To introduce the discussion topic, I spoke briefly about my interest in blogging and about my new research blog. I also mentioned the Research Information Network (2011) Social Media: A Guide for Researchers which I found particularly useful in the early stages of thinking about setting up a blog. The group then discussed some of the advantages and disadvantages of blogging and of researcher engagement with social media tools more generally. Some of the issues raised included:
- The opportunities offered by private (as opposed to public) blogs, which facilitate collaboration between teams of researchers without the same potential degree of exposure as public blogs;
- The potential ethical issues relating to the use of social media tools, particularly because of the spontaneous and informal style of communication which they encourage;
- Potential issues relating to self-plagiarism when reusing blog content in more formal writing;
- The lack of permanence of blog content - posts can be edited or deleted at any time;
- How a blog can help to raise a researcher's profile;
- The potential to use blogs as primary data sources - a form of auto-ethnography - in research studies;
- Challenges in following other people's blogs and managing the large amount of information they provide.