Matt Houlbrook: mobile historian; beard growing, head shaving; occasional cycling.
You could read these thoughts on blogging as one of my responses to the questions and discussion at #MBS2015. I’m not sure. I do know that Lucy has made me think (as she always does) and that is a good thing.
I don’t write a blog for fun, but I do enjoy doing it. And yes, I know exactly how lucky that makes me.
I don’t blog in my ‘spare time’. It is part of my working life, and if I write a post for The Trickster Prince it means that I don’t do something else from that bit of my work bracketed as ‘research.’ And yes, I know exactly what personal and professional privileges let me make those choices.
I don’t think of blogging as ‘public engagement’, although as far as I can tell at least some posts get read by people who might get called ‘the public’.
Writing a blog is an important part of the work I do. Sometimes it is the most important, and I have placed greater emphasis on it than I have on grant applications when I have applied for promotion. And yes, I know exactly what privileges I need to check.
I don’t think of blogging as something distinct from my research. It is a fundamental part of my research process – a kind of thinking out loud or doing history in public that shapes my ideas and writing. It is also a substantive part of my research output that sits alongside my journal articles and books.
And yes, I know…
But at a moment when what we think of as ‘History’ is changing quickly, the more people like me write blogs and insist upon that writing (along with all those other related kinds of what some dismiss as not-quite-research) as work and as important, then the more chance there is that they will get the professional and institutional recognition they deserve.
I understand that the American Historical Association is canvassing its members on whether digital outputs should be considered in applications for tenure. These issues are up for grabs.