Attending the SciBlog 2008 conference last week gave me a chance to weigh up my opinion of blogs, bloggers and blogging. And I’ve decided that I hate them all.
Not the concept or the people or the activity, you understand, but the words. They stick in my throat. As I would have said when I was growing up in Northern Ireland, they make me want to boke.
I know the etymology: web-log, b-log, blog. It makes perfect sense but it’s such a silly-sounding word that it seems to demean the process. I would be embarrassed to admit that I do it, just because it has such a stupid name.
And yet the call went out from the conference for more senior people to get blogging and that struck a chord that has been twanging — a little mutedly perhaps — at the back of my mind for a few months now. Not that I regard myself as so very senior. Yes, I am a professor and I’m serious about my science; but I’m still just shy of my mid-forties and like to think of myself as a young man. However, the truth of the matter is beginning to weigh on me; I now have to lift my eye-glasses to read the date on my watch, so I guess I have to face facts.
So here goes. I won’t promise to post regularly; that way I will avoid the repetition of future apologies for failing to write. I won’t promise to be unembarrassed to admit that I am a blogger. I won’t promise to have anything terribly insightful to say.
But I will share my experiences of science — such as they are and as frankly as I can — and look forward to engaging with the community on Nature Network. Indeed, I have already enjoyed that burgeoning sense of community these past few months while lurking in the background, only stepping forward now and then to comment. One of the real joys of the conference, as Dr Rohn and Dr Kushnir (among others) have remarked, was finally meeting in the flesh some of those people (OK, OK… bloggers) whom I’d only come to know from their online persona.
And you never know, perhaps one day I’ll get comfortable with the idea of… blogging. But even then, I’ll still loathe the phrase ‘Web 2.0’.