Digital measurement

April 25, 2013

I can only thank Times Higher Education for consistently transmitting from the academic blogosphere via its THE Scholarly Web. I have been writing loosely academic perspectives on my own blog since 2005. All that perspiration, all that inspiration is paying off, despite all those hand- wringing meetings with line managers who “recommended” that this “output comes to a close”.

I’m not alone. Look: there’s University of Sydney scholar Deborah Lupton with This Sociological Life; Dave Beer, senior lecturer at the University of York and author of the Thinking Culture blog; and the lovely (if annoyingly spelled) danah boyd, the US social media scholar. All demand good and regular online readership. But what is the possible evidence of impact?

In a conversation over coffee last week with my favourite English literature professor, he concluded: “I get more readers (more than 1,000 from the States alone) to one of my reviews on TripAdvisor, and that took 10 minutes to compose, than my latest output in a 4* journal.”

And he’s not alone.

The thing is, just as every institution needs a serious measure of its mark of progress and ranking, the same should be true of digital outputs. However, they are often overlooked, ignored or remain poised for “impact”, which makes the whole process feel like it is waiting for the right Instagram filter.

Nevertheless, I have to tell you that I will continue to compose my little blog, regardless of whether it is high impact or not. Surely 50-plus daily readers is enough?

Mariann Hardey (@thatdrmaz)
Lecturer in marketing
Durham University

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