This is my first post to Occam’s Irregulars and when I was planning out what I wanted to write, I though that I needed something that was going to have a splash and get plenty of clicks. But that sounded hard and possibly requiring of either talent or some kind of Buzzfeed-esq list format. So instead, I’m going for the much easier option of increasing the competition to the point where I can claim that the 10 views I get is totally understandable what with all those new science blogs that just started up.I’ve been blogging now for 2 years, pretty solidly. I think I’ve only missed my weekly schedule once or twice, and even then I think it was because I managed to lock myself out by forgetting my password. I blog because I enjoy it and hopefully, that passion shows through in more than just my insane update schedule. Reading other bloggers such as Hapsci’s Notes, Deathsplanation, and There’s a Spider In The Bath, their posts always read like passionate treatise – either on something in the media for which they have expertise, or simply their own research. If you look at all the posts I’ve linked, it doesn’t feel like an exercise in ‘putting something up for something’s sake’.
But I had no idea I would actually be that passionate about doing it before I started. I started blogging for a variety of reasons, but “because it sounds fun” was actually a pretty long way down the list. And it wasn’t something that just instantly clicked in. I wasn’t 100 words in to my first post and suddenly had an eureka moment, leaning back and saying “gadzooks, this is a ripping good laugh!”. It’s something I realised after a few weeks – that I was looking forward to writing my blog posts, and even more, looking forward to talking to people online about it.
I should be clear though – I’m not suggesting that everyone is made to have a go at blogging. One of the many, many things I’m meant to be doing right now is working on my PGCert qualification. As part of that course, the class were very strongly encouraged to all start blogs to chronicle our journey through a part-time short course we do 5 days of work on. Some of my peers did create blogs and without exception, they all stopped shortly after their first few posts. Similarly, a friend on a non-science MSc was told that as part of her coursework she (in a group) has to start and run a blog for a year. As you might expect, most of the posts fit squarely in the mould “because it was due” and are about as insightful and inspiring as you’d expect from mandatory MSc coursework that is ungraded.
Blogging, like all outreach, is really only successful when the person doing it has a drive and a passion to do it. Not everyone starts with a burning desire to stand up and shout about their work but most of us have no idea if we will ever have that passion. All I’d suggest is – go try it. Set up a blog on WordPress or tumblr; start tweeting more; share photos of your experiments on Instagram. If you find it rewarding, then keep doing it! If you don’t, then at the very least you’ve added your voice/social media to explaining your science a little better.
But whatever you end up doing, please tell me about it – I love hearing about other people’s research and I’m always happy to give someone starting out a bit of help getting noticed.