“Goals of getting undergrads to write blog posts? Improve their science comm or improve their understanding of science? Or both?#scio11”
-from @colo_kea on the Twittersphere
As an undergrad that attempts to blog about science topics, I would like to say that the goal of science blogging should be both to improve the communication and understanding of science. However, I’d like to add an addendum to the above tweet. Instead of getting undergrads to just write blog posts, they should also be involved in Twitter. Blogging when combined with Twitter is far more effective at these goals than it would be on its own.
Through Twitter, I’ve made some fantastic connections with other geologists and professionals in their chosen fields. It’s a lot like having open access to the faculty lounge where I can drop in when I want to and ask questions or share thoughts. When combined with my blog, I have an outlet where I can formalize my thoughts and questions in a less restrictive format and receive critiques to help bolster my understanding of science. Without Twitter, my blog wouldn’t have the same benefit for me that it currently produces.
As I write about science topics I’m forced to learn the material and verify the validity of what I’m writing. It’s basically like writing a research paper and the geotweeps are there to offer corrections and answer my questions. In this way, I strengthen my understanding of scientific principles and I have the chance to communicate those findings with guidance from professionals. This ensures that I’m not espousing quackery and psuedoscience as real science.
From my perspective as an undergrad, the goals of blogging are clear and the benefits tangible. For me, the real question is how do we get more undergrads involved in the blogging process?