30 October 2016

To blog or not to blog?

I'm often to be found encouraging my colleagues and friends to blog about their work.

I blog for many reasons (beyond the ego driven nature of it all).  I find it helps me get more familiar on an issue and it helps me organise and clarify my thoughts on it. It also forces me to read key documents.  It helps me write more succinctly and to the point.  It helps to share information and views (admittedly mine).  It also helps promote transparency.

I write about this now now because I just passed a million page views on the Development Horizons blog.  The blog has been running since 2009 and I have posted about 600 blogs during those 7 years.  That's about 1,600 page views per blog.  

For context my Google Scholar citation count is about 18,000 over about 120 articles over 30 years.  If we assume one citation for 10 article reads (and I have no idea if this ratio approximates reality, but it seems plausible) then that is 180,000 reads.

Apples and oranges, I know, but it is interesting that blogs are so widely read (not surprising when you think about it--they are short, free and one click away).

Are there risks? Yes, blogs can oversimplify, have no peer review process and are often data and link free.  They can be sheer vanity projects.   Still, these risks can be managed.  And finally, remember that content is king (or queen): if the blog is boring and uninformative no-one will read it.

So colleagues (and I use that term in the widest sense) I encourage you to blog now, blog often and blog responsibly!  (And if you can't do that, at least keep reading my blog!)


Preeti Bhat said...

Congratulations Lawrence. If we need to introduce, I'm a contributor to one of the 180,000 reads and also an IDS alumni (MA 2 Gender & Development, 1988-89). Totally agree with your views on benefits of blogs. They are very informative and for people like me who are involved in some development work, but not really part of the network to be part of all the conference circuit, we get good updates on the information as well as stand taken by various agencies. Similarly, great platform for sharing research findings.

Many of us need to move to the next level from reading to writing blogs to share about our work. Meanwhile, keep writing and educating us. waiting for the 1 million mark!

Preeti Bhat

Julia Powell said...

Thanks Lawrence. Just encouraged my colleagues to read this blog post while pleading with them to write one.