Kirkup(2010), Conole(2010) and Weller(2011) would probably conclude that blogs are having a limited effect on the publication of research despite the fact that they could be highly influential and a real asset to academia.
Lack of common understanding
There is no academic ‘party line’ in relation to blogging. Although some universities do support ‘official’ blogs calling upon their staff to contribute as ‘experts’ but these are more for marketing purposes rather than to aid research. (Kirkup, 2010, p77) Neither is there a consensus regarding the function of academic blogging: Kirkup’s research suggests that a minority of academic’s seriously apportion time to blogging. What seems to be less apparent is the usage that academics might make of other people’s blogs in the line of research. Clearly Kirkup has used blogs for this purpose.
Lack of credibility
Kirkup(2010 p76) also acknowledges that traditional approaches to academia negate the use of blogs because they are “seen as unverifiable and unverified statements”. In addition, blogs by default ignore traditional academic styles requiring their own bespoke approach. Equally, they require the author to rethink or reframe their own identity as a ‘blog’ writer and many academics, for fear of loosing credibility or diminishing career opportunities, shy away from wearing a blogger’s mantle.
Lack of technical skills or vision
Conole (2010) too, suggests that few academics are mining the benefits of blogging, that they are reluctant to subscribe to the practice of blogging or make best use of the Web 2.0 affordances. She suggests that this may be due to limited time to evaluate the worth of the tools, a difficulty in flexing between ‘social’ and ‘professional’ tools, a lack of knowledge regarding the affordances of social networking sites and not enough of a ‘critical mass of people with a common interest in using these tools.’
This research is becoming a little jaded and as generations of social network users and blog writers move through the academic world perceptions about the functions of blogs may well change as might their use in academic research.