Welcome to the bloopers, or "blogpers," of #MySciBlog research! Below you'll find some of the excerpts from my interviews with science bloggers (or their open-ended responses to #MySciBlog survey) that I found particularly funny, clever, or at least smile-worthy. (And some that border on funny because of their 'reality'). Enjoy! What motivated you to start blogging?
SOMEONE IS WRONG ON THE INTERNET!
I blog because it's marginally more productive than firing Nerf projectile at communication devices when they make me angry.
Oh gosh, how I got into science blogging. Um, I think the NSF tricked me into it, possibly (laughs).
I'm not kidding you, at the time, the thought in my head was alright, well if I'm never going to be in a relationship, I might as well have a blog!
There was a piece of it that felt like, you know, this is, this is not a smart thing to do if you want to have a successful academic career. Um, and, I guess I said oh well?! We’ll see!
So my blog, the way I started blogging was, I just wanted a place to stick it, personally, interesting stuff that, because I drive people crazy all the time saying ‘oh, did you, did you know that this was what this...?’
The pay is so bad, but the control is so good (laughs).
I need money, man. Dollar bills, y'all!
"I eat more sitting at the computer :-( "
My overall approach. Ah, casual?
I’m one of you guys too, I might, be a scientist for 8 or 9 hours a day, but, I’m also (laughs), I have dumb thoughts too (laughs), and this is how I’m going to address it. So, so I hope that that comes across in my posts as well.
[T]hey [writers in my writer's group] teach me how to write engagingly. You know, they read my pieces to critique them, and they say to me, this is great __, but you sound like a, you know, a science fiction story. We don't understand a word you're saying (laughs).
I did this program and they said to us "well you know we need to have this 'Meet a Scientist Night,'" and I was like, "oh, do you want me to get one, from my lab? Do you want me to get a scientist?!" And they were like "no, no YOU, we want you! (Laughs)." I was like, "what? But I'm not - I'm just a student, I'm not a scientist, I don't do science," and they were like "are you kidding me right now?" And ah, and they gave us little buttons that say "I am a scientist" and so this little button is kind of the only reason some days that I am pretty solid that I'm a scientist.
I met Douglas Adams a number of years ago, and we always joke that, you always think you're going to do something 2, 3, maybe 4 times, and then you realize that was highly inappropriate of you, because you're on your 52nd article.
What does blogworthy look like?
Well, my first criteria is, will Paige retweet this.
My wife gets bored listening to me and says 'you should blog that'
Yeah, I never, I never made the blog in the hope that it would be, "this is what I did today! This is what I hope to do next week.” Like, it was never going to be a diary thing. And that was a really conscious decision, because I think, I didn't need the blog to communicate to my friends or family what I was doing? So therefore, I don't, I don't think the public should or needs to know what I'm up to (laughs).
I think it helps that I never really grew up (laughs), so, yeah... I look at stuff and go, that's totally awesome!!!
[S]omeone just advised me that I should get a Google Adwords account, and then tailor the things to which, like which key words have the most, ah, searches. I don't know if I'm ready for that (laughs). Like, I'm not a robot. I want to actually write something so that I think that it, is catchy when I look at it, not necessarily by, like ... search engine optimized.
I avoid anything in physics.
Can I make it funny? Yeah, especially, if I can, if I can - puns, oh my god, if I can include puns, I am sold!
Readers and Blogging Impacts
[On my blog] sometimes I'll use curse words, sometimes I'll use shorthand, and mostly it's just kind of a fun way to write that's different than how we write professionally. And sometimes it can be, it can actually get me in trouble. Because you're used to saying things so plainly and straightforward, without a bunch of jargon and, and, that when you go to sit down and write an academic paper, like, all of a sudden you'll be like, oh, I made this too transparent, I need to make this more opaque (laughs).
And then your mom calls and is like, why are making lists about having sex with insects?
You probably think I'm a more consistent blogger than I am (laughs).
I’m surprised that people do read this, honestly.
I mean, it’s kind of like a diary for me, of things that I want to remember, and know more about. It gives me an excuse. So it’s just selfish, there’s no – I don’t consider you, the reader, at all (laughs).
[N]ice feedback is always nice. And it does, it is encouraging, and comments are encouraging to get you to post again and it, and it’s so funny because… I, I know better, and yet if you get a comment, it’s like ‘Oh! I should write something else!’ (laughs)
My husband often jokes that, there are no secrets when you live with a writer, because he'll find himself in some form or another (laughs) in any number of the pieces that I've written, and he'll be like, really? You had to talk about this?
I have a couple of super anal-retentive fans, that as soon as it goes live, they read it, and then they e-mail me all the mistakes. Which is a little painful, but useful! It's like ah, you misspelled the author's name in that research paper, and it's like, yeah ok great (laughs).
I WAS really excited when my blog topped 1,000 views - I was like 'whoa!! This is awesome!' You know, so what that 342 of them are ME, but you know... not that I counted or anything…
Um, that's when you know you've really made it, is when the Daily Mail plagiarizes you (laughs).
Social Media Woes…
I had never had any interest in twitter before uh, I didn't care about it at all, I was like ("sigh") I've gotta form a twitter account?
I don't do click-bait… Um, I really don't like it. Ah, especially because I click on it so much, and them I'm like ahhh! curses! (laughs).
Weird and Wacky
Um, oh my god, like did you know that whales ménage-a-trois's exist? Because they do. Whales. With like 8-foot prehensile penises. That happens.
I can't tell you how many unfollows I get after a spider story. It's like, ahhhh, spiders! Unfollow. You traumatized me! I'm like yeah, sorry. Don't ever go outside. Or inside, because you know, 6 feet from a spider at all times…
Journalists like to go on and on about how very objective they are, and how they're always questioning their biases - no they're not. No, they're not.
There's also sometimes, like there was one story that I interviewed the researcher, and it was just like, yes, no, yes, no. And I'm like, I'm asking you open questions! (laughs).
Yeah, if somebody's already… especially for things that have been embargoed, I don't know that they even exist until they go live. Um, usually when they go live, and Ed [Yong]'s written about it, and Ed's written a great story, and I'm like, fuck. Well, not writing about that one. Um, also, I hope you don't mind that I just dropped an F-bomb on you (laughs), but yeah, it's like well, there's no point in writing about that.
Sometimes I'll write debunking posts, but those are things I write for me, because those never get any traction. Nobody wants to hear, 'yeah well, actually, this is the story...' They want to hear, 'oh my god! We're all gonna die!'
It doesn't seem like they do that much editing for me, because like, I'll send something to them, and they'll be like, 'this is awesome'! And they're like, publish! And I'm like, wait, no, that was NOT ready for publication (laughing). Um, and then, so then I'll be like, ‘unpublish’, and I'll like work on it a little bit more, and I'll send it back to them, and they're like, 'oh this is so good!' (laughs). And they're like, publish! And I'm like, ah... ok.
Reality kicks in…
I'm not posting frequently enough. […] Right now I'm just trying to get that PhD done, so... Priorities (laughs).
[I]t's funny because, I see all sorts of, you know, great, well not great, but interesting press releases, um, you know that speak to developments in medicine, in places like sub-Saharan Africa, or developments in nutrition, for, you know, starving children, and that sort of thing? No. Those aren't gonna get media attention. What's gonna get media attention? Gluten-free diets. What, what are upper middle class white people worried about? That's what's going to get a headline. (Laughs) cause that's the internet today, and it's, depressing (laughs) beyond belief, to be honest.
David Dobbs once said that, only the stuff that is important AND interesting, should stay. If it's important but dull, it has to go.
I'm kind of feeling feathery dinosaur fatigue.
A lot of the times my blog posts are very long run ups to make a stupid joke at the end.
It's kind of an obsession at this point. I don't know if you've seen that like, um, that XKCD comic that's, you know, 'are you coming to bed?' 'I can't, you know, someone on the internet is wrong.' Yeah (laughs) that kind of feels like my life sometimes.
I can have something to say about almost anything (laughs).
Blogs on the mind…
so that, that doesn't blog me - ah, that doesn't bother me (laughs).