Monday, November 17, 2008

Why do we blog?

Martin Fenner, asked some questions to science bloggers in Nature Networks that I think are interesting. Plus, the meme is going around my blogging neighbourhood so I thought I would join in as well:

1. What is your blog about?
It is mostly about science and technology with a particular focus on evolution, bioinformatics and the use of the web in science.

2. What will you never write about?
I will never blog about blog memes like this one. I tend to stay away from religion and politics but never is a very strong word.

3. Have you ever considered leaving science?
Does this mean academic research, research in general or science in general ? In any case no. I love problem solving and the freedom of academic research. The only thing I dislike about it is not being sure that I can keep doing this for as long as I wish.

4. What would you do instead?
If I could not do research I would probably try to work in scientific publishing. Doing research usually means that we have to focus on a very narrow field. Editors on the other hand are almost forced to broaden their scope and I think I would like this. I would also be interested in the use of new technologies in publishing.

5. What do you think will science blogging be like in 5 years?
Five years is a lot of time for the pace of technological development but not a long time for cultural change. I could be wrong but, if anything, there will be only a small increase in adoption of blogging as part of personal and group online presence along with the already existing web pages. I wish blogging (and other tools) would be use to further decentralize research agendas from physical location but I don't think that will happen in 5 years.

6. What is the most extraordinary thing that happened to you because of blogging?
I have gained a lot from blogging. The most concrete example was an invitation to attend SciFoo but there are many other things that are harder to evaluate. In some ways it is related to the benefits of attending conferences. It is useful because you get to interact with other scientists, exchange ideas, forces you to think through different perspectives, etc.

7. Did you write a blog post or comment you later regretted?
I probably did but I don't remember an example right now.

8. When did you first learn about science blogging?
As many other bioinformatic bloggers I started blogging in Nodalpoint, according to the archives in November 2001. I started this blog some two years after that.

9. What do your colleagues at work say about your blogging?
Not much really, I don't think many of them are aware of it. If any, the responses have been generally positive but I don't usually find many people interested in knowing more about blogging in science.