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Reflecting on Academic Book Writing Month December 9, 2011

Posted by Sarah in progress, Public and Private in the Blogosphere.
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Well, I didn’t get even close to hitting my 30,000 word goal for the month of November.

Graph of AcBoWriMo progress 2011

AcBoWriMo Progress, November 2011

On the other hand, I made substantially more progress in terms of pure writing in November than I had in a really long time. For me, the first pass at writing is the hardest. It’s not that I’m a perfectionist, even. It’s just that I have trouble starting.

So far I’m having some pretty good success in keeping up the momentum that I built during November – I’ve been getting a decent amount of work done daily, whether it’s crunching numbers for the chapter that I’m focusing on right now, just spending time reading over my ethnographic data, or actually writing. I’ve got a deadline for a long abstract coming up on Monday (what sort of evil people make there be a research deadline in the middle of December? I could name names, but I won’t. Don’t you know I have a final to write, people‽) that is sharing time with the aforementioned final exam. And then onwards to the full paper to go with that long abstract, due the 6th of January.


Workflow… December 2, 2008

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I’ve been collecting my ethnographic data for about 10 weeks now.  I have to admit that I’m a bit behind… I have not looked at and analyzed every post on every blog I’m observing since the date I started observations.  Conveniently for me, those posts generally don’t disappear.

Part of the delay has been developing a workflow.  Because posts sometimes DO disappear, and so that I can do work if I happen to be offline (rare, but it has been known to happen), I am archiving the text of each blog post.  Straight up copy/paste doesn’t work – it doesn’t capture images or links.  Just viewing the source of the page doesn’t work – because it just gives you the framework of the page, not the post html itself.

My first tactic was to use the source viewer tab extension for Firefox and copy & paste from there into a local html file, which worked but I generally lost some formatting and getting it from there into my info management system – Journler* – was a multi-step process.  

And then, about two weeks ago, a very smart person on the Journler support boards reminded me that I could drag a URL straight from my browser onto the Journler icon on the dock to create a shortcut to the post (which will open in Journler’s built-in browser) from which I can also easily create a reasonable local text copy.

Obviously this is a MUCH better workflow, but it means I need to go back and re-do a bunch of stuff.

Could I have figured this out sooner?  Probably… but it’s not the end of the world and everything looks oh-so pretty and is oh-so easy to find & code now.

*It should be noted that I ADORE Journler.  I use it for EVERYTHING – task management, receipts, webpages I need to read, anytime I need to dump any kind of text that I need to find again later.  Highly recommended – but you have to be a person of superior intellect Mac user.

Just to prove that I really am working on it… October 28, 2008

Posted by Sarah in progress.
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WorkThis is what I’ve been staring at all day. Well, permutations of this spreadsheet, anyway. These are my cleaned & coded data for the question about WHY survey respondents chose to categorize the blogosphere as public, private, both, or neither.  I have it broken out by blogging service as well as numbers for all of the respondents.  In case you’re more visually inclined, 63% of respondents classed it as “both”; 35% classed it as “public”, and 1% each said it was “private” or “neither”.


Don’t you feel smarter knowing that?

Examining my own prejudices… March 31, 2008

Posted by Sarah in Public and Private in the Blogosphere.
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As I’m weeding through my survey data and thinking about which participants to recruit for the ethnographic phase of the project, I find that I have to examine some of my own assumptions.  I’m sorting blogs into three categories: “large public” (large, probably fairly heterogeneous/unknown readership), “small public” (smaller, not entirely known readership), and “private” (folks who are using access controls and know exactly who their readership is – Friends Locked LJs, for example).  And as I page through them, I find myself having to combat the assumption that LJs and blogs hosted at a commercial site (rather than having their own URL) are more likely to fall into the “small public” or “private” categories and, conversely, that those that aren’t blogging-service hosted are more likely to fall inot the “large public” category.

How much does it cost to do research? November 5, 2007

Posted by Sarah in Public and Private in the Blogosphere.
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I’m in the process of applying for a dissertation fellowship… for which I have to itemize my research costs.  So far I’ve got:

  • Continuing enrollment fees for 1 year
  • SurveyMonkey hosting for 1 year
  • Childcare for 1 year
  • Internet access for 1 year
  • SkypePro for 1 year
  • Travel to BlogHer to do interviews
  • Parallels and qualitative analysis software

Am I forgetting anything?

Bumping up my numbers… November 2, 2007

Posted by Sarah in Public and Private in the Blogosphere.
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My survey has been in the field for several months now (four and a bit, to be precise).  At the moment, I’m sitting at a very lopsided response rate in terms of the blogging service that my respondents are using – we’re talking 75% LiveJournal users, 7% Blogger/Blogspot users, 5% WordPress users, 3.2% “other” users (which includes a lot of people who use multiple services, and many of them reference LJ in their comments), and 2ish% Xanga, WordPress.com, MovableType/Typepad, and MySpace users.

So… if you have suggestions for how to bump up participation from other services, I’d love to hear them; I am not above spamming all sorts of places to get more responses.  And if you’re a blogger using another service, I’d love to hear from you!

For those who are curious about more numbers, 1460 people have begun the survey and 808 have completed it (and my committee was concerned about me having a big enough n!) for a 55.3% response rate so far.  I need to figure out what exactly SurveyMonkey considers “completed”, though, because on the order of 890 people have answered the closing questions on the last page of the survey.  (In any case, I feel save in saying that 800 < n > 900.)