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Thursday, February 4, 2010

Why do you blog - part I?

In light of recent events, this is a question I've had to ask my self. Why am I blogging, and is it worth continuing. Actually, it's not hard to answer, but worth returning to, periodically.

Since I've been thinking about it quite a bit recently, it's no surprise that other blogger's posts on the same topic are of interest to me. One of the blogs I read quite often belongs to Heather Etchevers, and she has an interesting take on it. It's also worth noticing the link on the top of her post to a discussion on it, as well as the answers from other bloggers.

Anyhow, I thought I'd take a stab at the questions myself.

1. What is your blog about?

My blog is generally anything related to next-generation sequencing, the open source science development I do and my journey through grad studies. Anything that catches my eye that's related (sometimes tenuously) to one of those is fair game.

2. What will you never write about?

Anyone who hasn't explicitly agreed to be a part of my blog. I am fantastically lucky to have wonderful people in my life, but their participation in my life isn't consent to being included in anything I write.

3. Have you ever considered leaving science?

Yep - After leaving my start-up company, I briefly toyed with the idea of doing other things and just starting fresh in another field. In the end, my love of science won out.

4. What would you do instead?

Oddly enough, I'd probably have done photography. I'm content to let it be a hobby, for now, but Travel photography is really a passion of mine, and I'd love to do more of it. Incidentally, I started the blog about the same time, because I had initially intended to use it to display my pictures. Interesting how things work out...

5. What do you think will science blogging be like in 5 years?

Not all that much more different - just a lot more condensed. Twitter is becoming an alternative to blogging, and I think the two will converge somewhere for most people.

6. What is the most extraordinary thing that happened to you because of blogging

Wow... that's tough. All the really cool people I've met has been an incredible bonus that I never expected. The fact that people read my blog at all never seizes to amaze me. Anytime I'm at a conference and someone recognizes my name, I'm thrilled - and that's more than extrordinary enough for me. (When they actually pronounce it correctly, it blows my mind)

7. Did you write a blog post or comment you later regretted?

Of course... but most of those were done early on in my blogging days, on a blog that's no longer visible (thank goodness!) I've pissed off friends, insulted people, and even annoyed people in my own lab. My first blog taught me a LOT about what not to do on line. I hope I've learned most of those lessons.

8. When did you first learn about science blogging?

Long after I started posting science on my blog, really. People started telling me that I should take a look at other blogs, and the more I read, the more I discovered there was a community out there.

9. What do your colleagues at work say about your blogging?

Not much, really. Occasionally, one of them will comment on something I wrote, or offer me advice on something I've discussed, but for the most part, it doesn't come up much in conversation. Although, there is the "blog effect", where people around you suddenly know things going on in your life/research that you are sure you didn't tell them. It's somewhat creepy, and it has taught me not to tell stories to people who read my blogs - they already know what I have to say on some topics.

10. How the heck do you have time to blog and do research at the same time?

Code, commit, run, wait... wait.... (blog)... wait... RESULTS!



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