I’ve realized recently that I’m pretty half hearted about the idea of self packaging/self promotion.
It’s not that I don’t do it. I do.
Well you have to now in HE. CVs and bio notes and university home pages are the bottom line for all of us. But there are of course multiple additional platforms across which you can re/present an academic self – facebook, tumblr, twitter, Wikipedia, pinterest etc. A new possibility nearly every month.
I do seem to rather relentlessly plug blog posts on twitter, probably much too much. On the other hand a friend who keeps an eye on such things was recently surprised to hear that my book with Barbara Kamler on publishing in academic journals had been out for some months ( read a review here). It had clearly passed her by and I obviously did a pretty crap job of promoting it. If your friends don’t know when you’ve published something, you’re in trouble! (Ive tried to compensate with these links!)
I confess that there are aspects of this self-packaging stuff which make me uncomfortable. It all seems a bit blowing your own trumpet very loudly and often… a lot like spin… more like self advertising for the sake of it…
But hang on… How culturally, generationally, and gender loaded is my reticence, I ask myself.
– generationally – I’ve not had to sell my soul or my self to get a job
– culturally – Australians, despite the reputation for being brash, tend to look disparagingly on self promoting tall poppies and England appears to be even more so
– gender – well I’m pretty ancient, and it was a case of girls being brought up not to put themselves forward. ‘Clever girls’ in particular were always regarded with some suspicion.
So there is probably a good sociological explanation for why I feel the way that I do about the self packaging game.
All well and good. Aside from considerations about the source of my discomfort about self promotion, I do also wonder about where you draw the line. On what basis do you decide something is OK, and something is too much?
I couldn’t name anything after myself. And I ‘m pretty sure I couldn’t write a Wikipedia entry about myself, although I know that some colleagues who have done both of these things. I might get round to doing a Wikipedia entry on something that I’ve researched – perhaps. Same for facebook – I could just about manage a research focused facebook page I think, but really I use FB just to connect with friends I don’t see in person very often.
However, I do get pretty miffed when I discover a book/Wikipedia/blog about something that I’ve been heavily involved with that doesn’t mention me – although I don’t make the effort to provide a correction. So there’s a contradiction for you. I want the credit, but I don’t want to have to do it myself.
Clearly it’s almost impossible to separate out the scholar from the scholarly work, and that’s what makes this whole topic of self packaging so interesting – and fraught. Promote the work and you promote the scholar – but is it always true vice-versa? Are there academic star cultures/academic cults of personality – and how does self packaging feed into them and are they a Bad Thing?
I’m not at all sure where I stand on all this and where to draw any new lines about what to do and what not to do… What do you think?