Blogging, Science Online, And ScienceOnline
“Find your voice, find your niche, find your community. And don’t forget why you got started.”
This powerful advice was the closing note of last week’s ScienceOnlineSeattle event on science blogging. ScienceOnlineSeattle is a monthly discussion series devoted to exploring all the ways in which the internet and social media are changing the nature of how we do and share science. February’s session was devoted to the art of blogging, and I was thrilled to moderate an outstanding panel of science and environment bloggers featuring Alan Boyle of Cosmic Log, Brendan DeMelle of DeSmogBlog, Sandra Porter of DigitalBio, and Adrienne Roehrich of Double X Science. Together we explored the hows and whys of the work involved in maintaining a successful blog. The conversation began with introductions and getting to know the people behind the personas, moved into the craft and mechanics of blogging, and ended on big picture questions. We shared resources, named favorites in the blogosphere, and discussed the challenges and what ultimately keeps us going through the tough spots. But it wasn’t just about the information the featured panelists had to share… ScienceOnline is so much more than just an event series—it’s a conversation and a community. This ethos drives the annual ScienceOnline conference, and is infused into the local ScienceOnlineX communities popping up around the country. It also is one of the reasons COMPASS has gotten involved with this community and events. Again: right people, right ideas, right time. In the ScienceOnline world, the audience is just as much part of the discussion as the official speakers. This month’s ScienceOnlineSeattle was a perfect example: in addition to the four panelists in the front of the room, more than half the people in the room also identified as science bloggers. We ranged from veterans (like Cliff Mass of Cliff Mass Weather Blog), to those working to reinvigorate dormant blogs and even to a few whose blogs are just days or weeks old. Some blog solo, others are contributors and editors of group blogs. We could have spent days discussing everything we would have liked to cover, which is why I am writing this post.
I suspect that many of you would have enjoyed and enriched the conversation so, in the spirit of COMPASS and ScienceOnline—connecting people and ideas—I wanted to share it with you in the hopes we can continue to discuss this topic both online and off. If you only have a few minutes: What is science blogging? • If you only read one thing: the definitive history and context of science blogging from the Blogfather himself Who is doing science and research blogging? • Your ultimate clearing house and discovery engine for science blogs and science news: www.ScienceSeeker.org • One stab at 100 top science blogs. Not complete but a reasonable starting point. How do we blog? • A wonderful SciCurious post for those who are just getting started (2017—link no longer available) • A perspective from PLOS blogs community manager Victoria Costello (2017—link no longer available) • An entire wiki by Christie Wilcox devoted to resources on how and why to use social media for science communication • A testimonial and more advice from Julio Peironcely, who says science blogging saved his PhD • Finally, an amusing but useful perennial favorite from Miriam Goldstein
If you have a little longer, read the Storify So… what did we miss? What deserves a closer look? I’ll update this post with your suggestions. COMPASS trainings include a social media component, and we are always refining it in response to your needs. When it comes to science blogging, are you a strong advocate, supportive but skeptical, or unconvinced? I hope you’ll use the comments to ask questions, share your own experiences, and join in. Liz Neeley worked at COMPASS from 2008-2015. This post was transferred from its original location at www.compassonline.org to www.COMPASSscicomm.org in 2017.