Why do I blog?

So, this “why do you blog> meme is apparently making the rounds here at Scienceblogs and elsewhere. Reading the other responses, I realized this is something I’ve discussed in interviews and with friends and others, but I can’t recall writing about here. So, in case anyone is interested in the whole sordid tale, I’ll put a bit about how and why I got into blogging after the jump.

After I graduated college, I moved back to Ohio for awhile. At this time, the Discovery Institute was just starting to ramp up their campaign to get “intelligent design” taught in schools there. Being only vaguely familiar with ID and not much better versed in other forms of creationism, I started to read everything I could on the topic, which led to a lot of internet sites. Sometimes I just lurked and read, other times I participated. Long story short, that eventually led to an invitation to write for the Panda’s Thumb, starting in early 2005, I believe. After blogging there exclusively for about 6 months, I realized I kept coming across a lot of stories and papers I’d like to write about, but they didn’t really fit into typical PT territory. So Evil Monkey nagged me into starting my own site on blogger, where I proceeded to ramble about, well, the general scope of topics I still do here.

So, why do it exactly? Like most people here, I really consider myself a nerd at heart. There’s so many interesting things going on in biology, microbiology, infectious disease, public health, etc., and many of them are things I wouldn’t necessarily get to write or talk about otherwise. Therefore, blogging gives me a platform to discuss these issues with people who are actually interested (as opposed to my poor long-suffering family, who know more about infectious disease than they ever wanted to. EVER). So, first and foremost, it’s a hobby. It entertains me, it’s a way to wind down. But second, it’s a way to relax that, potentially, has some use to other like-minded folk, so it’s also a bit of a round table discussion (or, sometimes, a bar room brawl, depending on the topic) and hopefully a public service. Third, I don’t think any blogger can honestly say that there’s not a bit of ego involved. Yes, I write for myself, covering topics that interest me. But I enjoy the discussion, and to have that discussion, people must first read what you write, and then respond to it. So the blog is also a way for me to get up on my soapbox and shout to the world about what is important to me–and occasionally, to have people listen and take action. Finally, and this is one I’d not really given much consideration to before I dipped my toe into the blogging world, but it’s been a good networking tool. I’ve met a lot of other bloggers in person, had a variety of scientists and journalists contact me because of the blog, and just gotten in contact with a host of interesting people that I’d probably not have met otherwise. It’s been a fun trip so far, I have to say…

Comments

  1. #1 Neha Puri
    April 6, 2007

    After reading what Tara, I must say that I relate myself to whatever she mentioned. I am very new to blogging. However as I was reading her entry, I could find all the reasons for which i stepped into it. Today i dont have much to say, however, I am sure that soon you will hear a lot more from my side. This surely is a very good platform for a novice like me.

  2. #2 Ottayan
    April 6, 2007

    I started blogging for the reason, that I came across so much information I wanted to save for my own use and also for others.

  3. #3 J-Dog
    April 6, 2007

    As a loyal, reader, we’re glad you did start to blog.

  4. #4 Tara C. Smith
    April 6, 2007

    I started blogging for the reason, that I came across so much information I wanted to save for my own use and also for others.

    That’s something I should have mentioned too. I’ve used several of the papers I’ve blogged here as examples in the class I teach on molecular epidemiology, and I’m also teaching a course this semester on infectious causes of chronic diseases (which you may note comprises an entire category here). I also lecture fairly regularly on influenza, so I keep up-to-date on the literature and news in that field as well. So yeah, it’s been very convenient for classroom examples and lecture preparation as well, though that wasn’t a reason going into it.

    (And thanks, J-Dog. /blush)

  5. #5 Scott
    April 10, 2007

    Well, here’s a big thank you! I lurk a lot, and it’s great to pick up the freebie information/education.