Is blogging revolutionizing science communication?

There’s been a lot of talk about blogging changing the nature of science communication recently that I think is completely missing the mark.  And, given that I see this really often, I thought I’d comment on it quickly.   (aka, this is a short, and not particularly well researched post… but deal with it.  I’m on “vacation” this week.)

Two of the articles/posts that are still on my desktop (that discuss this topic, albeit in the context of changing the presentation of science, not really in science communication) are:

But  I’ve come across a ton of them, and they all say (emphatically) that blogging has changed the way we communicate in science.  Well Yes and No.

Yes, it has changed the way scientists communicate between themselves.  I don’t run to the journal stacks anymore when I want to know what’s going on in someone’s lab, I run to the lab blog.  Or I check the twitter feed… or I’ll look for someone else blogging about the research.  You learn a lot that way, and it is actually representative of what’s going on in the world – and the researcher’s opinions on a much broader set of topics.  That is to say, it’s not a static picture of what small set of experiments worked in the lab in 1997.

On the other hand, I don’t think that there are nearly enough bloggers making science accessible for lay people.  We haven’t made science more easily understood by those outside of our fields – we’ve just make it easier for scientists inside our own field to find and compare information.

I know there are a few good blogs out there trying to make research easier to understand, but they are few and far between.  I, personally, haven’t written an article trying to explain what I do for a non-scientist in well over a year.

So, yes, blogging has changed science communication, but as far as I can tell, we’ve only changed it for the scientists.

2 thoughts on “Is blogging revolutionizing science communication?

  1. Hi! I’m in agreement with you on the yes/no aspect of the ‘blogging is changing the nature of science communication’. BTW, I was on the panel about the Canadian Science Blogging Scene. Cheers, Maryse

    • Hi Maryse!

      Thanks for leaving the comment! I wish I’d been able to attend the panel. Somehow, I’ve yet to see anyone else raise the issue that we’re all communicating better between scientists, but haven’t really addressed how to help scientists communicate better with the public, but maybe it came up during that discussion. (EDIT: I should clarify – I’ve yet to see the two issues paired together, although I’ve seen them raised independently, despite the fact that they’re two sides of the same coin.) It’s something that I think all bloggers/scientists really need to start putting thought into.


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.