Overthinking a tweet

Photo by Andre Mouton | unsplash.com
Photo by Andre Mouton | unsplash.com

This is a quick lunchtime post because something’s been haunting me since yesterday afternoon.

I had ended the day’s work with a tweet listing the things I’ve managed to get done so far this week. Most of them are things that had a much longer life in the pipeline (#AlbatrossPaper, for example, has been hanging out in my publication drafts for years), and this week just happened to be a culmination of editorial deadlines. It was also a chance to flag a Year of the Ox reference and use a cute GIF.

A little while after I posted it, I almost deleted it again.

But lovely folks had started responding so I have left it out there.

The reason why it has been haunting me is that it made me think of the many times on Twitter when people have bragged about what they’ve published recently (which can be ickily done), and the snarly debates among researchers about productivity in the time of COVID, etc.

I posted because I was excited about getting things finished and feeling like I was getting somewhere with building a new research profile in an entirely different discipline, while also growing into a scholarly identity that recognised my previous expertise/track-record. It has been a long time coming (I was writing about it WAY back in 2014). I thought it had to be all or nothing in a new discipline and I was thankfully wrong. It is only in the last couple of years that I’ve started feeling good about research stuff again, rather than hiding from it. I was also moving on from other lives as a research-only person, and juggling a teaching/research/admin role and giving research a look-in is harder than I thought. It’s even harder when I turned my research (which I’ve always loved) into a thing to be feared (no-one will care or be interested in what I say in the new areas, they won’t know me, I don’t know enough and will never know enough, people will laugh, they’ll think my efforts are pathetic…you get the idea).

So, posting about the impending publications was me moving along this researcher identity continuum.

Given the work I do now, and the way I try to do it, I just felt I needed to add more around that tweet. Now you also have a window into my brain and the conversations, second-guessing, and angst that goes on. I certainly don’t think that people should be working ‘business as usual’ or hyping their pandemic productivity.

Anyway…as you were.

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