Why don’t professors blog and do social media?
Why am I the only professor with a stem cell blog across the globe (if there are other please let me know)?
Why do I do this blog?
I’ve written before about why I blog and listed the numerous blogs about stem cells out there that I enjoy even if they are not written by professors.
Part of the irony of the lack of fellow professorial colleagues blogging is that they love to read blogs.
For example, over the past couple years of my doing this blog, interest in this blog has exploded including from my fellow stem cell scientists in academia. Many stem cell scientists tell me privately that they really enjoy my blog as do undergrad and grad students as well as postdocs in academia. Thus, academics love to read blogs, but they still remain reluctant to blog themselves. You might say they have a love hate relationship with blogging.
Why? I think part of it is the culture of academic science and part of it, frankly, is fear.
The consequence of this is that many professors are left out of the conversation. By relying on only traditional, slow academic journals or speaking at conferences a few times a year, these professors are slowly but surely going to be left behind as social media continues to take over. It is inevitable.
Heck, I’m not complaining that they read my blog, but I wish they’d blog themselves, use Facebook and also Twitter.
There are some scientists out there, especially more broadly not just limiting the discussion to stem cell research, who do effectively engage in social media including blogging.
A great example is my colleague here at UC Davis, Jonathan Eisen, who runs the fantastic and very popular blog, The Tree of Life.
PZ Myers of the University of Minnesota runs a blog called Pharyngula, which is hugely popular and interesting. However, as a side note, I would argue it is a bit too obsessed about atheism, which I personally find kinda boring and unscientific given the inability of scientists to prove there is no God (Why I am an agnostic. By Paul Knoepfler…..Zzzzzz).
However, part of the beauty of a blog is you can say and focus on whatever you like because it is your blog. Of course if what you say is not of interest to anyone or is boring, few people might read your blog. In PZ’s case, he writes about what he wants and gets a massive audience.
There are other professor bloggers out there too, but as a fraction of all professors we are a tiny group across the globe. As I said in my Nature piece on my first year of experiences blogging, I very much wish more faculty will blog.
If you have a favorite blog by a science professor that I have not discussed, let me know.