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my plans for 2016

My new year is starting with the two most challenging things I’ll do in the whole of 2016 within the first 18 days. I’ve got really clear plans for this year, much more so than at any point I can remember, which I thought I’d lay out now in a post before I get lost in the next few weeks. So here’s what I plan to do in 2016:

  1. The Distracted People of Digital Capitalism: I’ve spent the last four and a half months doing initial reading and planning for this book, building upon my past work on reflexivity, social media and acceleration. I’ve now got an extremely detailed plan and, if I can stick to my schedule of one chapter a month, I’ll have finished it by the end of 2016.
  2. Social Media for Academics: as well as my book launching in March, I’ve got a range of talks about social media lined up across the UK around the same time (which I’m happy to add to, if you’d like to invite me to your university). Later on in the year, I’m planning to organise a number of workshop in London and Manchester for which I’ll be selling tickets via Eventbrite. I’m also planning on moving my social media blogging to a new website, which I’ll then use as a focal point for all this activity.
  3. The Sociological Review: the twitter presence I maintain for The Sociological Review has been going really well on every metric I can think of. This year I want to continue this while focusing on the Facebook page and the blog. The former come less naturally to me than Twitter and I’ve realised we need to focus more on visual content, some of which we produce ourselves and some contributed by our followers, rather than just reproducing the Twitter content on a different platform. Towards the end of 2015, I really began to feel I understood the purpose our blog should have: special sections on research governance, digital sociology and the accelerated academy all went down really well. My plan is to use the blog as a forum for rapid response debate, both on topical political issues but also matters of pressing disciplinary concern for which journals might not be the best forum. Upcoming topics include: academic celebrity, regulating emerging technologies, meta-analysis in sociology and the relationship between sociology and fiction. I’m also going to continue with a new monthly podcast about culture from a sociological perspective, as well as continuing with the really popular writing and research for ECRs micro-podcasts.
  4. Centre for Social Ontology: I can’t quite think this through in detail at the moment, given our annual workshop starts in Paris on Monday for which the logistics are my responsibility – plus for the first few months of the year, I’ll be finishing off my paper for volume 5. We’re going to have another meeting of the reflexivity forum and a workshop about the morphogenetic approach. We’re also going to have an end of grant event to promote the closure of the morphogenetic project, for which we’re currently working on the 5th book in the series. Plus I’ll finish off the multimedia projects I was working on, as well as a social ontology glossary project with Adam Wood. It would also be nice to do a launch event for the collected papers of Margaret Archer that I’ve edited with Tom Brock and Graham Scambler, due to be released in June.
  5. The Digital Social Science Forum: this is the other impending challenge, as our first full meeting is the week after I get back from Paris. It should be very exciting though and we’ve got a lot lined up over the course of the year: events at Social Media & Society, including a prize giving for the essay competition we ran with Big Data & Society, as well as a stream on Digital Methodologies at the ISA Logic & Methodologies conference which we’ve organised with the International Journal of Social Research Methodology. We’ve also got some interesting publication plans across a range of online outlets.
  6. Making the Familiar Strange: along with Jamie Woodcock and Chris Till, I’m planning an initially small festival of critical social science for the summer of 2017. To get this off the ground, we’ll have to get many of the plans underway by this summer. Get in touch if you’d like to be involved.
  7. Practical Sociology: I’m working with Nick Fox to promote practical sociology in the UK. We’re going to be having an event in the summer and would love to get in touch with potential collaborators on this.
  8. Sociological Imagination: I’ve neglected Sociological Imagination a bit over the last year and I’m going to try and attend to it a bit more, even if that means spending less time blogging on my personal site. A key part of this will be soliciting contributions and I’m planning a couple of calls for blog posts to this end.
  9. The Accelerated Academy: there will be a second and third accelerated academy, the former organised by the Leiden group and the latter by myself and Milena Kremakova.
  10. Book Reviews: either completing the many book reviews I owe people or declaring book review bankruptcy, offering profuse apologies and banning myself from agreeing to do book reviews for a long time.
  11. Editorial Board(ish) Stuff: I’d like to contribute a bit more to Big Data & Society, The Journal of Applied Social Theory, Discover Society and International Journal of Social Research Methodology but I’m not sure in what capacity exactly.
  12. Misc Stuff: I want to get started on Code Academy again, work my way through David Harvey’s Capital lectures and finally do NanoWrimo. But the odds of me actually doing these things seem pretty slim, particularly as I’ve intended to do NanoWrimo for well over a decade now.

Plus save up a bit, restart the gym properly and stop buying books because I literally don’t have anywhere else to put them.

So that’s a public pronouncement. Now to see how I do over the course of the year. I felt like I spent the whole of 2015 catching up, first to submit Social Media for Academics and then because moving to Manchester took ages, so it feels great to start this year vaguely on top of everything.

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Mark