Friday, October 10, 2008

Blogging (post) GSA: who reads blogs?

I'm back from GSA (after a Thursday afternoon flight from Houston to Denver, on which the flight attendants probably could have gotten a lot of laughs by asking "what's in this bag, rocks?"). I'm going to try to write some more about some of the science and education sessions (including one that I wished I had seen yesterday morning, on ultra-high-pressure metamorphism) later, but this morning, I'm going to navel-gaze.

Last year, a couple of people I knew from grad school mentioned that they had run across my blog, but I didn't talk about it with most people. But this year, I think a lot of people in my age range knew that I blog. And it didn't seem something to hide or fret about. (In fact, one of my friends introduced her grad students to me because they read my blog. *waves* You're doing really cool stuff!) And at a discussion of issues for mid-career faculty members, I realized that my blog helps keep science and teaching fresh for me, at a stage in my career where I could easily stagnate.

But I also hesitated to talk about my blog to people I considered mentors of various sorts. Grad committee members, faculty at my previous institutions, a friend who is running an NSF program... I didn't talk about the blog to them. And I wondered why. Perhaps I'm still nervous about being judged. But perhaps it was my perception that there's something generational going on. My friends have used e-mail since grad school (or before), and have had web pages since they got their first teaching positions. Some have their own Facebook pages. The internet is full of many ways to communicate, some useful for some things, some useful for others, and it's not that big of a deal to use it or not. But I still expect other people to say "get off the internet and get back to real work!"

But I may be projecting my expectations rather than observing what other people think. So I've added a poll to the sidebar, to get some sense of who reads this blog. I don't collect any kind of statistics about how many people read - I know Callan and others do, but I don't. And I know Brian asked a similar question (in his old blog last year?). But I'm curious who you all are.

(And as a total aside, I ran into Zoltan Sylvester while getting coffee yesterday morning. We each had the last talk scheduled in our respective sessions, but the rooms were cold and the morning was long. We closed down the conference. Good to meet you, Zoltan!)

Edit: Apologies to the undergrads (and pre-college students) who got left out of the poll. I... well, I hadn't had coffee yet, and somehow thought that undergrads would be obvious from other info.

8 comments:

A Life Long Scholar said...

Some of us will throw off your numbers--I clicked both "I'm a geoscientist" and "I've got a background in something other than geoscience" as both apply...

Kim said...

Actually, I was just thinking that I get interesting information from that wording. I was curious about how many readers have no background in geoscience at all, because some people come to the field from other disciplines, and other people start as geologists but get a job doing something else.

Thomas said...

I'm 21 and a geology under-grad. Since under-grad didn't seem to be an available option, I just selected 20-29.

CJR said...

Arghh! I've gone up at age bracket!

I know exactly what you mean though - even people who know me tend to have found my blog randomly through the power of Google, rather than by me telling them. Even though I think it's a useful adjunct to my development as a geologist as an educator, it still feels a bit like a guilty secret.

And of those who have found it, enthusiasm scales into amusement/bemusement with age...

Dominion said...

I too am an undergrad but I felt comfortable checking being a geoscientist and being employed in academia as a RA. I find your perspective illuminating when I consider my own career and whether to pursue academia or industry. We just had a department info session on attracting more students. I wondered what have you found to be useful in teaching to intro students to spark their joy for the Earth. Keep up the good work.

Anonymous said...

I'm a stay at home Mom with a MS in geology. I used to work in the environmental sector, and enjoy your blog because it gives me a peak at the world I've left behind for awhile.

RBH said...

You got an occupational two-fer from me: I am a visiting professor teaching one undergrad course in biology per semester, and am also employed in (non-geo) private industry.

kurt said...

Most K-12 institutions do not emphasize/offer geology (compared to biology, chemistry, and physics).
After that initial 0-20 age group, compare your chart to the U.S. population pyramid
http://www.censusscope.org/us/chart_age_graph_1.gif
(sorry - img src is not allowed in blog comments)

It's good that you reach many.
It's even better that you write things worth reading.
Thanks for sharing!