10 irrefutable reasons why you should contribute to nextgenforensic

Ian A. Elliott

So, if the previous post (nay, manifesto) has left you with recurring, intense, ongoing, DSM-5-diagnosable sophophilia, then here are ten more reasons why you should seriously consider contributing to the nextgenforensic blog. Let’s call it a rapid and adapted systematic review of the many ‘reasons why you should blog’ articles floating around in cyberspace.

1. It improves your ability to communicate ideas
Blog posts are typically short, sweet, and don’t necessarily conform to traditional forms of academic writing. Although short, they rely heavily on narrative and completeness. Writing in this way can help you to collect and organize your thoughts. It will help you to develop the art of brevity and to cultivate an eye for critically-meaningful concepts on which to hone-in. These abilities can be further fine-tuned through the production of more engaging posts, such as infographics, Prezis, and podcasts.

2. It helps maintain momentum in writing
Contributing to blogs on a regular basis keeps you writing. Even during those times when you’re so stuck in data analysis that you dream in syntax, it benefits you to stay in an author’s mindset. This helps you to combat the writer’s block that often accompanies a period of time away from the keyboard. Blogging is also an effective way to incubate neophyte ideas that you couldn’t otherwise prioritize without a tangible goal in mind.

3. It’s a two-way street
You’ll (hopefully) receive immediate feedback from readers on your work though the comments section. (These will be moderated, so any ‘trolls’ can go demonstrate their dark tetrad tendencies elsewhere!) Constructive feedback can be enlightening and provide a fresh perspective on your ideas and your creations. It may also give you an insight into how non-researchers audiences consume, evaluate, and utilize academic output.

4. It allows for greater freedom of expression
I once wrote a paragraph the premise of which was that online pornography users are essentially conducting their very own PPG assessments: exposing themselves to various test stimuli, placing a tightly-gripping instrument around their penis (most frequently the hand), and using it to gain physiological feedback about their sexual interests. I deleted it, not because I don’t stand by it, but because it was a joke – and academic journals aren’t the place for such whimsy. This peer-driven platform allows you to communicate in a more colloquial manner and opine in ways that might perhaps make you think twice in a more formal context.

5. It helps you to develop a professional identity
Quality contributions allow you to establish credibility in your particular field of study and demonstrate the niches you seek to create for yourself as a researcher. As contributions increase, a network forms in which we can see where our ideas and efforts fit with those of others, and where potential gaps exist. Thus, the aim is to develop a platform that can help generate and develop research agendas between individuals and teams. You’ll also develop an identity as a producer of material and not just a consumer.

6. It introduces you to your community
Contributing to a community blog will help you to connect with your peers and other like-minded people. Why not take the opportunity to invite others to collaborate? This is your community: if you reach out and introduce yourself to it, you will be embraced by it.

7. It’s a place to promote your work
Just had a paper published? Successfully secured new funding for a project? Had a call from the Nobel committee? (Ok, maybe just the ATSA research committee?) Let the world know! nextgenforensic doesn’t judge occasional (but appropriate) bouts of self-promotion. It’s often unspoken and seen as a little uncouth to some, but in academia you are your own public relations department. Visibility is vital in a professional marketplace where you’re judged not only on the quality of your output, but also the prolificacy and impact of your output.

8. It will be appreciated
Practitioners and the general public often bemoan those academics who pontificate from their ‘ivory tower’ (i.e., draughty, ill-lit offices, in aging buildings on old campuses). By frequently publishing quality, credible, and freely-accessible material you are providing an important service to the practice community and the interested public writ-large, who despite their enthusiasm simply don’t have the financial might of academic institutions to underwrite their Google Scholar searches.

9. You might learn something
If you’ve always wanted to explore that concept, understand that theory, or fill in the gaps on that research topic, writing a blog post about it is a way to engage with that material and absorb it. And you can do so safe in the knowledge that it’s justifiable beyond mere academic curiosity because it’s generating a tangible product. Win-win!

10. You might like it
Blogging can be fun, stimulating, rewarding, and something you might even find yourself looking forward to!

So please, read the call for submissions and contribute! You don’t need to be a technophile, just an infomaniac (yeah, an infomaniac. I said it. Out loud.)


Want to submit your own post? Click here to find out how!

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