In my last post I hoped to move beyond the sorry state of women in science and discuss something more uplifting – my example being Bora Zivkovic’s latest ideas on what makes a good science blog. The gist of his post was that you should blog about what you have expertise in. As for what makes you an expert – it has to do with the areas you’ve been trained in, as well as those topics that are somewhat related to your specific research focus. However, claiming expertise in our own personal experience is not considered expertise because ‘it doesn’t educate, or inform’.
For example, I’m not trained in the topic of women in science. So anything I write about it (i.e. my previous post), is mere entertainment. I’d argue that this only applies if you’re talking solely about your own experience, and not putting it within a broader context. As a woman in science I have personal experience to relate, but I’ve also read widely in the field to better understand the context of gender inequities in science.
While all this expert talk percolated in the back of my mind, I ran across a post by Justine Musk about ‘Creating Your Blog Community‘. The part that jumped out at me in big bold print was that a blog needs to “create a singular focus for people to rally around”. This focus can be a “question you put out there for the community to investigate. The quest that you’ve embarked on together.” A few examples from Justine’s post & from the science community:
- What does it mean to be a ‘good man’ in today’s society? (Good Men Project)
- How can you live life on your own terms, a non-conformist in a conformist world? (The Art of Non-Conformity)
- What goes on in the everyday life of a geoscientist, and how can we use our training to understand the world? (Highly Allochthonous)
- What’s happening in the world of hydrology? (Hydro Logic)
Ultimately, the blog question and overriding quest has to be authentic to you, as this is what develops a blog ‘vibe’ that attracts a community. Without it, people sense only salesmanship and move on to something different.
The main thing I’ve been asking myself is: why would anyone want to read my blog? My interests include (but aren’t limited to!) hydrology, academia & academic culture, locavorism – including gardening and hunting, science writing, and nature & the outdoors. Many of these interests intersect, but posts that are too specific on any of these topics individually result in the blog losing focus. Plus – I’m not an expert in all these topics.
So the blog is going on hiatus while I try to define that key question, and come up with a quest we can all experience together. If you have any suggestions and/or insights I’m more than happy to consider them. The more ideas the better!