Strategies: Blogs

There is a blog for just about any topic out there. No matter the subject, however, users expect blogs entries to be more personal than websites and more in-depth than social networking updates. In this way, blogs allow you to communicate your work to a wide public, focus the conversation on a given topic and continue the discourse over a period of time.

Below are some tips on how to get started with blogging.

  • Explore: Start exploring blogs by reading those of others writing about their scientific work. Note what kind of language they use, the kinds of topics they cover and what level of dialogue takes place. Keep the ones you like in mind as you build your own content.
  • Register: Sign up for a blog hosting site. You can find a number of options online, including WordPress and Blogger or check out Tumblr for a short-form blog. Talk to your institution about any options they may offer.
  • Target: Define your audience so that you know the words to use. If your goal is to write for an audience without a science background, consider having a friend or family member outside the field read your posts and provide feedback.
  • Practice: Before putting anything online, first try composing your own entries off-line. Doing so will allow you to develop your voice and content without immediate feedback.
  • Advertise: Spread the word about your blog at speaking engagements, on your other platforms and anywhere you feel appropriate. Also, link to other blogs and websites pertaining to your work. The more you make your blog known, the more readers you will attract.
  • Interact: As with all of the online platforms, interact with your readers! Allow comments and conversation in the comments section between readers and engage to keep them interested. Remember, it's okay to post a comment moderation policy if you think you need one.

At the 2013 AAAS Annual Meeting, a panel of scientists and bloggers spoke about communicating science using social media. The video recordings are available to watch for free.