How to be a successful academic – Blog

The articles and video that were assigned for GEDI F18 Week 1, delivered the message that I should focus more time on building my digital presence via blogging. According to Seth Godin and Tom Peters (Inside the Entrepreneurial Mind), blogging is a free platform that can help an individual (or perhaps an organization) network and learn to effectively communicate with their audience. Agreed. However, I’m not sold on the idea of networking via The Internet. Is it really necessary that my peers know and follow my thoughts?

I’ve never been much of a blogger, or blog follower, for that matter. I was required to blog in PFP (GRAD 5104) and though my response was to fear and resist, I did feel a sense of satisfaction when I received positive feedback from my peers. That being said, outside of class I am still hesitant to post my thoughts to The Internet for public viewing. (I prefer reposting other people’s thoughts or educational content. That’s still a form of blogging, right?)

My level of blog knowledge is admittedly archaic. I am still under the impression that blogs are where people share stories about their lives (mainly their cats, see image below), or share details about their most-recent cooking/baking accomplishments… My wife just informed me that Twitter is a form of blogging. (She is all about her digital presence, thanks to GEDI.)

Twitter user profile picture of iAmMoshow - The Cat Rapper
Image taken from Twitter to demonstrate a form of blogging. @iammoshow

I didn’t realize that the websites for some organizations can be considered professional blogs. A quick Google search of “Science blogs,” directed me to a list created by www.atascientific.com of the “14 Science Blogs Everyone Should Read.” From there I started reading to find out what I was missing. I found that many of the blogs were similar to news websites, i.e., different categories for different posts (e.g., read these 10,000 articles related to Health and Medicine that includes multiple articles per day). I could have spent hours clicking through one category. Where should I begin and where does it end? It was overwhelming (and not in the ‘this is awesome’ sort of way). Some were more traditional, one post per day on a particular topic. But then still, should I check the archives or do I start reading the post from today? If today is the only day that matters then what is the point? (This post is turning into an unending rant so I’m going to wrap it up.) I think I would be more willing to blog if I enjoyed following other people’s blogs. I enjoy reading stories when I happen upon them but I wouldn’t say I follow any particular blog.

In the end, the readings did give me a greater appreciation for blogs. I never considered blogs to be, as Tim Hitchcock explains, “a form of publication” or a means to improve a person’s writing into a form that is “more engaging, simply written, and to the point.” Writing a blog does require a significant amount of thought, planning, and time. For those who enjoy blogging, whether for the intent of networking or simply to write down your thoughts (or share pictures of your cats), kudos to you!

Quote that I found valuable from ATA Scientific Instruments on science related blogs:

“A quick search in Google, and you can generally find whatever information you need. But sometimes the mass and diversity of material on the Internet can be overwhelming. Blogs are a valuable resource that can give analytical insights into the people, inventions and discoveries driving scientific innovation. Macro or micro, the blogs in this list engage in discussions and topics that will continue to evolve and change throughout history. Up-to-date and topical science blogs are the future for scientific research, education and outreach, a future which is being built by the blogs mentioned above.”

14 Replies to “How to be a successful academic – Blog”

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  2. I’ve never been much of a blogger, or blog follower, for that matter. I was required to blog in PFP (GRAD 5104) and though my response was to fear and resist, I did feel a sense of satisfaction when I received positive feedback from my peers. That being said, outside of class I am still hesitant to post my thoughts to The Internet for public viewing. (I prefer reposting other people’s thoughts or educational content. That’s still a form of blogging, right?)

    My level of blog knowledge is admitte

  3. Godin and Tom Peters (Inside the Entrepreneurial Mind), blogging is a free platform that can help an individual (or perhaps an organization) network and learn to effectively communicate with their audience. Agreed. However, I’m not sold on the idea of networking via The Internet. Is it really necessary that my peers know and follow my thoughts?

    I’ve never been much of a blogger, or blog follower, for that matter. I was required to blog in PFP (GRAD 5104) and though my response was to fear and resist, I did feel a sense of satisf

  4. e platform that can help an individual (or perhaps an organization) network and learn to effectively communicate with their audience. Agreed. However, I’m not sold on the idea of networking via The Internet. Is it really necessary that my peers know and follow my thoughts?

    I’ve never been much of a blogger, or blog follower, for that matter. I was required to blog in PFP (GRAD 5104) and though my response was to fear and resist, I did feel a sense of satisfaction when I received positive feedback from my peers. That being said, outside of class I am still hesitant to post my thoughts to The Internet for public viewing. (I prefer reposting other people’s thoughts or educational content. That’s still a form of blogging, right?)

    My level of blog knowledge is admittedly archaic. I am

  5. I 100% understand your hesitation to blogging…I have had the same hesitation until this point (and still have a little bit of it but am going to try to push through it). Stepping into such a complex and never-ending online community is super overwhelming, but the way I have tried to think about it is that although there is an enormous amount of information there I can choose to engage with as little or as much of it as I want to. If I only want to read 1 blog post a day I can. If I want to go a week without looking at others’ blogs I can. If I want to start with baby steps and focus on my blog and engaging with those who respond to me before stepping out more I can. If I want to spend all day reading, blogging, and commenting I can. That engagement can look however you want it to look!

  6. My mental image of a group of scientist bloggers is more like a local community of people who more or less know each other and have a basic appreciation for their peer’s judgements. They may not agree on every issue and that is what strikes up conversations between them. In this sense, instead of tapping into an endless stream of articles, blogging feels more like having a slow, well-thought conversation with a friend. It is more on the side of sharing ideas with a colleague than disseminating information to the entire world.

  7. Plus one for Radiolab! And I do understand and respect your reservations about blogging. We use blogging in this class to support asynchronous discussions and deeper engagement than we could ever manage in a F2F setting. Reading and responding to each other’s work gives us the chance to pursue particular issues and sustain a dialogue in ways that most people find much more gratifying than simply turning in “response papers” to the teacher.
    But I don’t think anyone should feel compelled to blog as part of the professional persona if it doesn’t work for them. Lots of scholars do find it and other social networking platforms to be incredibly useful and rewarding — in part as an antidote to the “I’m drowning in the internet, information overflow” feeling. Like other social networks, blogging communities filter forward high value and timely information to their followers / users, and they give more informal writing a platform and audience.
    And yes, there are still lots of cats out there….

    • Hey Professor Nelson, Thank you for the thoughtful comment. I feel like I have already learned a lot about digital learning through reading my classmate’s blogs and participating in tonight’s class discussion. I still think navigating the Internet of blogs is overwhelming but some of the feedback I received suggested that I start small and build up. I’ll definitely have to check out Radiolab. In addition, a classmate’s post got me thinking that blogging could be very useful in general chemistry labs to improve student understanding and scientific writing. I am not teaching this semester but I’m going to discuss this with one of the new chemistry for non-majors instructors to see what he thinks.

  8. Hi Kristen,
    I really enjoyed your post and I can relate to your hesitation to blogging and publicizing your research through an internet presence. I like the Tim Hitchcock quote you incorporated! Although I am a doctoral student in Rhetoric & Writing, I love science journalism (like Undark) and podcasts (like Radiolab)! I like the link you included about science blogs and will have to check those out!

    • Hey Savannah, I’ve heard of Radiolab but I’ve never heard of Undark. I’ll have to check them out. Thanks!

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