Category Archives: blogging

The J-shaped curve of blog-post popularity

Warning: navel-gazing.

Believe it or not (and I have some trouble believing it myself), I’ve written 235 posts for Scientist Sees Squirrel over the not-quite-three-years of its existence.  Some have made waves.  Others have vanished into the deep waters of the internet without the hint of a ripple.

I got thinking about this because last month I wrote a post called Statistics in Excel, and when is a Results section too short?.  It turned out, to my surprise, to be one of the “wave” ones: it was read just over 3,000 times in its first 48 hours.  I’m pretty sure that’s more eyeballs than my entire body of published work (79 papers plus The Scientist’s Guide to Writing) gets in a year*Continue reading

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Reach and impact of science-community blogs in ecology (new paper!)

My latest paper just came out, and it’s unlike anything I’ve done before.  It’s called Bringing Ecology Blogging into the Scientific Fold: Reach and Impact of Science-Community Blogs.  Really, I’d be perfectly happy if you just went and read the paper – but for those who might like a bit of context and backstory, here are a few thoughts.

(1)  It was tons of fun to have, as coauthors, a bunch of terrific bloggers: Amy Parachnowitsch and Terry McGlynn from Small Pond Science, Manu Saunders of Ecology is Not a Dirty Word, Margaret Kosmala of Ecology Bits, Simon Leather of Don’t Forget the Roundabouts, Jeff Ollerton of Jeff Ollerton’s Biodiversity Blog, and Meghan Duffy from Dynamic Ecology.* If you’re reading me but not them, I don’t know what the heck you think you’re doing. Continue reading

Personality, politics, profile

Photo: Not doing science (© Jamie Heard)

Warning: navel gazing (again).

How much is science something apart, and how much is it connected to politics and human personality?  This question has been in the air a lot lately, for example in discussion around the US (and global) Marches for Science.  My point today isn’t to recapitulate those discussions.  They resonated with me, though, because of my evolving thinking about my presence online.

When I first took up social media, I was determined that I would keep my Twitter and blog profile purely professional.  I would tweet and blog only about science, and put personality, politics, and pretty much everything else aside.  I was even a little derisive about this, making fun of people who live-tweet their breakfasts.  But I think this was wrong, and I’ve started to loosen up a little. Continue reading

Where do I find the time to blog?

Photo: Ladybird clock, by Kristie Heard (photo S. Heard)

 Warning: navel-gazing.

 I get asked quite often, “Where on earth do you find the time to blog?”  It’s a good question, actually; one I often asked myself in the early days of Scientist Sees Squirrel, and one to which I’ve become tempted to change my answer.

There’s no doubt that blogging takes time.  I write about 7 posts a month, each taking anywhere from half an hour to a few hours.  Occasionally, I get sucked down a rabbithole* and take even longer on one.  That’s time I could be spending on research, or with my family, or cooking, or curling, or perhaps even reviewing your manuscript.  How can I justify this? Continue reading

On being nerdsniped by Dynamic Ecology

Photos: Artificial moths from @mothgenerator; thanks to Katie Rose Pipkin for permission to reproduce them here.

Warning: 100% silly.

So, a couple of weeks ago, Jeremy Fox over at Dynamic Ecology nerdsniped me with this link to the Moth Generator twitter account.

If you haven’t seen it, Moth Generator is a clever bot that constructs fictional moths by (somehow) recombining a library of graphic generation rules. For an entomologist and a nerd, like me, this is completely fascinating.  If you’re either or both, I recommend that you check it out. Continue reading

Squirrels, serendipity, and the reach of a blog

Photo: Whitehead’s pygmy squirrel (Exilisciurus whiteheadi), © Chi’en C. Lee via www.chienclee.com, used by permission.

Inspired by similar exercises from Small Pond Science and The Lab and Field, I present a few more weird and wonderful search terms by which Scientist Sees Squirrel has been found.  These are all real, I swear – and they’re only the tip of the iceberg.

But while the searches are amusing, at the end I do want to draw a couple of serious conclusions – feel free to scroll right down there if you’re not in the mood for frivolity.

Search terms in bold italic:

 

squirrel simulations Continue reading

Is this blog a “science blog”? If not, what is it?

Warning: mostly navel-gazing, albeit with some thoughts about SciComm and the openness of science.

I didn’t know much about the blogosphere before Scientist Sees Squirrel was born. Turns out maybe I still don’t, since I’m asking the rather obvious question in the title of this post.

So is Scientist Sees Squirrel a “science blog”?  Well, it’s about science (inasmuch as it’s about anything), so in that sense, surely the answer should be “yes”.  But I’ve just read Science Blogging: The Essential Guide, and according to that book, the answer is pretty clearly “no”.  This surprised me a little, but it also crystallized something I’d been wondering rather vaguely about anyway: what is, and what should be, my audience here? Continue reading