Week 5: Building my online identity

After due consideration, I registered myself on Academia.edu. As anyone can see, I’m still a little conservative in terms of going forward with building an online identity. I have seen other people’s online identity and I am very impressed with how systematic, well-connected and apparently comfortable they are with their online presence. On the other hand, I also do see glimpses of others like me who are still ‘lurking’ in the background and who seem less willing to venture into the ambiguous cyber world.

Still, as a start, I have asked a question on Academia.edu and will wait to see the response. In any case, I am fully aware that my online identity can only be successfully forged if I am systematically linked with sites that can be relevant to my interests in the first place.

As of now, I can only say that I am taking small steps in testing out waters…

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Week 4: Tweeting

I have just set up my twitter account. I have not as yet started tweeting. I have followed a few people (or tweeps) and I’m looking to see what kind of activity takes place. I am still exploring this mode of communication and do have my doubts about its usefulness. I will be thinking more about this in the days to come.

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Week 3: Bibliometrics

This exercise was really eye-opening and very relevant to me. I followed Helen’s instructions and went ahead to set up my Google Scholar profile. It was not at all difficult. Very quickly, I could see my own profile and could track others’ citations of my previous work. This is where I discovered that while my one of my papers was cited this year, the author wrongly cited my name! The problem is in my home country, my last name (surname) is place in FRONT of my first name. That’s just the way it has been for many of us who have chinese tri-syllabic names. It is made complicated when each syllable can equally and easily pass off as a last name! This made me think very hard of the way in which I must be aware of how I present my name on the international arena and how that can still be reconciled with how my name is arranged and perceived in my home country. I realised that although I am still the same person, it does take some getting used to to have the consecutive arrangement of my name re-aligned.

So I was a little bit relieved to see that ResearcherID scheme is made available to sort out such mix-ups and confusions. I’ve requested for an ID and will certainly explore this to a greater depth. Thanks, Helen!

I have not made my page public as yet but will be thinking hard about doing so. Also, I did find that one of the terms I used to denote my research interest appeared not to have been used by anyone else. I know however, that even in mainstream literature, that term is relatively less used. So, I’m going to leave it at that and perhaps be the first person to place that term on that platform. Generally, I found the profile and citation maps to be quite useful as a quick glance into my work.

I do agree that citation and scholarly activity are differently appreciated, conceived and shaped within the Humanities/Social Science as opposed to the (hard) Sciences. Unfortunately, scholars in Humanities/Social Sciences are often subjected to playing the game following someone else’s rules. Indeed, scholars in Humanities/Social Sciences do not get cited as much and as widely as Science scholars. I think I have to continue to be aware of such differences and still work within the boundaries of the process. I am aware that scholars do cite themselves and favourable others (colleagues who make it a point to cite each other) which results in an apparent increase in number of citations. I would go along with that only If the citations are genuinely argued for in the article.

I am currently researching and examining the reading experience of readers in the 21st century. This exercise has driven home the point about how radically different the reading experience can be today and how far the extent of the technological revolution is in re-shaping the way we read. I think about whose reading choice it really is when it comes down to what is presented in front of us on our screens . If large corporations like Google, Thompson Reuters and Web of Science are steering the general direction of web publications and academic institutions are roped in to be pawns within the web, perhaps scholars must stay vigilant about how they experience reading and in where they position the invisible hand behind the articles they think they have ‘freely’ chosen to read. In sum, I want to be aware that while I will shape my profile and if I choose, place it out there for the internet public, I am still very much a part of a new culture of readers with a new thinking behind their reading experience.

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Week 2: Internet identity

I am now into the 2nd week of DH23 Things. This week, I carried out some searches and reflected on the question of how I am viewed by the cyber community. This is my reaction and reflection.

Unsurprisingly, I am not very visible in cyber space. Googling my name and image showed up some work-related websites on which I appear as part of that professional workforce. I have always been aware of that and this recent self-Googling did not show up anything unexpected. As I do not have presence in any social media, I obviously did not show up there. I explored what websites like Gravatar and Google profile could do to potentially shape and package my cyber identity. I admit that I am not ready for a step as bold as that.

I looked at other people’s cyber presence and marvel at how much effort and thought go into being deliberately visible. That observation was the perfect foil to my own stance in terms of how much effort and thought I put into being deliberately invisible. This brings me to reflect on the feasiblity of remaining invisible when so much of what is visible on the internet can be useful and as it stands, I already have a small presence on the internet because of my professional identity. In other words, can I carry on stubbornly thinking that I can be invisible or will I have to shift into some middle ground?

Going through the exercise this week and then thinking about the follow-up questions have made me realise at least two things. Firstly, I do have a small presence in cyber space and that presence cannot be removed. Secondly, it is up to me to re-orientate my thinking to accept that professional presence and shape that to my advantage without being pressured to put everything out there. At this point, I still subscribe to the safer zone of being known in academic and professional circles via the conventional medium (peer-reviewed journals, international conferences, affiliation with academic institutions). Any internet presence I may inevitably have will be secondary to my connections in conventional medium. However, I will continue to be vigilant about how my presence continues to be shaped by me.

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Week 1: My maiden voyage – a reflection

I will be utterly honest: this is my first blog and blogging experience. And no, I’ve not even ever commented on any one else’s blog before this. I’ve asked myself why and my answer always comes back to my discomfort with the amorphous ‘out there’. When I write, I must know whom I’m writing for or to. This is because I must know the persona that I intend to take, the tone I plan to use and the impression I intend to make. And all these are linked with (once again) knowing whom I’m writing for. So, caught within this circle of not knowing my audience but not being able to have an audience to know because I am unable to begin blogging, I am only now joining the blogoshpere. To be sure though, there is a ‘cheat’ option: I do know who my audience is seeing as how I am blogging under the purview of DH23. So, joining DH23Things was my way of forcing my own confrontation with the unknown but within comfortable limits (Dan Cohen’s blog essay struck a chord in me).

Setting up this blog was not too difficult. I believe that in time, I will be able to easily negotiate the pages and fully utilise the functions.

I will use this blog as both a feedback site for enriching my blogging experience as well as for making known my research interest. As my research interest is about the reading experience in the 21st century, I am aware that blog reading (and writing) forms a significant part of contemporary modes of reading as we live and work within the technological revolution. I am aware that these new modes of reading are breaking down traditional and long-standing borders that were formed since the time of a previous revolution – that of the printing press. I believe that we will witness the edges of a past revolution merging with the seams of a new wave as borders are crossed; understanding how this movement shapes our reading experiences is what fascinates me.

I hope those who read my blog will be able to identify with or challenge me on all matters with regard to reading and/or blogging. The fact that these two issues are symbiotic will no doubt make some of my posts confounding.

Perhaps one important issue that I anticipate I will face is how I will personally identify with my readers and in relation to that, the persona that I will take during this time. For a start, I will position myself as a novice blogger who is eager to learn and a passionate researcher who is open to ideas. I hope that by being open, I will stand to gain more through this less conventional mode of publication which could serve to be a ‘case-in-point’ for how the technological revolution is shaping the future of reading and academia.

I will refrain from my own evaluations of my blogging experience during this early stage of the process. I hope to be able to say more in time.

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