A few weeks ago I was asked to write a response piece for the journal Dialogues in Human Geography. It’s a fairly new journal that publishes feature articles alongside a series if short response pieces. These are then followed by a reply from the author(s) of the feature article. It’s a really lively format. I was asked to write a response to a piece about the use of social media, and particularly blogging, in the cultivation of a more public geography. This is something I’ve been thinking about quite a bit (in research and teaching). I tried to use the argument from my recently completed book to think about the issues outlined in the article. My contribution is called ‘Public Geography and the Politics of Circulation’. The issue should be out around July this year. Here is my abstract:
New media are increasingly seen to provide opportunities for geographers and social researchers to develop a more public profile. In response to Kitchin et al (2013) this article explores the implications of using such platforms for communicating research findings and ideas. This response explores the underlying developments in new media that appear to have shaped the experiences described in Kitchin et al’s (2013) article. Here it is argued that the ‘politics of circulation’ that defines new media (Beer, 2013) generated both the positive outcomes and the anxieties and problems that Kitchin et al outline in their article. Based upon this observation, this piece suggests that in order for academic researchers to make the most of the communicative potential of new media they might need to also work towards a detailed understanding of the politics of data circulations to which their ideas will be exposed. Alongside this, the article suggests that we will need to prepare ourselves as our research takes on a life of its own.