropping Thomas Burg (the man behind BlogTalk) of at the railway station last friday after BlogWalk, he promised me that he will personally let me know whether my proposal will be accepted or not. I can't wait for his reaction ;-)
The perfect guests
Just hook 'em up to your broadband connection and you won't even notice that you're having guests at your house. The internet is all the food they need :-)) (except for a little breakfast maybe).
BlogWalk 1.0: aftermath
I'm not quite recovered yet from the overwhelming experience of meeting so many new people and having very intense discussions with them about weblogs and KM at BlogWalk. It was really nice to meet bloggers in the flesh and being able to interact with them more than it would be possible through blogging or other forms of mediated communication. I was the youngest participant (I knew I would be beforehand) and therefore I was not quite sure whether I was able to contribute much to the discussions going around. It turned out that I'm more 'knowledgeable' than I thought I was. Not that I've got much practical experience in the workingfield, but my education at least brought me a vision about organisations and how they should work. Yesterday for me was very much about listening to people with far more experience than me, asking them questions about their vision and comparing that with my own ideas.
Meeting with Aldo de Moor, a future blogger :-), was very interesting to me because he's more involved whith Habermas' theory in regard to collaborative working on the internet. He will try to introduce me to someone at his university (I've forgotten the name) who is very knowledgeable on Habermas. Aldo told me that this person is looking for someone who would take up a PhD position in case his request for funding is accepted. A year ago I already had in mind to go on in the scientific world, but during the year I gave up hope since there is so little money available for research nowadays (it seems to me that universities have to fund all research with external money). Maybe a glimpse of light in the darkness of not knowing where I will be after I've finished my masters (though I've little hope of success). The thing that helped me most was that Aldo thought my masterthesis was very interesting and that was just the thing I needed to hear. To me it was a very succesfull meeting.
I've been feeling a bit under the weather the last few days. Being cold all the time, feeling tired, not able to do much accept for watching TV and sleeping. But today I woke up at 7 AM feeling OK. The cats pointed out that the sun is shining and warm (behind glass) and that it was time for them to make a tour on the balcony (it's still a bit chilly outside, so they've only walked outside for a minute or so :).
The last few weeks I've done a lot of surfing on the net and other resources in search of articles about weblogging and Habermas. I've noticed that it is very hard to get relevant articles. Most articles that look interesting to me by title are not available to me because my university has no subscription to the journals they've appeared in. That means that my lecturer may have to order them for me and that takes precious time. So much for the idea of unlimited resources I always thought university libraries had. But then again, it would be impossible to collect everything that's been written.
Next week I will finally have an answer whether my masterthesis is OK. The professor that had to look at it was busy making his new book ready for the publisher. I have translated my current thesis into English since I'm going to submit my masterthesis as a propasol for BlogTalk 2.0. I'll publish it next week after I'm sure that my professor approves it. That's one reason to look forward to next week, the other thing to look forward to is meeting people at BlogWalk 1.0. For me it will be the first blogmeeting and I'm curious what it will be like. I'm sure it will be lots of fun.
Ice cream in this time of year?
Ok, the sun is out today. Temperature is between 5 and 10 degrees Celsius. To some it may feel as if spring is waiting on our doorstep. However, it still is officially winter. And what did I just hear on the radio? Yes, the first commercial of the year convincing us to buy icecream! Come on Ola. It's not that warm yet!
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