On 13 and 14 March, the last event in the Becoming a Public Intellectual series took place. This time we were invited to the Open University premises in Milton Keynes for two days of training on direct public engagement through social media. In addition, we were to receive some presentation and interview skills training.
The weather didn’t help – because of the fog, I saw very little of Milton Keynes. The training was useful though, even though I was already familiar with Twitter and WordPress – two of the features discussed on the first day. It was nice, however, to have a couple of hours to spend entirely on my blog, rethink its purpose, and receive a friendly verbal push to use social media more often and more effectively. I rediscovered how much fun blogging can be, and that Twitter only works if you use it regularly. Apart from the workshop participants who are now following me, I’ve gained several new followers over the past few days simply because I’ve been more active.
Both the conference centre where we spend the night and the hotel where we had dinner had a slightly uncanny Twin Peaks-atmosphere. Breakfast on the morning of the second day took place in a semi-lit vast room with no view to speak of, as the fog had returned overnight. As weather conditions improved, however, the sessions on interviewing and presenting turned out to be a lot of fun. This was also a good opportunity for some final feedback. I hope that future Public Intellectual students will end up enjoying the programme as much as I did.
Another thing that I hope will be maintained is the useful network my fellow students and I have been building over the past few months. We have a wide range of expertise between us and we will hopefully continue to benefit from this as we progress through our careers, be they academic and non-academic. For now, the past week has given me lots of inspiration and the resolution to use my time more efficiently. Blogging and keeping up with what’s happening in the academic community isn’t so much a matter of time (I spend more time than I should watching videos of cats). The aim for the next few months is to reset my priorities and use at least some of the cat-viewing time to tweet, blog, and write.