Why don't you blog?

Jul 05 2011 Published by under [Et Al]

There are a decent number of you out there reading this blog and I'm nearly certain that none of you are faithful to this site alone. Most probably have a list of blogs they monitor via a reader or just through links. If you've invested that kind of time reading what the bloggosphere has to offer, I'm guessing that the thought may have crossed your mind: "I could totally do this!"

So my question today is "why don't you give it a try?" Actually, that's just one of my questions, but I'm interested in hearing from those of you who haunt these corners of the interwebs as readers or commenters. Think of this as an invitation to delurk, but also to explain your motivation for coming back. It's not quite the Who are you meme, but I am looking to hear from those who rarely make their voices heard.

1) What is your career stage?

2) Why do you read blogs, and specifically this one?

3) Why have you not started a blog yourself (with the only rule being you can't blame "time", because you're already reading. Writing doesn't take much more time than you already spend, so stop using that as an excuse. This post took me 5 minutes)?

So what say you, peeps?

32 responses so far

  • FSGrad says:

    1. PhD student
    2. Both to kill time and more importantly to learn about the bits of academia that they don't tell you in school. I read yours specifically because I like the content and the style.
    3. I don't think I have anything relevant to add and I don't feel like getting ripped to shreds on a daily basis. Pretty much the same reasons I don't comment often on anything I read.

    That said, I do have a blog, of the staying-in-touch-with-friends-while-traveling variety. It's been inactive since my thesis ate my time to go traveling to cool places and write about them.

  • Mokele says:

    1) PhD candidate

    2) Various - some blogs I read for science info (Tetrapod Zoology), others for social or political commentary (PZ, Shakesville), still others for insights into careers in academic science (this blog, a few others).

    3) The same reason I don't draw or play guitar - while I'd like to in an abstract sense, I just plain don't care enough to invest the time and energy.

    I will, if I'm being honest, cop to some fears. First and simplest, that I'd pour effort and caring into it and get 1 comment a month. Second, and more salient, I can be...harsh...when addressing science or views I find flawed or without merit. While I usually coat any venom in a pill of professionalism, I'm not sure I could resist the temptation to let those defenses drop in exchange for more readers.

  • Pharm Sci Grad says:

    1) PhD student (counting the weeks instead of the years now!)
    2) I read to learn - too much perspective from any one place (such as PhD U) can skew one's perspective - also it lets me hear from people in lots of different areas of science which is quite cool. I also read to decompress, to laugh, to commiserate at the end of the day - it helps me feel not so alone too.
    3) Besides an obsessive need to proofread anything I write (yet still finding errors with it that drive me crazy)? No catalyst, or a high activation energy I suppose. In all seriousness though, reading is easy, reading is fun - writing doesn't seem like it'd be that way. I don't want to blog my science - I really prefer pseudonymity - but I don't know what I have to contribute (or have as a focus) as far as blogging as a scientist/student/post-doc that would add something unique to the blogosphere. I guess I am more aware than ever how much I just don't know about, well, anything... so it seems kind of *eh* to set up a venue to "open my mouth and remove all doubt."

    No real good answer to question three, which is interesting. I'll have to think on that some more. 🙂

  • Kate says:

    1. Left science and engineering and taught, left teaching, and now volunteer teaching science.
    Torn between really retiring and going back to school and picking up another degree.

    2. Because education isn't a goal, it's a lifestyle, and I learn new things every day reading blogs.

    3. I do blog. I have two blogs, although I don't blog as much science as I'd like to any more... I do blog a little science at The Radula. Mostly it's a mishmash of things. I also have a second blog where I blog primarily about health and fitness issues.

    On the Radula I'm no longer blogging every day, but on my OTHER blog I do. Mostly that's because blogging about travel, science, politics and culture takes a little more thought than I put into "Hey, Stepped on the scale today and was down 2 lbs. All that cardio is paying off!"

  • OgreMkV says:

    1) Science Content Specialist with Pearson working for the State of Arizona and GED Testing Services for the development of high stakes standardized science tests.

    2) One to learn things. I would rather get my information from blogs than from news shows or newspapers. Blogs are (if you read the right ones) much more aware of stating both sides of the story and generally have many, many links for additional information. I also read the science blogs (esp. Starts with a Bang, Class M, and others) for interesting science stories. There are others that I read for more professional needs (any that are affiliated with ResearchBlogging, for example).

    3) I have one. It's not in a group like this, so my traffic isn't very much, just a few hundred per day, but that's because I have a large variety of random things on my blog.

  • 1) Career?

    2) Distraction, learning, news

    3) I've started a couple blogs but have never been able to keep them going past a month or two. I never have enough for a blog post. Twitter is much more my style.

  • Dr Becca says:

    my traffic isn't very much, just a few hundred per day, but that's because I have a large variety of random things on my blog.

    My traffic is a few hundred on a good day, and I AM in a group like this! This group, in fact.

    *weeps quietly in the corner*

  • Confounding says:

    1) What is your career stage? PhD student.

    2) Why do you read blogs, and specifically this one? Work related entertainment? Discussions about the nature of science, and academia, that don't exactly get discussed frequently and openly, and where a variety of perspectives is valuable.

    3) Why have you not started a blog yourself (with the only rule being you can't blame "time", because you're already reading. Writing doesn't take much more time than you already spend, so stop using that as an excuse. This post took me 5 minutes)? I do. See the link :). So an extension, "Why don't I blog more often?" is a matter of traffic. 5 minutes or 50, more often than not it feels like I'm talking to an empty room.

    On the best days, that's merely disheartening. On the worst, it feels absurdly self-indulgent.

  • Asst. Engineering Prof. says:

    1. I am an assistant professor of engineering.

    2. I work at a military academy. There are very few other civilian assistant professors on the tenure track where I work. I enjoy reading blogs so that I can see what other people are going through, whether they are experiencing the same things that I am going through. It is nice sometimes to see that I am not the only one going through some of the trials and tribulations of classes and research.

    3. I used to blog, but I found that when I started working for my current employer that I could not blog and be anonymous. The unique environment that I work in would not allow me to post a lot of what I go through and stay anonymous. I sincerely doubt that my employer would take kindly to me blogging some of the things that have happened to me. I do wish that I could blog sometimes. I found that being part of a group and being anle to share my experiences and sometimes vent was very helpful.

  • Clare Hooper says:

    1) Very early-career postdoc (6 months into my first position, passed my doctorate but waiting for the graduation ceremony!).

    2) Enrichment, learning, curiosity, entertainment.

    3) I have 🙂 Though I find it much easier to doss an idea into 'drafts' than to post it... but am trying to blog about mostly work-related things on clarehooper.wordpress.com.

    Only started reading last week, my next-door neighbour (another female engineer) pointed me your way. Enjoying very much. Thank you!

  • StJason says:

    1) After massive defeat, working on second bachelors.

    2) I am interested in all sorts of fields, and something you have done must have been enough to draw my attention. I admit that I usually read through the RSS feed, so probably don't add much to your traffic.

    3) I have attempted to blog before, and it quickly crashes and burns. I am neither interesting nor brilliant enough to run a shopping cart, much less a blog. At this point in life I figure that I am doing the world a favor by reducing the amount of my opinions on the internet.

  • JGB says:

    1. Ex grad student, now teacher. Hoping in the near future to find a way to do volunteer research (despite not completing my PhD, I have accumulated a modest pile of publications). Know anyone interested?

    2. I follow blogs as a way to stay reasonably current across many fields, as I've ended up a with a nice variety of classes to teach. And of course science is awesome and fun.

    3. I have a couple of reasons. I did some writing on the internet in the pre-Blog era, and it was in fact a distraction from the work I should have been doing in grad school. I'm just as busy now in my current role. The second reason has to do with maintaining anonymity in my professional role

  • You're Pfizered says:

    1. Masters degree in organic chemistry, pharmaceutical researcher (medicinal chemistry) for the last 17 years.

    2. Misery loves company. It seems that academics and industrial folks all have issues to deal with. Education and entertainment, mainly.

    3. I do have a blog for my other passion, military history and war-gaming. With two toddlers I prefer to spend my free time reading rather than writing right now...

  • outoftune24601 says:

    1) PhD student

    2) I first started reading blogs like yours to find out what to expect when I was considering grad school. I continued for the combination of entertainment, distraction, ideas, and behind-the-scene "things your supervisor won't/can't tell you in person" perspective.

    3) One, I feel like I'd run out of things to blog about pretty quickly. Two, I'm not sure where I'd fall on the "anonymous-but-honest" vs "known-but-very-careful" spectrum, and either way, it'd be tricky.

  • Bashir says:

    1. postdoc
    2. the usual reasons, killing time, commiserating, etc.
    3. I do have one now, one thing that held me back was concerns regarding anonymity.

  • cookingwithsolvents says:

    1) asst. prof (1st year anniversary mid-July!)

    2)I started reading blogs for career advice. They have helped me immensely. Blogs continue to be fun to poke at but my reading has dropped precipitously this year (vide supra).

    3)Time is a cop-out? How about energy? I have applied for somewhere in the neighborhood of 8 grants this year with three in the coming two months and a fourth due october(?) in addition to setting up my laboratories and getting research rolling (and a move coming in the beginning of Aug!). I'm happy to say that results are starting to pour in and I've been outlining our first paper. However, my writing brain parts are often too tired to compose anything meaningful. I do have a blog somewhere with two or three posts that I wrote during my postdoc. Maybe someday I'll venture back into blogging but for now I'm content to participate via comments.

    I'm also | |<---this much concerned about the lines between psued0anonmymity, the internet, etc etc.

  • odyssey says:

    my traffic isn't very much, just a few hundred per day, but that's because I have a large variety of random things on my blog.

    My traffic is a few hundred on a good day, and I AM in a group like this! This group, in fact.

    Ditto.... 🙁

  • hahah! my traffic doesn't even HIT the 100 mark on a Good day !!!! oh so depressing....why do I still keep it up - well randomly keep it up???

  • studyzone says:

    1. postdoc looking for a tenure-track position.

    2. To see how others handle the postdoc-to-faculty transition, learn others' perspectives interesting research/ethical/social issues; learn about new links/resources/articles that I may have missed.

    3. No one would be interested in anything I have to say. Besides, I think I'd rely too much on blogging as a cheap form of therapy, and who wants to read that?

  • Natalie says:

    1. Lab tech/manager in academia with a touch of industry
    2. I like the snark, the feminism & the geekiness sprinkled throughout all the blogs I read
    3. Blogging for me is equal parts self-medication, rant-space and music venue. I hardly ever link my sig because, as studyzone pointed out, "who wants to read that?" I also don't guard my anonymity very well on the blog (one well-phrased search is all anyone would need) so I keep the link for my friends & family mostly.

  • Reyna says:

    1. Asst Prof, at the end of year 2.

    2. I started science reading blogs during the TT job hunt to learn about the process. I still find them beneficial, if only to know that others on the TT have similar experiences.

    3. I couldn't maintain anonymity and talk about anything interesting. Combine my field (not even my specialty), stage of career, that I'm female and a minority and you pretty much know who I am.

  • chkuo says:

    1. Started my TT job a year ago.
    2. Too many reasons to list about reading blogs in general. For this one, I'm curious about how other people handle the day-to-day life on a TT job. Bonus reason: I see myself as an evolutionary biologist as well. 🙂
    3. I do keep a personal blog but I don't write about my work too much. Writing actually takes a lot more energy than reading so time is definitely an issue. Plus, most things at work that I would care to write are not appropriate to make them public (and I'm too lazy to maintain a separate, anonymous blog to write about work).

    Anyway, thanks for maintaing this blog. I really enjoy it.

  • yvr_fca_osl says:

    1) About to start my 3rd year in a research-oriented TT job, in philosophy of science.

    2) It's amazing how many talented writers are out saying interesting things about stuff of mutual interest, in bite-size reading chunks. This blog is helpful to see how someone in the sciences is advancing through career stages as opposed to me in a science-leaning humanities field.

    3) I really just don't have anything to say to a bunch of unknown people on a regular basis, even though I love the communities of commenters that develop at many blogs I read. I don't enjoy a lot of conversation in general, and thinking about writing blog posts feels in my tummy like thinking about how to keep a mildly boring conversation going. I am not impressed with my own skills at this and expect no one else to be, either.

  • pyrope says:

    1) Asst. prof (beginning year 2)
    2) I need more of a mid-day break than the 2 seconds it takes to check the baseball scores
    3) I don't buy your 5 minutes - at least, not for me. I base this on the ridiculous amount of time it often takes me to compose emails.

  • proflikesubstance says:

    I find the idea that people don't have anything interesting to say, an intriguing one. Particularly in light of that fact that most profess to be interested in seeing how others go through the process. You might notice that most of the time I'm just telling you what I am going through - and people find that interesting. I think.

    As far as the time goes, I rarely spend long on a post and almost never proof them. This is the reason my posts have more spelling errors than a hand-written 8th grade English essay. It's probably also why a lot of this stuff comes off half baked, but meh. I figure most people don't have the time or inclination to read long posts anyway.

  • chall says:

    1) early stage manager in industry? (I have no idea on how to place myself... although I've realised that I might be less junior than I think, it's all relative of course)

    2) I started reading this one when I was still thinking about going TT. Like it a lot and keep reading it even after going into industry after my post doc. Most blogs I read can be devided into science/politics/life choices coupled with sciency things .... And I like reading people's thoughts and ideas, not to mention what happens on the TT/industry/career ladder.

    3) I do have a blog, although not posting as regular as I used to do. I've realised that it's more or less "what ever I feel like writing about" and that it might be too much emotions rather than science - but it turned that vague since I was trying to keep it anonymous. Now, I guess it's more a psuedo but I still end up ranting about work enviornment/science/some politicvs[feminism] and lots of emotions ^^

    As for hits, if I get 100 on a good day I'm extatic! I mostly have like 40 ppl a day or something in that order anyway?! That said, I probably should go back to posting more regulariry and maybe ppl will find it more interesting to read?

  • gerty-z says:

    Add my +1 to Dr. Becca and Odyssey wrt the traffic I get "at a place like this"


  • Assistant professor at a SLAC, with my own infrequently updated blog.

    I have to disagree with your premise that writing a blog takes no more time than reading one. I read very quickly but type very slowly, plus I do my reading while eating lunch, and while writing requires two hands, reading requires only one (and that's only to scroll down or move between posts).

    Also. I find that I don't have enough material every day that I expect to be of interest to anyone other than myself.

  • Nameless says:

    I'm finishing my MS and moving to a different school for my PhD.

    I got into reading blogs as a way to really understand how to go about applying to PhD programs last fall. I started on TheGradCafe, then found Female Science Professor, then slowly made my way into the wider world of science blogs and science twitterers. I particularly like reading about the trials and tribulations of academic life as a newbie and someone who is going to have to make the decision to go for academia or to focus on developing skills useful for industry in the next couple of years. Your blog fits into that category.

    Why don't I blog? Because I haven't started yet mostly. In order to start, I will need to research the best blog hosting site for my needs, choose a blog name, choose a blogosphere pseudonym or decide to go with my real name, and then actually start writing content. I think I should do it: I just went through the process of applying, interviewing, and committing to a graduate program, and am now in the process of moving across the country for that program. I will be dealing with the first year of graduate school part 2, with a wider perspective on it than someone who only attended a single graduate school working under a single advisor. Just as I look up to those who have made it/are making it through the path that I very well may choose, I'm sure there are plenty of people behind me on a similar path who would like to hear my story. But, seeing as I really should be working on my thesis revisions right now... I'll put of those decisions until another day.

  • Morgan Price says:

    Reading about science and life in science is fun. Writing feels like work. (I'm a research scientist at a national lab.)

  • Nommee says:

    I know I'm late to this party.

    I'm finishing a B. Mathematics (one subject to go!). I'm making plans for a Masters degree next year, but unsure of what field - I'm interested in diverse areas, such as Biology, Cryptography, Linguistics, or Gender Studies.

    I have been thinking about this question a lot recently. I am a massive science nerd, an atheist, a feminist, and I feel like I've got something to say about all of these. I don't blog because I feel like someone else is saying it all, and saying it better than I could. Although I am a nerd on lots of topics, I'm certainly not an expert.

    Anonymity is also a key issue for me, in a world where Google sees all.

  • I'm a regular lurker. Your question has been nagging at me for a while now, and the answer is that there is no good reason for me not to blog. So as of yesterday, I do.

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