On Student Bloggery

Blogging for Cats

So easy a cat can do it! - Image by Vicki's Pics via Flickr

I’m a student blogger – that is to say an undergraduate student blogger – and undergraduates as we all know are lazy, underacheiving, skivers…. or at least that is the impression you would get if you talk to most adults in the UK, my dad included, and read too many newspapers (sadly about the only thing red-tops and the telegraph agree on).

Obviously I would beg to differ, given that I maintain this blog, a personal website, write for my secondary school alumni newspaper, work within my students union and on my degree. That said of course I would be willing to be proven wrong, and given some of the activities I have witnessed at university I can see that not being too difficult.

Anywho, as per usual I’m going completely tangentially to what I am intending to discuss; As we are approaching the beginning of a new academic year, with a new cohort of freshers approaching the ominous and exciting institutions of the nation’s universities, I’m going to make this call:

We (and by that I mean the web) need more of you students to come on into the blogosphere! It’s great fun, easy to get involved in, and provides you with one more way of improving your writing skills before those all important essays.

A level and GCSE 2008 results - photo 17

A-Level Results Day - Image by hammersmithandfulham via Flickr

I’m not going to tell you what to blog about, that’s your decision, and far be it from me to tell you how to do it, but there are a plethora of stories to be told, opinions to be heard and conversations to be had. These days everyone can have an online presence and whilst not every opinion is equally valid, the discussions brought up by those opinions can be enlightening, educating and fascinating!

Anywho, moving on somewhat; this blog is my personal online space where I get to vent my opinions on politics, science and all-sorts of other things, with the recent events in the science blogging community i’ve been considering moving all my future “more scientific” content to a dedicated science blog over at science3point0 which would not contain the somewhat more controversial topics that I have been known to cover here, what do you think? is it worth me separating the less personal content on this blog and relocating?

Ben Brooks

Short Link for this Post: http://wp.me/pFUij-6d

P.S.: I’ve used Zemanta for this post, I’m still a bit sceptical about whether is is an advantagous tool or just a tool for the lazy of blogging.

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10 thoughts on “On Student Bloggery

  1. Jason Goldman

    FWIW, I like a good mix of science and personal. Helps the reader get to know the man behind the mirror, so to speak.

    At the end of the day though, I suppose it depends on what your goals are with respect to your blogging (and obviously, those goals may change) – if it is a “personal online space where [you] get to vent [your] opinions on politics, science and all-sorts of other things” then I’d say leave it all together. If you want to be more serious with some portion of it – say if you want to really work on the craft of your science writing and create a body of work – then that might be a different story.

    Reply
    1. Benjamin Brooks Post author

      Hi Jason,
      Thanks for commenting, the main reason I suppose for my query over splitting content is twofold, Firstly I wish to do a better job of my science writing, and I feel a more “serious” and apolitical environment may be more conducive to that. Secondly I’ve recently started a fortnightly palaeontology based Lay-News programme on YouTube, and I’d like to be able to back it up with a “prose write up” if you will because my on screen self is far less eloquent.
      Like you I do like to have some personality when I am reading someone’s blog, but at the same time I would rather not compromise the serious science with my right of centre politics and overt atheism (unless relevant to the topic at hand).
      Ben

      Reply
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  4. Sam W

    A British science blogging undergrad? I am amazed. I’m one of them too though I haven’t found many other around.
    That said, I think most people would consider blogging of any kind to be part of the “time-wasting” part of student life … sadly. Hopefully people like us can eventually show them otherwise!

    Reply
    1. Benjamin Brooks Post author

      Hi Sam,
      Good to meet you! where’s your blog?
      The paucity of student bloggers in science is I think a keen one, though as sarcozona says below it may be due (at least in part) to students blogging about other stuff, I know a few arts students who blog, but no science students until now.
      I fear that you may be right on the “time-wasting” front, though I guess it sort of depends on how you best learn, some might find writing about things improves their own intake, following the maxim that “the best way to learn something is to teach it yourself”.
      Ben

      Reply
  5. sarcozona

    Until just this May, I was also an undergraduate blogger. Now I’m a research-assistant-applying-to-graduate-school blogger. I think that there are actually tons of undergraduate science bloggers, but because so few of us have science as the main focus of our writing (and our understanding and explanations tend to be, um, less sophisticated), we’re less visible.

    As for separating your blog content – what would be your reason? I can see having a separate blog if you wanted to separate possibly controversial or personal posts from your real identity.

    The only other reason would be if people interested in the personal and political didn’t care about the science and vice versa, but you’d have to look at your blog traffic to figure that out.

    Reply
    1. Benjamin Brooks Post author

      Hi Sarcozona,
      Thanks for your comment, I really do appreciate the conversation.
      I think you might be right on the main focus of most student bloggers being somewhere other than science, though just because our understanding is somewhat less sophisticated or naive doesn’t mean we shouldn’t post it. If nothing else it wil allow others to correct and enhance our understanding through a non-lecture/seminar environment.
      The reasons for my considering splitting the content are as I stated in my reply to Jason’s comment above.
      Ben

      Reply
      1. Sarcozona

        I definitely agree that undergrads should still be blogging about science, but I think that the lack of visibility and/or interest in undergrad science blogging may create a bit of a negative feedback loop. I put so much more time and effort into research oriented posts than I put into my recipe or music or political posts, but my research posts generate far less interest/traffic. That means I have little incentive, apart from gaining a better understanding of the research I’ve covered, to put that time and effort into research blogging.

      2. Benjamin Brooks Post author

        Hi Sarcozona,
        Point taken, it does take a lot of will power to really write anything that would fall into the high-workload-low-viewcount arena that tends to be science material, and it sure is more fun to take cheap shots at religious fundies and political “enemies”.
        I guess all that can be hoped is that some more people can find that will power!
        Ben

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