A rapidly increasing number of scientists and scholars are learning about the advantages of using the blog medium for both internal and external research communication — see for example Batts, Anthis and Smith’s recent paper “Advancing science through conversations: bridging the gap between blogs and the academy” in Public Library of Science: Biology (vol. 6, Sept., e240 doi:10.1371/journal.pbio.0060240) (discussed in an earlier post here).

But it can surely be pretty demanding to keep up a quality blog. As Stanford bioinformatician Russ Altman writes under the heading “Blogs are hard!” on his excellent Building Confidence blog (about biomedical informatics, genetics, medicine, and bioengineering):

Well, maybe you all know this, but I am having a heck of a time coming up with material that is relevant and (hopefully) interesting for this blog. These difficulties are occurring despite help from my blog angel (she knows who she is) who is constantly feeding me excellent ideas. Why are blogs hard?

  • Things are busy and you need to take out time to be a little reflective about stuff. That’s hard when you are just running and running all day.
  • In order to opine, you need to know what you are talking about. That usually requires doing some homework.
  • It is difficult to formulate ideas alone. Almost everything I do is as part of a team, and this is a much better way (generally speaking) to draw conclusions or make decisions. If I really wanted excellent blog items, I think I should work with a team to formulate good thoughts, debate them and then present them. But I’m not sure that’s part of the blog culture, which is marked by rugged individualism

OK, that’s my thoughts about why I have blog block. I will get going again soon. Blog angel has sent some great ideas, and I just need to ponder them, form opinions, and commit them to screen.

A sobering voice amidst all the exhausting enthusiasm that’s swirling around the science blogging multitude. Searched for “blog block“, and got a staggering 8,331 hits.

(thanks to Deepak for the tip about Russ Altman’s post)

Thomas Söderqvist

Author Thomas Söderqvist

More posts by Thomas Söderqvist