Getting better at something without feedback is very hard. Imagine practising penalty kicks by kicking the ball and then turning around before you saw where it landed; a year or two later someone would visit you at home and tell you where your kicks ended up. This is the kind of feedback loop we contend with when it comes to our privacy disclosures.
Your Klout score is gaining in importance: A high one might bring perks, but a low one could dash your career dreams.
Something that hit me while I was reading this (other than how much I dislike Klout) is that companies are increasingly using the ‘service’ to discriminate between preferred and non-preferred customers. I can see a service like Klout developing in the future that is widely used by marketers, insurance agencies, and other groups interested in actuarial sales/risk analysis to mine social media information in order to assign scores that invisibly affect individuals’ daily behaviours and routines.
Hopefully things won’t be so invisible that consumer protection laws can’t be activated to dilute such behaviours. Even more hopefully, let’s pray that those laws still have the dulled teeth they have today when Klout on steroids is truly birthed.
In an economy of scarcity, a rare commodity like office space will be fought over tenaciously.
I have to admit that I’ve never had an issue finding office spaces on campus; at a previous university I had three separate offices, and presently enjoy two separate (and well furnished!) offices. I tend to work out of those spaces 6-7 days a week, 6-12 hours a day. In other words: I use the spaces that are provided to me.
That said, I’ve watched just how nasty office-space wars can become. Such conflicts aren’t something that I’d wish on my worst enemy, and the most aggravating aspect of most space conflicts is the sheer amount of unused office space. There’s nothing like seeing a war occur between a small group of people in a department for a coveted office space while 95% of the offices are unoccupied because graduate students and faculty alike refuse to come and work on campus.
Our symposium was also interested in the differences between writing a journal article and writing an extended monograph of up to 100,000 words. The sheer challenge of constructing a sustained argument over this many words clearly prepared the PhD for the book in ways that writing journal articles might not. So was there also something here, we wondered, about the PhD by journal publication being a way of preparing the audit ready scholar, already primed to turn out articles for high status journals, as opposed to what might appear as the increasingly less audit valued process of producing a monograph?
It is important to put on record that our symposium wasn’t suggesting that the solution to this increasing diversity should be some kind of monolithic pan-European doctorate, an extension of the Bologna process that would involve massive amounts of moderation, record keeping and audit. This would be the simple knee jerk bureaucratic response to emergent diversity. We did think that there might be a set of questions to discuss about the criteria used to evaluate/examine doctorates, and some work at the edges of what were reasonable expectations and what were not. We were very clear that there ought to be a conversation among the scholarly community at large about diversity and equity – it wasn’t something just for national policy-makers to think about.
The changes we were addressing are of course not the only changes in the doctorate. There are also increasing pressures on narrow nineteenth century definitions of the thesis by monograph brought about via digital and arts informed scholarship, and these too need to be taken into account in any discussions.
Anecdotally, I can personally say that each type of writing a scholar engages in will be different. A manuscript is different from an article, which are both different from a report, review, book chapter, or submission to government. And each is independently valuable insofar as each teaches discrete writing skills.
I know that there is a shift away from manuscripts, and towards PhD by publishing in the social sciences. I can certainly appreciate how this publication approach enhances CVs for postdoctoral fellowships (e.g. demonstrates a track record of publishing) but it also seems to take away from learning a key skill: book writing. While many people who receive a PhD won’t continue on into the academy there is a certain discipline associated with building, and sustaining, and argument over 80-100 thousand words.