The Science Blog Meme

The meme started here, so if you decide to do it yourself, please post a link to that as well (so your post can be tracked).

A number of people have already posted their responses - some quite thought-provoking - so take your time to read them and reflect. Then write your own.

See responses by:

Eva Amsen
Henry Gee
Clare Dudman
Steffi Suhr
Stephen Curry
Martin Fenner
Massimo Pinto
Larry Moran
Kristi Vogel
Maxine Clarke
T. Ryan Gregory
Mike Haubrich
John Wilkins
Paulo Nuin
Heather Etchevers
Lee Turnpenny
Ricardo Vidal
Bob O'Hara
Andrew Perry
Pedro Beltrao
Shirley Wu
Deepak Singh
Thomas Soderqvist
Duncan Hull
Nils Reinton

Now, my responses:

1. What is your blog about?

I wish I knew! Everything and anything that strikes my interest: science, meta-science, politics, the Web, media, education, funny cartoons, cute animal pictures, etc. It used to be different - I had three blogs: one about politics, one about chronobiology, one about education. Now it is all mixed up.

2. What will you never write about?

About stuff people don't want to see publicized - personal gossip, for instance, or confidential information.

About various aspects of my own personal and family life, though "nobody cares what you had for breakfast" is not true - several of my blogfriends are food bloggers and they get excited if I eat something interesting, take a picture and post it on my blog.

About yet-to-be-published, embargoed papers that I routinely read as a part of my job.

3. Have you ever considered leaving science?

Leaving research - yes, I already did that. Leaving science - never. Being a scientist is a mindset, not a profession, so: once a scientist, always a scientist.

4. What would you do instead?

Sleep all day. I already do three science-related things that excite me: I work for PLoS, trying to revolutionize the world of publishing; I blog at scienceblogs.com, trying to make blogging respectable; and I teach BIO101 to adults, trying to change minds one person at a time. But I could have been a veterinarian, or a zookeeper, or an animal trainer in a circus, or a horse trainer, or a farmer, or an architect - too late to switch to any of those alternative career paths.

5. What do you think will science blogging be like in 5 years?

Five years is about a millennium in the Web world, so predictions at such long timescales are almost certain to be wrong. A blog is just a platform - a piece of software. A science blog is whatever the author wants it to be (there is no one true way to be a science blogger). So, scientists and people interested in science will use the platform (or something like it) in the future, but exactly how - nobody can predict. A lot of the original use for blogs - the linkfests and brief communication - has now moved to services like Twitter and FriendFeed, but the blog will remain important for longer, more thoughtful pieces that cannot be reduced to 140 characters.

6. What is the most extraordinary thing that happened to you because of blogging?

Lots and lots of good things - meeting and befriending a lot of interesting people; getting invited to SciFoo, to Science FEST in Trieste and some other cool meetings; getting a job with PLoS in the comments of one of my posts; organizing 3 science blogging conferences and editing 3 science blogging anthologies (and getting media interviews about them), etc.

7. Did you write a blog post or comment you later regretted?

Thousands! My posts are clogging the intertubes and will eventually cause a global Internet heart attack! But joking aside, yes, especially early on when I wrote mostly about politics and got into heated arguments with other people - that was a waste of time more than anything else. Also, try googling my name - it is all over the internets, so I will never get a job with the Obama administration ;-)

8. When did you first learn about science blogging?

I was already blogging about politics first. Some aspects of politics are related to science, e.g, science policy, climate change, creationists' shenanigans, etc. So that is how I bumped into Chris Mooney's Intersection. At the time, there were very few science blogs in existence, and all ten of them were on Chris' blogroll, including Deltoid, Pharyngula, Panda's Thumb, Cosmic Variance, Bad Astronomy, etc. I went from there....started 'Circadiana' and the rest is history.

9. What do your colleagues at work say about your blogging?

At PLoS - that's what they are paying me for and I hope they are happy.

At Seed - that's what they are paying me for and I hope they are happy.

Where I teach - occasionally a student discovers my blog before the course is over, usually with a positive attitude. I also use blogging software as a teaching tool there.

People in my old department - What is a blog? Why would anyone read one person's writings? (ask Shakespeare that question next time).

10. Extra credit: are you able to write an entry to your blog that takes the form of a poem about your research?

No!

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Bora, thanks for your answers and for spreading the word. I would be interested in your answer to question 10a that was added later:

10a. How the heck do you have time to blog and do research at the same time?

Or in your case, how do you find the time to write so many blog posts?

If you look carefully, most of my posts are "on automatic pilot" - quotes, picks from ScienceDaily, picks from PLoS, links to carnivals.... things that take seconds to do. I have time for only 2-3 longer posts per week, similar to many other bloggers.

what has been the most fascinating thing that you heave learned or witnessed during all your years in the world of science?
-jack

By arc fault breaker (not verified) on 25 Nov 2008 #permalink