Monday 29 September 2014

Thanks for reading

This morning someone made the 500,000th page view on the CoreGenomics blog. It amazes me that so many people are reading this and the last couple of years writing have been really good fun. I've met many readers and some fellow bloggers, and received lots of feedback in the way of comments on posts, as well as at meetings. I've even had people recognise my name because of my blogging; surreal! But the last few years have seen some big changes in how we all use social media like blogs, Twitter, etc. I don't think there is a K-index for scientific bloggers, perhaps Neil can look at that one next ;-)

Question: What do you see?

I've written about why I started blogging, and there are lots of people out there who see blogging as an extension of the day job at the bench; you've got to get ready for a journal club: blog about it first, time for your lab meeting presentation: blog about it first, seen an interesting result that you know you won't ever get round to publishing: blog about it instead!

My team has also just joined in on a new lab blog: The Genomics core blog. The idea is to write about the things we do in the lab, use the blog as an educational tool, and to write up those little experiments we'd find difficult to justify getting into publication. I'm also hoping it is a way for everyone in my team to demonstrate their enthusiasm for the job we do (which I know is enormous) to users in a way that's easier than getting everybody booked into our Institute seminar series!

The "bad" side of blogging: Whilst some will see the self-promotion side of blogging, and may even describe it as narcissistic, I don't think most bloggers set out on a road to glory. I do worry though that far too few blogs have far too much read into them by readers. And this is even more of an issue for commercial readers. Bloggers are another voice you can choose to listen to, exactly the same as a presentation, a poster or a paper. If you read something and it resonates with you and your own experiences then great, but sometimes what's written on a blog is supposed to be a single point-of-view, and one that may never be expressed in another format. It may also be hopelessly innacurate.

"Never was so much read into so little, that was written by so few (and edited by none)"

Personally I agree with Neil's sentiments in proposing the Kardashian index: that social media communication is given too high a value. And although mention has been made of the power of a Tweet or Blog to move stock prices, I'm not sure any of us have quite that power! I don't feel quite the same about citation indices being a particularly good measure and hope that multiple metrics will be used in the future to give a more realistic picture of a scientists contribution (I like what Altmetric are doing, and they're open about gaming). Just because you don't have a Nature paper does not mean you've not got good things to say!

So thanks to all the readers of this blog, I mean that most sincerely and I hope this post has not put you off! And to all those readers in the Bay Area and SD, enjoy, but Bloggers mean you no harm.

Distribution of CoreGenomics reads in the USA

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