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Backchannels Editorial Guidelines

Backchannels Editors

18 December, 2014

Linguists first used the term backchannel to refer to the spontaneous responses and signals that provide interactivity to what is only apparently a one-way communication.  Social media users have adopted the term to refer to the unofficial, multi-directional online conversation that parallels formal academic exchange at a lecture or conference. The Backchannels blog is intended to have a similar relationship to scholarly discourse in STS. It provides an outlet for alternative-format scholarly communications, publishing shorter, timelier, media-rich communiques of interest to the global STS community. The editors welcome proposed contributions.

Why write for us? 

Contributing to our online community provides you the opportunity to share how your work connects to and enhances the field; to build networks and resources around particular issues relevant to science and technology today; and to participate in a growing and important conversation about the value of 4S scholarship in society. If you’re a graduate student or emerging scholar, blog posts can help you hone your ideas, diversify your writing skills, and develop an audience for your work.

What do we want? 

Items of interest to the 4S community include the following:

  • report-backs from conferences and workshops;
  • reflections on key ideas and concepts, trends or movements, and insights or experiences; the state of the discipline or sub-disciplines.
  • critical reviews of popular media, including books, movies, material cuture, music, and performance; and
  • projects you’re working on, either singly or in collaboration with others; the makings and doings of STS scholars and practitioners.

How to contact us? 

Please submit a brief description of your proposed post, along with any questions or concerns to one of the following addresses. We will respond within a week.

Journals and conferences

Reviews, reblogs, and STS commentary from Asia, Africa & Latin America

Reviews, reblogs, and STS commentary from North America, Europe, and Australia

10 Tips for Writing a Good Blog Post

  1. Keep your post to 700-1000 words.
  2. Aim for a voice that is narrative, accessible, but not overly personal.
  3. Write a short, engaging introduction that peaks readers’ interest and contains an overview of the post’s main argument or point. The first sentence should be clear and relatively short.
  4. Include headings to help with readability. Headings are also picked up in web browser searches, so include key words.
  5. Use a snappy but descriptive title that includes at least one keyword for your topic.
  6. Hyperlink words and phrases to outside sources so readers can follow up if they are interested.
  7. Don’t use jargon, unless you’re defining these words. Link concepts to relevant sources or sites.
  8. Include photos. Resist the urge to use stock images, however. Instead, consider the visual message. Images should further your argument rather than merely illustrate the overall concept or topic.
  9. If relevant, include as many details as you can about workshops and conferences including who to contact, deadlines, websites, etc.
  10. Include a short bio/byline at the end with links to your web presence.