You are reading a science blog. Right. Now.
But oddly enough, I don’t know much about you. There are thousands upon thousands of scientists, students, science communicators, journalists and science enthusiasts blogging about science out there on the internet. But most of them also know relatively little about their readers.
What keeps you coming back to a science blog? What type of information are you looking for, and what do you expect to find? Do you already know a lot about science? Are you an active consumer, or even creator, of science media content? What other science content do you tend to engage with?
I’m looking to answer these questions in a new and unprecedented survey of science blog readers. Lance Porter and I, both researchers at Louisiana State University, have contacted a random sample of 60 science bloggers from a list of over 600 who told me about their blogging practices last year. We are asking these 60 bloggers, who write for a range of independent blogs and mainstream media blogging networks (such as Wired and Scientific American Blogs), to share a link to our online survey with their readers next month.
This study is one of the most exciting things I’ve done as a science communication researcher yet! The field is, well, wide open. There has been strangely little peer-reviewed research into the perceptions and social media habits of people who read and use science blogs. Blogs and social media in general have become important sources, if not primary sources, of science news and information for a wide range of audiences. Why have we never asked them what they think about these sources of science information?!
Here’s to figuring out why people read science blogs and hopefully making science blogs better in the process. But we need your help. Check out our project here, and help out in any way you can: https://experiment.com/projects/oh-my-science-blog-who-reads-science-blogs-and-why. We need incentives to make it worth people’s time to answer our survey about their motivations and perceptions of science blogs. For donating, you can get special perks! For $50, get any photo you want from my personal photography portfolio. For $400 dollars or more, you can get a personal (virtual) appointment with me to talk over the results of our survey before this research is published! For $800 or more, you can even request a particular question added to our survey, one that you would be interested seeing the responses to.
Watch this space for a list of the science blogs that will be featuring our #SciBlogReaders survey link!
In the meantime, share why you read my blog, another science blog, or science blogs in general on Twitter using the hashtag #SciBlogReaders.