I completed my masters back in 2008 (MA in New Media and Society at the University of Leicester) but (shock horror) I never put my dissertation online at the time… even though it is about Facebook and much of my essays were skirting around the politics of open access and social media – before there were really words to describe *what* that all this was.
I guess at the time (2008/2009) I was a little worried about the consequences of putting my work out there – from both the perspective of my department (that I ended up being registered as a PhD student at Leicester for a few months before transferring to UWS in October 2009) and from the fact I had dinnae have the confidence to stick my work up online when there were only a few people that were doing it. I found other ways to do it – mainly through blogging – but I didn’t think to go back and retroactively publish it.
A few weeks ago I attended the first half of a free symposium at Glasgow University on Digital/Social Media and Memory to keep things ticking over in the academic research department during my year out of the PhD. After listening to Jose Van Dijck‘s presentation on social networking ecosystems with relation to the emergence of Facebook timelines (a core theme being the move from profiles as a form of self-expression to a form of self-promotion), I realised that I have actually thought about this quite a lot in my relative short academic career.
So yeah, I stuck up my MA thesis on slideshare (embedded below) half way through the seminar and gained some really useful commentary on it from twitter. Which makes me think I should have done this sooner. Or I should have worked to publish it at the time. Shoulda, woulda, coulda – I’m working on different things now but having taken quite a big break from the PhD writing at the moment, it has been kinda good to go back through some of the writing I was doing when I was entirely focused on my academic work. I think I’m finally starting to see a way out of the fudge that I’ve swimming in since the funding ran out last October. Here is hoping by the way.