Drafting the first post for a blog is a very daunting task, or so I have found. Since I started as a PhD student, I’ve had endless suggestions to write a blog from other academics, some with and some without their own. People would say “your writing will improve if you do this”, “You’re likely to increase your online presence”, and many other sound bites of that nature. I thought “Right! Let’s get started…”, but then nothing happened. Where was my bright spark? I had created the page with a witty title (I think so anyway) and was ready to get on with it, but nothing came. I didn’t know what to write about. I was a little apprehensive about how to actually do this thing my peers were suggesting I do. It just so happened that one of my colleagues is social media savvy and recommended I attend a talk about blogs by another blogger – Neuroskeptic, an anonymous blogger in the field of neuroscience. The details of the talk actually escape me now, but the one thing I did notice and had been indecisive about was whether to be anonymous or not. Retaining anonymity is like swings and roundabouts; what you lose in online presence associated with your name can be made up with being openly critical without having to worry about offending potential employers. On reflection I eventually decided that I won’t hide who I am; if people do not like what I have to say then tough luck for them. Science is supposed to be open to criticism and challenge, and I welcome this. In fact, I encourage it. Besides, I think it would be hard to remain anonymous anyway – prose is quite distinctive.
So, with the name, blog page, and content decided all I had to do was start writing. But, again, nothing came. My early attempts ended in the way many other conceptual blogs do, that is in the realms of imagination only. I’m now in the 3rd year of my PhD and have decided to give this another go, mainly due to the fact I feel more confident and actually have something to say! I guess I’m no longer afraid of people reading what I write and being afraid of the criticism, which is always the concern of anyone who wants to put their thoughts out there. I’ve decided that I don’t care what others have to say about my blog, because at the end of the day it’s a means for improving my writing and to start constructing an online presence.
The future of the world is within the network that is the internet, and I should get as involved with it as best I can – my reasons for this will appear in a future post. I guess this blog will also work as a diary of my thoughts that I can look back on and cringe in the future.
So the first blog post is all about why I decided to write a blog, even if it was short and vague. Here’s to many more posts about the science of mathematical and theoretical biology, politics, futurology, football, or in an all encapsulating term: the babble de jour.
Sum say, “You should write a blog”.
I say, “Yeah, why not?”.