Sally Rockey Discusses two years of NIH blogging

Jan 17 2013 Published by under [Education&Careers]

Sally Rockey has been blogging at Rock Talk for two years and wrote a commentary about the experience that was published in Nature, yesterday. It's a good read and important insight into why blogging is so beneficial for government agencies.

I encourage others in science policy to go into blogging with their eyes open, recognizing the level of effort required to care for and maintain a blog. Potential bloggers should be aware of the long-term commitment needed to determine which issues are blog-worthy and of interest to the community. Rock Talk has sometimes covered topics that reveal NIH idiosyncrasies. But I think that is what makes the blog real and helps us to connect with the community.

As many readers will note, I've been on NSF about this for some time. One thing that Dr. Rockey mentions that might scare NSF away from blogging is the time and work involved, including that she has staff to help with the blog. Based on several conversations I've had with folks at NSF, I know this is unlikely to happen there. However, the incoming director of DEB, Alan Townsend, has an NSF blog in the works and I think that will pave the way for more. Whereas Rock Talk engages pretty much anyone applying to NIH, I think division-specific blogs at NSF will have a smaller (and less rabid?) audience that will be manageable for one person to handle. We'll find out soon enough.

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