Faculty bloggers talk about bringing their academic perspectives to the blogosphere.
In the past decade, Internet users from all walks of life have watched a new online world emerge—the blogosphere.
While some use their blogs as a personal online diary, a number of bloggers are using the space to showcase their work. For some Tufts faculty, blogging has provided a forum for exploring ideas and getting feedback, sometimes setting the stage for research publications or future projects.
See the profiles below to learn about five faculty members who blog for many of the same reasons but are also taking their online presences in unique directions.
Lisa Neal Gualtieri
Lisa Neal Gualtieri, an adjunct clinical professor who teaches online consumer health in the Tufts School of Medicine's Health Communication Program calls blogging the perfect fit for someone in education.
"As an academic, you have endless ideas but you don't always have the time to pursue them," Gualtieri says. "What I find the blog is great for is taking some of those ideas, fleshing them out, and posting them in my blog. Not only are they are there to go back to when time allows, but I get feedback from people who read my blog and write comments."
For Gualtieri, sometimes the process of fleshing out her ideas takes them in completely new directions. For example, she recently began using her blog as a way to research Massachusetts Senator Ted Kennedy's brain tumor diagnosis.
"I started to write a blog post about the role of celebrities in medical journalism with Kennedy as my example. I wrote that Kennedy doesn't need to use the Internet because he has a team of experts who are trying to figure out what the best course of action is. I began to realize that people who aren't rich and famous use the Internet for health, not because of the wealth of information that's out there, but because they don't have teams of experts who are advising them," Gualtieri says. "This is an example of how, as I started to write about one topic, I realized that there was a very different idea that I wanted to express."
Spreading her wings even further into the world of social media with her LinkedIn, Facebook and Twitter accounts, Gualtieri says it is important to keep up with all of new forms of communication as they come down the pike.
"Like my blog, these are great mechanisms for professional communication. Besides which, our students are typically younger than we are and it is important to know how they are using technology in their academic and personal lives," Gualtieri says
While he admits that his blog isn't "super popular," it appears Peter Levine's blog is just popular enough to land him speaking engagements and the encouragement to build on his ideas.
"I would say that it's been good for actually advancing a traditional scholarly career," says the director of the Center for Information and Research on Civic Learning and Engagement (CIRCLE) at Tisch College of Citizenship and Public Service. "Within the last year, at a minimum, two blog posts turned into [articles for] peer-reviewed publications. I wasn't writing a draft, I was just writing a blog post and somebody Googled the topic and asked me to submit an article."
Writing on civic renewal, Levine said he started his blog to experimental departure from the lengthy process of publishing to a journal.
"If you write a scholarly article, you next have to find a journal that will publish it, you send it off to be considered, go through revisions, and it can actually take a couple years," Levine says. "With the blog, there's a little button that says publish, and all I do is press it and it publishes. So I do both, but I find the ease of publication very attractive."
While he doesn't find a lot of people commenting to his actual site, Levine says he gets a number of backend responses—people e-mailing him feedback and questions.
"It's important to have some distinctive value that you're adding," Levine says. "When I got started there were probably tens of thousands of blogs, now there's at least a few million. You have to find your niche." (continued)
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Profile written by Kaitlin Melanson, Office of Web Communications
Homepage photo/illustration and Levine photo by Joanie Tobin, University Photography. Top photo by Alonso Nichols, University Photography. Sommers photo by Mark Morelli for University Photography. Walker and Wilde photos by Melody Ko, University Photography. Neal photo courtesy of Lisa Neal.
This story originally ran on Feb. 16, 2009.