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The future of my blogging

May 9, 2009

For the past few months I’ve been pondering the future of Clastic Detritus and my blogging in general. I started this blog in late 2006 while I was still in graduate school and, through 2007, it was a fantastic way (at least for me) to take a break from research and writing my dissertation. I also enjoyed sharing aspects of geoscience and sedimentary geology, in particular, that I thought were interesting.

I’ve been out of graduate school for over a year now — and I now work as a research scientist in the private sector*. Long-time readers have probably noticed that the frequency (and, in my opinion, the quality) of my posting has decreased in the past year. Simply put, I can’t devote as much time to blogging as I used to. In addition to writing posts, I consider reading and commenting on other’s posts as a part of the activity we call ‘blogging’. The geoblogosphere, in addition to the science blogsosphere in general, as grown significantly in the past few years. This is great, but my decreased available time has resulted in not being able to keep up — I frequently have to mark hundreds of posts as ‘read’ in my feeder even though I never read them.

I have also received e-mails from readers (mostly non-geologists) asking for my opinion on some geology they saw, read about, or were pondering. I do welcome such mail from readers but have failed to answer several promptly or at all. Because I’d rather respond with the best answer I can rather than just point to them back to the same web resources they probably already found by googling, it takes a long time to get around to working on it. I apologize to readers for that.

I need to acknowledge the transitions in my academic, professional, and personal life over the course of the past few years within the context of blogging and let it evolve with those changes. This isn’t my job and, like most bloggers, do all of this in my ‘free’ time.

I’m considering a reorganization of the site to better highlight older posts as stand-alone articles of useful information (rather than an ‘old’ post, which seems like yesterday’s news). I haven’t quite thought about how to do that yet — but I envision a site that is some kind of hybrid with both blog and ‘traditional’ website aspects.

In terms of content, I plan to write about my own research interests and topics in sedimentary geology in more detail. I realize that posts with more specificity (and most likely more technical jargon) may result in losing some general readers. However, there are already many superb general geoscience blogs/sites out there that do a much better job than I do informing the general public about geoscience issues in current events — I’m simply focusing this blog on what I’m interested in. A more focused and technical site is also easier to maintain with less frequent posting.

Ultimately, I would love this site to be a place where other researchers feel welcome to comment on my research (or whatever paper/study I am discussing) in detail, share ideas, and potentially collaborate. I don’t expect this to happen quickly — it will take years to build a community like that (plus, more of my colleagues and contemporaries need to be willing to interact on the internet).

Don’t expect any drastic or sudden changes anytime soon. As mentioned above, this post is to acknowledge how the blog is evolving and let you all know what I’m thinking about in terms of the future of Clastic Detritus.

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* Note: as a policy, I do not discuss the specifics of my current job on this blog — these topics are unbloggable and can lead to many problems — if commenters bring up specifics I reserve the right to ‘de-specify’ and/or completely remove their comments. See the ‘Disclaimers … ‘ page for more.

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10 Comments leave one →
  1. May 9, 2009 11:56 am

    I appreciate the time constraints — I’ve been feeling them too. The geoblogosphere has swelled into an embarrassment of riches. No time to take it all in as fully as it deserves. Good luck with the transitions. You always produce quality posts, and I look forward to the next stage in the development of Clastic Detritus.

  2. May 9, 2009 12:15 pm

    I like your idea of a hybrid site. Separating posts of research and knowledge from those of commentary should be of great value to both current and future readers.

  3. May 9, 2009 6:25 pm

    The important thing is to do your favorite thing, because that’s your unique value-add to blogspace. I’ll always read it. Anyone can blather about Geology 101 topics, but only you can blather about your deepest interests.

  4. May 10, 2009 11:17 am

    I fully agree that the best blogs (and the most satisfying for the blogger) are those that cover what the writer is interested in – that interest, and the enthusiasm that goes along with it, always comes over in the writing. I think that writing about your own research interests is ideal – but I don’t see why you should lose any “general interest” readers. If you can write about how your science is working (and avoiding the jargon doesn’t detract from the scientific validity), then it would be a great and accessible resource for anyone and a great advertisement for serious geology. I’ll certainly read it!

  5. May 10, 2009 12:18 pm

    thanks for all comments and support!

  6. May 11, 2009 9:08 am

    Brian, I agree with others above: you create quality posts, and what you are most interested in doing is what you should do. I am also feeling more and more behind in blogging – including the commenting part that I’ve enjoyed. I look forward to whatever changes you come up with (they might give me some ideas!).

  7. May 11, 2009 7:47 pm

    ditto others. I’ll certainly be reading whatever you decide to concentrate on

    good luck!

  8. May 12, 2009 11:26 am

    Same for me! I’ll certainly read it. Actually some actual research posts would probably attract more attention from me than general geology posts. I can read that also in good books or dedicated websites, however, reading about someone’s real research while it is being conducted or pondered and seeing how other people go about it is really informative!

  9. May 12, 2009 12:03 pm

    Lost Geologist … good point … I have been reading your posts about your research (even if I don’t comment)

  10. May 13, 2009 1:19 pm

    In whatever form, I hope you’ll keep blogging. Your writing here has been a great way for me to learn about another field. And the images are always good.

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