Monday, May 25, 2015

Don't Fear Announcing Your New Publications on Facebook

Lots of my friends in philosophy are shy about announcing their new publications on Facebook and other social media sites. Getting a paper published in a prestigious journal is an impressive achievement, but some people don't mention it (or do so in a conflicted way) because they're modest and they don't want to boast or appear boastful to others. I think they should become less conflicted and post about their forthcoming papers! Recent work can be advertised in ways that help other philosophers and make your friends happy.

A good way to talk about your paper that just got accepted is to provide a brief and accessible explanation of what it's about. This takes a few extra minutes to write, but it's helpful to all the philosophers reading your Facebook page. They get an easily digested update on new research and they don't even have to stop procrastinating. A few people might have helpful comments and ideas and give you good instant feedback. When John Williams and I got our Backward Clock paper accepted in JPhil, I posted about it on Facebook and David Manley told me about some additional work that supported our point and which we cite in the final version. I had some excellent conversations on Facebook about my paper attacking the fine-tuning argument as well.

For the most accessible work, you might be able to write in a way that helps your friends outside philosophy figure out what exactly it is that you do for a living, and maybe even explain cool stuff to them. If you're working in a very technical area it may be hard to communicate the idea in an accessible way. But you might at least be able to say something general that helps people get a sense of what it is that you do.

Maybe talking about your publications like this is still kind of boasty. But even then, the effects of your boasting may be ones you want. Your friends will be happy for you when they see that you accomplished something, and don't you want to make your friends happy? You probably also have some frenemies who'll be envious or annoyed or have some other negative emotion about your success. But you shouldn't worry too much about them. They're frenemies! If you let concerns about your frenemies' feelings determine your decisions, your life will be less fun. And if you're concerned even about your frenemies' feelings, you're probably a kind-hearted person who deserves to have fun.