- Science communication
I love this quote, that I read in the book “Communicating your research with social media” (page 40), recently:
2. Writing: Genius vs craft
Sometimes, it is easy to feel disheartened about this “business” of writing. It seems to come so easily to others. So… effortlessly. Take famous writers, like Jane Austen, for instance.
The famous picture of Jane Austen is of her craftily sneaking her writing time, scribbling in the corner of the parlor, hiding her pages when interrupted, and never shirking her housework. (…)
The picture that emerges is of a woman who wrote in the margins of life, the message being that writing is something that can be fitted into the corners and somehow done while simultaneously cross-stitching a sampler and baking the daily bread.
Yet, as unearthed by Goodman’s research, the reality was very different:
Her father gave her notebooks, an expensive gift considering the price of paper. For her 19th birthday he gave her a writing desk—a small wooden box that opened into a sloped writing surface and contained compartments that could be locked. (…)
A space in which to write and, perhaps most importantly, represents a vote of confidence from her father—the male head of the household—that her writing is valuable.
And as for those heavy housework duties, Goodman writes:
Jane’s household chores were restricted to making the morning tea and toast and keeping the key to the wine cupboard, certainly not onerous chores and ones (…)
Jane was “privileged with a general exemption from domestic chores … almost as a man was privileged”.
Goodman goes on to conclude:
So what does one need to write?
A stable environment with space and time allotted to the task, freedom from onerous responsibilities and financial worries, and a few people who believe in and encourage you.
So, there’s hope for us, crafty writers.
3. Diderot effect – Or why buying new stuff makes us (un)happy
I came across a super interesting video, produced by the BBC, about the Diderot effect – i.e., the observation that we buy items as a way of expressing our identity (actual or desired). For instance, we use items that express our identity as an hipster, a successful financier, a well-travelled person…
That is, items are not judged in isolation but, rather, in light of how well they match our sense of identity, expressed in the possessions that we already have. When we buy something that clashes with our existing set of possessions, it creates a dissonance. We either reject the item or, most likely, we feel compelled to buy additional items that harmonise with the ‘dissonant’ one. The Diderot effect is, thus, at the heart of purchase spirals.
First batch of exam marking done. Revised paper submitted. Gearing up for teaching an MBA course about social media in business.
What does the week have in store for you?