As you may have noticed, I chose WordPress as a website management system when I looked at upgrading my website. This is my real “Hello World” post!
One of the biggest reasons why I chose WordPress when upgrading my website was the ease of use. The easier it is for me to put content on a website, the more I’ll update. Updating has many benefits, so I primarily sought for this.
The idea of using blog posts came up as I searched for website management systems, and I saw a few of my peers using it on their websites.
However, one of the more discouraging things about using blogs was the association the word has. I didn’t want to post personal entries, observations, or opinions. It’s not appropriate to have these things in a professional website, but these things seem to be associated with the word “blog”. I want to post information that other people may use, or inspire others to new ideas, and do it in a way that’s easy for me to use.
Here’s the reasons that encouraged me to make articles, and why you should too:
- Web Presence. Having a web presence adds to your overall presence into a community, whether scientific, technical, or otherwise. It’s still a good thing.
- Visibility. The more you write, the more likely you’ll be visited. More posts can increase your page rank, and give search bots more data to categorize your website, making it more likely for your website to come up given a search term.
- Contributing to a Community. Surely there are contributions to a scientific community that aren’t conference or journal entries. I can’t tell you how many times my projects were saved to just one blog post about a bug fix or one tutorial on how to use a technology.
- Improvement in Writing. I would like to improve my communication skills, and in a technical field like mine, it’s especially crucial to learn to write well. Generally technical or scientific fields don’t receive ongoing technical writing courses. The best advice I have been given to improve is to write often.
Here are some examples of what I have seen my peers use it, and how I would like to use it. Please get some ideas and let me know if there are other examples to add:
- Tutorials to using some technology. Sure, there may be other tutorials out there, but you may show something different that someone else may deem essential.
- Experiences relevant to scientific ideas(ideas inspired by everyday life), processes(applying to college/grad school/industry or academic position, etc)
- Reviews of products, books, technologies
Let me know of other ideas to add to this list.
Anamary, welcome to the blogosphere! I agree completely with your four bullet points. Even if you don’t get a large turnout in your “comments” section (I sure don’t!), I think it is nice to provide online browsers (potentially those looking to hire) a more digestible feed into your daily concerns, your developing professional thinking, and a glimpse into your personality. Research papers are fairly heavy-weight and require downloading, but the Blog is just one click away!
Now, I think I may disagree with you about what _does not_ belong on a professional blog. Because blogs are not published, peer-reviewed scientific findings, I think you have a bit of flexibility with your formatting (a chance to show some creativity) and with your claims (a chance to throw out new, untested ideas). As when you are giving a talk at a conference, blog posts provide a space for speculative suggestion and can allow you to get rapid feedback from your peers. Who knows, threads that start out as ill-defined blog posts may eventually end up in a more refined argument in a published paper (I’ve seen it happen)! The only problem I see with respect to blogs is that they are generally archival, and you may later be embarrassed about some of your past posts with half-baked ideas. But, I think the risk is worth it, and I think readers are generally understanding of the lowered benchmark for quality that comes with the medium.
Of course, whatever you decide, I am happy you are here, and I am looking forward to more posts!
Interesting, it sounds like you’re using blogs as not only a way to post more developed ideas, but you’re proposing using it for infantile ideas too, such as that in an idea notebook, or as part of a brainstorm for further input. What do you think about other people evolving these infantile ideas, and somewhat stealing your ideas to publish something? Or is that a risk that a blogger takes in general? I was thinking of putting up ideas and thoughts of fields that I wasn’t planning on getting into anytime soon, but maybe I should post some more ideas on my current work as well. What are your thoughts?