To run a blog is fun, but taxing. In order for it to fly you need to post new items fairly regularly and, of course, have something to say when you do. The Zoonotic Ecology and Epidemiology blog is primarily an outlet for communicating the science we do in our lab, but it also serves as a venue for me to tap away at the keyboard at those rare occasions when I’m in the inspiration zone. As such, the blog does not aspire to be ‘a voice’ for any defined grander cause, and the number of posts published is somewhat unpredictable. But I like the blog, and often think about posts that should be written.
The wordpress platform gives you loads of stats to boast or deflate your blogo-steem, as the number of page views summed on day, week, year, or from which countries blog visitors come from. You can even get hold of the search queries that directed searches to the site (and, man, those are sometimes weird). Thus, I can see which posts that get attention, and which do not. To be honest, I am fairly amazed with the 24,422 page views so far (as of five minutes ago). While this number is nothing compared to the big fish in the blog sea, it is a considerable larger number than the sum of my extended family and friends.
But what about wider splashes? Well, occasionally someone makes a comment on the blog, or make a pingback on another post elsewhere in the ecology/epidemiology blog community. That’s nice. And every now and then a colleague (either here or abroad) says something to me in person, which is nice too. However, the most direct consequence so far is an invitation to write a book chapter on Mallards and disease (which is coming, I promise…). Apart from that, blogging is mainly a one-man chorus in the desert, with rocks as audience.
But a few weeks ago something unexpected happen: an old post of mine was cited in an article in PLoS Biology. That’s pretty cool, I’d say! The post that was picked up was this one, on the data accessibility discussion triggered by the new guidelines at PLoS ONE – a topic that sparked some heavy blog fire on different sites. The perspective by Roche et al. asks how well we are doing in terms of data archiving in ecology and evolution – and the answer: not particularly well – and uses the blog discussions as an example on how scientist reacted to the new policies. We can now tick off ‘being cited’ on the blog bucket list.
So, go, blog, go! Someone is reading you!