I can barely keep up with the literature in my field and with what my labmates are doing. Who has time to spend reading some grad student’s blog?They can't afford to invest the time in new technologies which might, ultimately, make them better researchers. There's also a degree of snootiness about social networks, which are seen as full of teenagers chatting about rock bands. The only effective social networks for scientists are about finding another job after your present short term contract ends, or finding applicants for that post-doctoral place you need to fill.
As we begin the big UoL push towards personal learning environments for students, it's abundantly clear that this will only be successful if students perceive that academic staff are on board. Ultimately, I'm not worried about converting the students to the benefits of PLEs. I am concerned about how we convince colleagues to embrace the same benefits for their own careers.
Crotty's proposed solutions are to:
- Create sites that save users time rather than asking them to invest time. Tricky one this, but OTOH, who ever went on a Staff Development course to use a Web2.0 site?
- Quality = Relevance. Conflicts with "Filter on the way out".
- Lower the barriers to entry, be obvious. Twitter replaces email? What else?
- Cater to the culture of your readers. Not sure what that one means?
- Have a buisness model. Which surely implies investment and reward...
Where shall we start? RSS? del.icio.us? Twitter?
Update from David Crotty