Corvallis Beer and Blog

beer-blog-corvallis-white

I will find out what happens when you combine beer with bloggers in Corvallis. A group just formed and the inauguration is this Wednesday, Dec. 10th at Block 15 from 5-7 pm. Join the group on Facebook.

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Credible Blogs for Scientific Research

I would love to get more researchers to blog. I know for some, especially Post Docs and graduate students, there is fear that their writing will be misinterepreted or by chance impact their career later down the road. The challenge is that everyone has a voice with blogs and some information may not be accurate.

A news blog for research called ResearchBlogging.org, strives to identify serious academic blog posts about peer-reviewed research with an aggregation site where others can look to find the best academic blogging on the Net.  See their article,
Where will science blogging go from here?

Science Blogs

How do we get scientists involved with new technology? Perhaps we should start with blogging. It’s easy, free, and many scientists have much to share with others.

I see there is great interest in this area, and I may have to try to get out to North Carolina in January for ScienceOnline’09.

ScienceOnline’09 is the third annual science blogging conference in North Carolina. It will take place Jan. 16-18, 2009 at the Sigma Xi Center in Research Triangle Park. It’s free and open to all scientists, bloggers, educators, students, journalists and others who want to explore science communication on the Web. See the conference wiki for program details and more. Register here starting Sept. 15.

So, why isn’t there something like this out west?

Writing for Your Audience is the Right Thing to Do.

Another article from copyblogger reminded me of how to use the web to get my information to the public.

In the past, I would always hear about using plenty of key words within your site codes so the search engines will have many ways to find you and bring people to you. The article, called Keyword Research: It’s Not What You Think, in copyblogger gave me a bit more insight.

The article suggested that you need to read (and read and read) what is popular on the web. In our case, we would read all of the environmental health information that our target audience reads. First, it is very important to understand what words grab their attention. Also, what kind of articles are attractive to them and what ways do they get their information. This sounds like a lot of time, but studying your audience puts you in their world and in the long run you will have a much more effective outreach program.

I also found interesting the tools to see what phrases people are using to search for environmental health information.

Keyword research tools like Wordze, Keyword Discovery, and Wordtracker estimate the number of times people search for different phrases. For instance, according to Wordze, approximately 11,222 people search for the term “blogging” each month.

It is a bit of a game, and I love games. It seems like if we combined “environmental health” and “blogging”, we would reach more people. You can also gauge the popularity of a topic relative to other topics. This may give us a better idea of what information the “web” community needs in relation to environmental health.

In relation to using a blog for outreach:

  • Businesses with blogs want to make money. We would want to use a blog to build partnerships, create community, and reach target audiences that go beyond borders. Doing this effectively will lead to successful grant proposals and publications. Most importantly, we will have a greater impact and be sustainable with our community education efforts.
  • Knowing what our target audiences read and using familiar and popular phrases will help us find a niche and social network. We can reach more people, and we can post topics that people want to read about. In relation to Center research, we can examine what about the research will be important and valuable to our target audiences. Can we find a niche that others are not covering on the web?
  • We can connect with community organizations and potential partnerships. Most community groups are using the web and social networks to reach audiences.

Copyblogger suggests that before starting a blog, you carefully decide on a niche and angle.

Ok, so we did all this and people are coming to our blog. We can see the interest by the statistics showing us the number of hits, how they find the site, the links they click, and perhaps comments from the public on the posts. But are we doing effective outreach and education? How do we measure effectiveness? Those are questions for continued discussion.

Environmental Health Community Blog?

I think about new and innovative ways to build community with opportunities for people to share and discuss topics of interest coming out of the Environmental Health Sciences Center.

One way to do that is to build a blog that has many authors/contributors. I have been creating blogs that have me as the single author. For this topic, I think it would be much more interesting to get individuals who can share not just their expertise, but their perspective on the topic. Environmental health is a complex topic. Adding audio and video to the blog will create an educational experience with the opportunity to comment and add your own voice, while asking questions that most likely are valuable to others.

It can get a bit lonesome within the walls of the university. How can we really make a difference to communities? What can we offer them that will provide them a connection into the world of research and how the research relates to their health? We must use a platform that puts them in the driver’s seat helping them make decisions of how their own choices make a difference to their health and the health of others.

Getting a Handle on the Blogosphere

From How to Save the World Blog

WHAT THE BLOGOSPHERE WANTS MORE OF…. I will be working on it.

Blog readers want to see more…..

  • original research, surveys etc.
  • original, well-crafted fiction
  • great finds: resources, blogs,essays, artistic works
  • news not found anywhere else
  • category killers: aggregators that capture the best of many blogs/feeds, so they need not be read individually
  • clever, concise political opinion consistent with their own views
  • benchmarks,quantitative analysis
  • personal stories, experiences, lessons learned
  • first-hand accounts
  • live reports from events
  • insight:leading-edge thinking & novel perspectives
  • short educational pieces
  • relevant “aha” graphics
  • great photos
  • useful tools and checklists
  • précis, summaries, reviews and other time-savers
  • fun stuff: quizzes, self-evaluations, other interactive content

Blog writers want to see more…

  • constructive criticism, reaction, feedback
  • ‘thank you’ comments, and why readers liked their post
  • requests for future posts on specific subjects
  • foundation articles: posts that writers can build on, on their own blogs
  • reading lists/aggregations of material on specific, leading-edge subjects that writers can use as resource material
  • wonderful examples of writing of a particular genre, that they can learn from
  • comments that engender lively discussion
  • guidance on how to write in the strange world of weblogs

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