Blogging in the sciences

Christina Pikas has some thoughts and questions about the kinds of people for whom blogging works as personal information management.  Is blogging for personal information management generalizeable or just for some?

Is blogging for personal information management useful for all professions and personality types or just for writers and information workers?

Given her background in the sciences and librarianship, she is interested in how scientists and engineers fit.  Some of her specific concerns: if blogs are the realm of extroverts and scientists are typically introverted, will scientists adopt them?  On the other hand, scientists are the types who are curious about uncovering information and sharing that with their colleagues, and blogs are a nice way of collecting and sharing that information.

She also points to two related items in the August 1st issue of The Scientist.  The first is the editorial, On Your Mark, Get Set, Blog!, which comments on the dearth of life science blogs.  The second is David Secko's The Power of the Blog article in the Biobusiness section, which highlights Derek Lowe's In the Pipeline as possibly the only blog written by an active medicinal chemist. 

The Secko article reports Lowe as saying, "blogging allows a competitive edge in finding information, getting in touch with customers and colleagues, and commenting on the pharmaceutical industry."  I only agree with this statement when you remove the "blogging" from the beginning and replace it with "a blogging community."  The competitive edge comes from people working together and sharing ideas.  If Lowe is truly the lone medicinal chemist blogger, then there is not the kind of interaction he needs to create competitive advantage for himself. 

Later in the article, Secko brings out this aspect.  People are reading Lowe's blog, some of whom comment and I will wager that others send him mail directly.  A community has to start somewhere.  A single outspoken person might be enough to create a wider and wider readership that will eventually pop up some more outspoken people within the community.  This was my experience with reading and commenting on other blogs until someone finally suggested that I start blogging.

5 Comment(s)

Jim McGee Author Profile Page said:

And we are all the richer for your joining the blogging community.

What do you think about Matthias' comment about incrementality? IOW - introverts (maybe I mean another word?) may like writing in lieu of public speaking at conferences, but may only want to write when they have a complete/perfected thought... not as a way to perfect a thought or idea.

I would also agree that for full returns there needs to be a community, but for personal information management -- even without feedback -- there's still some return on blogging. Also- like you mention and a colleague of mine has experienced, the feedback may be through another channel and not captured on the web (like e-mail, IM, or telephone)

By the end of the week, "drinking from a firehose" became my massively overused one-liner to describe how the week was going. Still, nothing that was unexpected; new organization philosophies and theories, new terminology for familiar concepts, new "... Read More

Lukman said:

Of course engineer will need to share his/her unique experiences to everyone who needs.

zaki said:

Brand new scientist/engineer will learn from others...and the experience scientist/engineer can share those thing via blogging which is a very informal and effective tool...In case further explanation or inquiry is needed, the reader can just simply contact the publisher....As for my case, some of my chemical engineering colleague contact me for information and for help...such as talks, research info, industrial info, supervising their student project, consulting etc...I enjoy helping them too.

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