Beki’s Blog Blends Personal, Professional

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From a passion for knitting to an experience with sexual harassment, Beki Grinter’s blog posts are not always about topics you’d expect to find on a faculty member’s blog.        

“My blog entries are on variety of topics — both work-related and nonwork,” said Grinter, an associate professor in the School of Interactive Computing. “Sometimes I wonder whether this affects the readership. But on the other hand, the blog is a creative outlet and is also within the scope of my research, so exploration is important.”

Grinter started the blog in 2008 after creating an account to participate in a colleague’s blog. What started as an experiment has evolved into an at least weekly activity for Grinter.

Not only does Grinter enjoy maintaining the blog, it has led to unexpected opportunities.
“So many of the posts, such as those that I write about my cross-cultural experiences — since I am from England —  lead to interesting discussions with colleagues at Georgia Tech and beyond,” Grinter said. “Also as a known blogger, people have invited me to participate in writing pieces for other blogs, such as the Computing Community Consortium’s blog and essays on writing for publication.”

Recently, The Whistle had an opportunity to learn more about Grinter and her time at Tech. Here’s what we learned.  

How did you get into your current field?
I can remember when my father brought home a computer in the 1970s. The family sat around trying to imagine all of the things it might be good for in the future. That was the beginning. What I enjoy most about my field is that on many projects I get to learn about areas beyond computing. For example, I’ve done research on why instant messaging systems are so popular with teenagers and the challenges households face in adopting networking technologies.

How did you get to Georgia Tech?      
I came to the United States when I was 21 and ended up attending graduate school at the University of California, Irvine — go Anteaters! Since then, I’ve worked for companies including Bell Laboratories (which was AT&T and then Lucent Techologies) and for Xerox PARC. I’d always wanted to mentor students, so I came to Tech in 2004.  

What piece of technology could you not live without professionally and personally?   
Professionally, I would say my laptop. Personally, I would say my iPhone — it’s like the digital equivalent of a Swiss army knife.

Which do you prefer and why: Facebook, Twitter or a world without all of this social media stuff?  
I’ve moved around a lot, so I have a lot of people to stay connected with, which is why Facebook is so wonderful.

What is your favorite spot on campus?
The Technology Square Research Building where my office is located. I’ve had so many happy times here.

Where is the best place to grab lunch, and what do you order?
Waffle House, and I order the cheese eggs.

What is the best advice you’ve ever received?
There’s not one piece that sticks out, but I can say that my thesis advisor, Jonathan Grudin, always seemed to have advice to give at the times that I needed it most.

Tell us something unique about yourself.
When I was a small child, there wasn’t a lot of classroom space in my village, so my kindergarten class was held in the back room of a pub.



  • Workflow Status: Published
  • Created By: Amelia Pavlik
  • Created: 11/22/2011
  • Modified By: Fletcher Moore
  • Modified: 10/07/2016

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