Consider Blogging

An exploding volcano in Iceland with hot lava pouring out
An accurate feeling of dropping out of one’s PhD

Step 1: Let go of the myth that you’re not good enough

A screencap of the Medium article by Dylan Wilbanks quote: “People who speak at conferences and write books are not heroes. They’re not gods. They’re human beings with mortgages to pay and a bevy of bad designs, failed relationships and problematic beliefs they try to hide behind their online and onstage personas. Don’t worship them. Take what you need, leave what you don’t like. But know they are more scared than you are.
Dylan Wilbanks ‘To those new to design’ August 14 2017 https://medium.com/cca-interaction-design-thesis/to-those-new-to-design-ac216dfb7a4f
  • 101s on an emerging technology
  • How to do this certain thing you might be the next expert on
  • Lists of resources in new technology (people like a collection of GOOD links)
  • A check point list of things to make a project work (think what I did for remote workshops, there isn’t much detail, it’s a recipe)
  • For example: 10 rules VR accessible to all (I would really love to read that from someone in the field)

Step 2: Make a BIG list

A photograph of an A5 piece of paper with the days of the week at the top with Wednesday circled with a list of potential blogs on it including Learning about Accessibility will make you a better designer and a few crossed out ones (that I’ve already done) including In Defence of the Survey, From UX Jnr to Mid, Agile Accessibility, Data Empathy Mapping, Ux Assumptions for Agile Teams and a few not crossed out ones like Examining the Neutrality of Visualisations Functional vs Aesthetics etc
My aspirational list of blogs

Step 3: Promote

Ned Flanders yelling hi-diddly-ho out the window to Homer Simpson who, as true to character, is grumpy that Ned is greeting him
Promotion can feel a bit like this via @ simpscreen on Twitter
  1. LinkedIn
  2. Professional Networks (e.g. Slacks)
  3. Twitter
  4. Medium (which I import my blogs into)

A note on abuse and harassment

We know that you’re more likely to experience this if you’re part of a marginalised group and there are guides to help like resource centre Crash Override. But remember some people will refuse to engage in promoting themselves online because they are terrified. It is up to you to mitigate the risk and what you’re comfortable with and there are some things I will never post about online. But I do things for my own well being like disabling comments, limiting replies on my Tweets if there is a sensitive subject matter. In preparation for this talk I spoke to a number of prominent people online I know with follower counts in the 1000s on twitter and they said to block often and block early, document the harassment (screenshots and URLs), report the content and encourage others to report it and, if you are in Australia, you can warn the harasser and report to eSafety and the police.

Other things you can do

Things I have done when I am not feeling entirely comfortable have been only releasing my blog content on LinkedIn (where most people are on their best behaviour) and password protecting my blog content (which you can do on WordPress). I also don’t typically use a photograph of my face on the internet and use a collection of avatars illustrated by my friend Mariko Konno, who is available for commissions.

Step 4: Remind of the Good Things

Good things that have happened to me because of blogging include:

  • Job Interviews
  • Improved recognition amongst colleagues
  • Invitations to present at conferences
  • A steady increase of web traffic which I use Matamo Analytics to track
  • Increased investment in myself and increased confidence

Step 5: Share what you know

If you see that someone is not being visible and not promoting their work, gently ask why. It could be that they’re part of a marginalised group or are otherwise uncomfortable putting their work out there. It is always worth seeing what you can do to help people get the recognition that they deserve. Maybe this can include finding them a good audience to share their content with. See what you can do to help e.g. make a faculty blog or organisational blog that gives them something to share a platform with if they’re not comfortable on their own. Let them know you will stick up for them if something goes wrong. Also, if you have a following of your own, promote other’s content or “pass the mic” so that someone can run your social media accounts for a period from an underrepresented group.

Prolific Academic (and Post Academic) Bloggers

For the academics who are wondering if this is for them I offer the three excellent blogs

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