I can hear the protests from here. ‘But I’m so busy! I can’t possibly maintain a blog! I want to get away from my thesis, not dwell on it in my down time!’ And they are all fair objections.
Writing a thesis is hard and nobody wants to make the job harder. However, there are many important plus sides to blogging as you write your thesis, so here are a few to think about:
Communicate your area of expertise
You are building a huge piece of research that will add to the sum total of human knowledge, and you’re writing something new that hasn’t been done before. You need to be telling people how and why it is important. This is especially useful for science researchers: the scientific community is often criticised for failing to adequately communicate ideas. Practise by blogging!
Connect with other researchers
Your thesis is a great way to find other people from around the world who are interested in your field. This may lead to great advice, future collaborations and building a professional network beyond your university, not to mention the possibility of sharing your work with enthusiastic supporters.
Improve your skills
What makes your writing better? Writing more! If you’re concerned about your skills as a writer, practising on a blog is a great way to get better. You’ll also gain some employable skills in the area of marketing, web publishing and content management. You might choose to be a video blogger—in that case, you’ll gain video editing and presenting skills, which are also highly desirable strings to add to your bow.
Raise your profile
Imagine there was a news story related to your field of expertise. Journalists facing deadlines quickly search the Internet for an expert opinion to give their stories credibility. If you have your own website or social media presence, you’ll be the one to get the call.
Increase your job prospects
In these days of hotly contested academic positions, you should be doing everything you can to market yourself and your skills. Having an online presence and following will often improve your chances of getting a job. There are few employers who wouldn’t run a search on prospective employees, and having your own blog is a great calling card: it shows that you’re engaged, passionate and interesting.
Get noticed by publishers
Many PhD students are expected to go on to write books after submitting their theses. Publishers often look favourably on authors with an existing following, so cultivating an online profile will be worth it in the long run.