scio11: blogs, bloggers, and boundaries

Blogs, Bloggers and Boundaries? - Marie-Claire Shanahan, Alice Bell, Ed Yong, Viv Raper

AB: arsenic life – nasa spokesperson – not engage without peer review. But this is really a spam filter issue – too tight you miss things you want to hear, too loose and you’re overwhelmed by the junk. The scientists need some sort of filter.

Or think of science as a map (a la Gieryn). The world benefits from specialization – we can’t all be specialists in everything so we rely on trust and on shortcuts to navigate different spaces.

Boundaries keep people out but also create shared spaces inside. Jargon and in jokes. Jargon makes in groups, in jokes are an expression of friendship but also make people feel left out.

How do we calibrate our spam filter. Be clever about boundaries – who’s on the other side, do we want to speak to them? are the boundaries intentional

EY: strength of the authors conclusions are dependent on the community’s ability to explain differently. example foxes and magnetic north – ways to test and ways to interpret data.

Blogged about half male/female chickens. Got contacted by a farmer who has such an animal – connected him to the scientist. They formed a research collaboration across two continents.

The farmer said contacted EY bcs detailed but understandable information found through web search.

He does a who are you thread on his blog every year- and this helps him determine what to write and how to write it.

M-CS: boundaries > boundary layers in fluid and what degree of mixing and places where different fluids come together. blogs give us many different kinds of boundaries: information, people,

people: using blogs as an information source in a one way communication. her elementary education students didn’t think of blogs as conversational. newspaper comments – speaking to each other, no mixing,

VR: some more practical tips – instead of defining terms repeatedly in text, use a mouseover plain language glossary. picking terms that are sensitive to the audience you’re looking for. Had her mother read her blog – learned a lot.

EY: – you can alienate someone because you’re not in their very specific area of science – your language will be different from theirs (gave an example from the oil spill with a geophysicist and engineer – maybe on an agu blog?). you may be reaching a much smaller audience than you think

from the audience – blogs are intimidating to some people. blogging is a subculture in and of itself

even if you write for a general audience, commenters might be very sophisticated and use jargon and poke holes in things and intimidate other commenters.

how to keep and engage people who stumble across your blog when searching for answers to a specific question?

different crowd following DSN on the facebook page than at the blog itself. younger.

ey had the same experience – comments on facebook when none on blogs, but they’re often reacting to the title or at most first paragraph so you have to be more careful with titles and ledes.

and ran out of battery


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