I’ve been thinking about starting a new blog for a while. After terminating my last blog in the midst of a faith crisis (more on that in the future, if you’re interested), I’ve been registering ideas on Twitter, Facebook, and mostly on the several notebooks filling my desk drawers. This is not ideal: some tweets/FB posts may generate good discussion, but they’ll mainly go unnoticed and never be found again. Same with the notebooks: the very act of writing down a thought may help fix it in my mind, but it will not be available to others and might never generate something new in the real world. A blog could make it easier for me to remember these thoughts, share them with others, and make new things.
Another advantage to blogging is to practice my writing. Scribbling random notes on a piece of paper is very nice for personal use, but if I want others to understand what I’m saying then I need some structure and planning. Of course the dream is to have other people read, comment, build with me – but even if readers don’t show up, just the exercise of explaining what I think to an imaginary reader may be enough to make my ideas clearer even to myself, and get some interesting insights.
So, this idea of going back to blogging has been in my mind for some time. Why did I only act on it now? Frankly, what I needed was an external push, which came in the form of the ImpactStory Impact Challenge. During this November, ImpactStory is challenging academics to supercharge their research impact by completing several tasks – and one of them, of course, is to start an academic blog. I’ve found that I’m very good at cheating my self-imposed deadlines; and that being accountable to some external party, even an informal one, is a great way of getting myself to stop procrastinating. So, I took up the challenge, and here’s the blog (I’ll write about the other tasks and my general impressions on the challenge when it’s all done).
A main point for me was to make this blog bilingual somehow. For some reason (excessive comsuption of english-language media and scholarship, maybe?), my daily thoughts come both in English and in my mother tongue, Portuguese. On my notes, as on my Twitter feed, both languages show up, sometimes even mixed up in the same sentence. It is not always easy to convey the ideas born in one language into the other. Another reason to be bilingual is to reach out to the people doing research in my field, altmetrics. A post about it and why I’m researching it is next on my list, for now it will suffice to say that my interest has two sides: I want more people in Brazil to know about altmetrics so we can decide together how it could be useful in our context; and I also want to be involved with and make contributions to the international altmetrics community. Just as tweeting, networking, participating in academic events and publishing, bilingual blogging is another way for me achieve my goals.
If you, like myself, are not familiar with the technicalities of web publishing, but would like to set up a bilingual blog on WordPress.com, this support page has the information you need. I chose to have 1 blog, with posts in each language sorted into different categories. Let’s see how it works, I’d love your feedback.
Is this going to be a purely academic site? I’m not sure yet. Previous attempts to separate my life into “professional” and “personal” niches have failed. Still, chances are good that I may keep more personal stuff to the Portuguese category, since I don’t plan to have one category be a mirror of the other. There will be some cross-posting, but not everything will be translated – it all depends on each post context and intent.
That’s it for now, folks. Feel free to comment below, and to reach me on Twitter.