Who knew blogging could get so complicated?
I maintained a personal blog for about five years when I was in college and I loved it and I loved the community I found from blogging; it was definitely my most successful blogging experience. When I started grad school though I began to feel a bit awkward having my name associated with the blog. I certainly censored myself and kept the blog very “public friendly”, but at that time in my life I figured the only people who would be Googling me and stumbling upon the blog were either personal friends/acquaintances or strangers – and I was ok with either. Grad school of course changed all that because I realized that going to conferences and getting published etc. meant that my name was going to be a lot more Googleable (yes I like to use Google as a verb). Even though there wasn’t anything on the personal blog that I felt I needed to hide, I just wasn’t comfortable with fellow scholars (future employers?) reading about my life in such a personal manner. So, I stopped blogging.
The sabbatical only lasted about a year; I just missed blogging too much not to do it. So I decided to solve my problem by maintaining two blogs – one anonymous personal blog and one more “academic” blog. I was a bit naive – this clearly required way too much time. I updated the personal a lot and got plugged in with a community, but this meant the academic one suffered. I was trying to maintain two separate blogging identities and I found it increasingly difficult to separate the “academic” me from the “social” me. But here I go again, with a new blog and a new framework. Rather than attempting to separate my academic research interests and my social/personal life, I’m going to allow the two to converge, obviously policing the personal more than I would were it anonymous, but nonetheless using this space to discuss both. The distinction was a rather arbitrary one to begin with, my personal interests are so deeply embedded within my research and vice versa.
As such the name of the blog has a bit of a double meaning. On the one hand it describes the convergence of my social and academic identities, but on the other it also describes my research. I know I should be narrowing my research interests rather than expanding them, but that just isn’t happening. The longer I’m in grad school the more areas I want to study. However, if I must come up with an umbrella term I think it would be “convergence media”. The last academic blog I had was called gURLculture because at the time I was working on my Master’s thesis about girls’ use of anonymous blogs as spaces for identity formation and community building. I still research girls and my research is always framed with a feminist perspective, but by naming the blog something so specific I felt I had unnecessarily limited the use of the blog. Hopefully “Social Convergence” will be broad enough to allow me to blog about all of my research interests, current and future.
Phew! That was a rather lengthy introduction. I’m excited to be blogging again and hope to update one a regular basis.