As we near the end of the semester and, for some of us, the last of our blogging activity, I thought I would share an Advice column from The Chronicle of Higher Education by David Perry, “3 Rules for Academic Blogging.” The first rule is to select the appropriate blogging platform that can handle the volume of posts an individual writes or, alternatively, offers various design options to create an aesthetically-pleasing professional website. Incidentally, Perry suggests WordPress, which most of us in class already use. The second rule is to “write whatever you want.” I agree that blogs are a suitable space to share honest commentary and opinions, but I also think that the trend towards “no filter” on social media, blogs, public comments, and websites is not always optimal. The ease with which we can share our thoughts, at the press of a button, can also lead to rash and belligerent remarks before we really have the chance to take a step back and give a rational response as opposed to an emotional one. Not convinced? Read any public comments section of news articles, YouTube videos, etc. Perry also talks about how some of his favorite blogs to follow are academic and related to the discipline of the author. Such academic blogs allow professors, researchers, or graduate students to focus on the delivery of their message to a broad audience rather than on the content of the work itself. This variety of “informal[,] self-published writing” offers a different avenue for sharing research and recent developments than traditional academic circles, like scholarly journals and conferences. This point reminded me of our class about communicating science. Later that week, I wrote a journal entry about how, in my opinion, we can improve our ability to communicate science by, first and foremost, practicing communication, of any kind! As Perry mentions, blogging can be an excellent way to share ideas with colleagues but also engage the public in the work. The last rule is to “write for the sake of writing.” Perry admits that the so-called “Golden Age of Blogging” is past, having occurred in the early 2000s, while Twitter and other social media are now the mouthpieces of choice. Therefore, Perry does not suggest starting a blog unless one actually wants to, since dedicated readers will be hard to recruit now that the blogging heyday is over. He goes on to admit that blogs primarily “preach to choirs” and “convert the already converted,” in that the people that read a blog probably seek it out because they already like or agree with what it has to say. I think there is a term for this practice that I am trying to remember from an Environmental Policy course, but I am coming up short. Does anybody know what I am talking about? For example, people that watch Fox News (or any other news source) go to this media outlet because they know that it will reinforce opinions they already possess. I think that this observation that blogs rarely bring about change, so to speak, is somewhat valid. So, for example, little is usually gained by irate comments found below news articles; yelling at someone from the safety of an anonymous public comment hardly ever causes the recipients to realize the error of their ways. However, blogs and social media can also build awareness and inform the public, little by little, to one day induce small changes. In any case, Perry states that the real benefit of blogging is to regularly practice writing, kind of like a modern-day, digital version of a journal or diary. I am not sure if I will continue blogging after it is no longer a class requirement, but I certainly see the advantages of this platform to build a discipline of writing and communicating coherently with the world outside of our normal social or academic confines.