A lot of people on my course seem to have arrived with at least half-formed ideas of what they want to be studying over the next four years. Myself, I've turned up with a pen and paper and a relatively empty brainbox. I'm hoping that over the first few months of taught lectureship something will click in my brain and I'll be whisked away by a good idea. But who knows.
I did have a bit of a brainwave last night. One of those thoughts that are so good you actually consider getting out of bed to note it down - but then you weigh that impulse against the ambient temperature of your room outside of the duvet and roll back over to sleep. The idea was as follows:
"Exploring the efficacy of Gamification for encouraging positive online behaviour"
I had to write a little bio about myself and my research interests earlier this week, and I put that my interests are in "digital identity, decentered selves and gamification". The first two ideas go hand in hand, but the third is a little off-the-wall. I also wrote that I'd like to find a way to mash the three ideas together. I'm hoping that the above title (or some iterative evolution of such) might provide me the opportunity to do that.
In terms of "positive online behaviour" (avoiding the usual postmodern guff of "can we say what is positive behaviour?" etc - let's do our best to avoid an existential crisis here people), I'm thinking along the lines of information sharing, collaborative creation and the discouragement of things such as griefing, trolling and the like. I need to do the background reading nice and early, seeing as I have to have a PhD proposal to present to the group by the end of Jan.