I'm so pleased to be participating in TWO Science Online sessions this year. I think both of them are really important questions for the online community, and I hope we'll do them justice!
For my first #scio13 session, on Thursday (eep! One week!), I'll be leading a discussion with the venerable Zen Faulkes on "Blogging for the Long Haul".
What does that mean? The science online ecosystem is constantly changing. There are mass movements (I sometimes think of the profusion of science blogging sites after PepsiGate as the Cambrian Explosion of the sci-blogsphere) and minor tweaks (people move to Twitter, they try G+, they give up on G+, and move back to Twitter). And as we and our blogs get older, shift platforms, and develop, who is saving the content? As many conversations move to twitter, how will they be saved for posterity?
But blogging (and indeed, social media as a whole) for the long haul is more than that. How do we keep going? How do we grow and stay out of a rut? What keeps us motivated? And we do, all of us, get seriously unmotivated, and wonder if we're in the twilight of the science blogsphere.
In the beginning, all is gold. You thrill to your first 10 hits, your first 100, your first 1000! You see your posts get recognized, get praise from someone you admire. You write something that everyone thinks is great! You're grinning for days.
But over time, like any drug, blogging tolerance sets in. Pretty soon you're used to getting 100 or 1000 hits per day. Maybe even 10,000 doesn't make you bat an eye. You're used to being the go to blogger for something. And sometimes, you feel stuck in a rut.
@miriamgoldste I feel like I've been running on fumes for the last year. Would have been nice to talk about issues other than "yay-blogging"— Andrew Thaler (@SFriedScientist) October 15, 2012
Maybe we are writers by profession, and social media is something we do on the side, the writing lab that only brings in minor pay. Or maybe we are scientists, social media is our outreach, our connection to others. Or maybe social media is what we get paid for. No matter what, it's hard to constantly feel fresh, and the barrage of the internet can make it hard to get worked up over anything after a while. It feels like everything's been said.
At times I’ve gotten so discouraged by the internet overload that I’ve felt like everything I have to say has been said, and that maybe I should hang the blogging gloves once and for all. Let’s see what it takes to get me inspired and on track. Have you ever been in a blogging/Twitter funk? What got you back into the rhythm of things?
You are not alone. We've all been stuck in paragraph two. Blogging is not all impassioned keyboard slamming or thoughtful #longreads, a lot of times, it's writer's block.
But it doesn't have to be that way.
Zen and I will be at Science Online (and on live stream! Follow along! Live tweet!) discussing our strategies, and asking for input. What keeps you going? What strategies do you use? And what do you think we all, as a community, need, to blog for the longhaul?