>benefits of obscurity?

Aug 09 2010 Published by under Uncategorized

>While I was out of town for vacation/conference, a lot of stuff happened on the blogosphere. New collectives at Sciencetopia and LabSpaces took off. The re-org not only took care of the exodus from Sb, but also picked up a whole lot of independent talent in its wake. I won't list names because I will inevitably miss some, but there are A LOT! This whole re-org got me thinking about how I feel about community on the blogosphere. I'm not so jaded as K8 at Academic Ecology wondering if this is an internet clique (I can't find this link anymore-did I dream it?). In fact, I think that there could be some really great things that would go along with being in one of these groups. On the other hand, I hope that this doesn't leave the independent-minded folks feeling like the last fat kid picked for kickball. Someone else (please remind me who said this! I can't find it anymore) made that analogy and it sort of cracked me up. OK, I admit. Coffee came out of my nose. If you are wondering, that is not pleasant.

But I digress. In a sort-of-related event, GMP got bored after a cannon-ball like splash onto the scene and left blogging, fully dismantling her blog. There was something of a manifesto posted as a farewell. Then there was nothing but BSOD. Until, after a few days, GMP made up with the internet and started up at a new space. I won't link to her new place, as she mentions wanting to toil in obscurity, at least for a while. I think it may be good in the long run that she came back. I like the idea of her ditching the preachy persona because I think that she could have some interesting things to say.

SO, on one hand there is a massive flocculating in the blogosphere. (side note: I LOVED this ref--but now I can't remember who said it. Please help me remember so that I can give appropriate credit). On the other hand, folks are trying to find a dark corner to hide in. I know, on the internet. Whatever. Together, these two happenings got me to thinking: what the hell am I doing here? I started blogging not to long ago. I can't even remember what my motivation was, but I suspect that it was largely fear-based. I'm just starting out on the tt, which is scary and a little lonely. I have found that there are some great people out here. And I get good advice from people that I KNOW do not have hidden agendas. This has been, I think, really valuable as I start out on the tenure track. Now I'm thinking that maybe I have something to contribute, too. I don't know. I certainly have a lot on my plate right now.

Anwho, I have clearly descended into navel-gazing. If anyone is listening, what do you think of the obscurity-community continuum?

6 responses so far

  • biochem belle says:

    >I've been blogging for just over a year now. I started in obscurity on Blogger and gradually built up a readership, largely owing to some linkage by PhysioProf. I think there can still be a strong sense of community even if you're an independent blogger-that's something I experienced over time. The LabSpaces blogging community has really just started, but I'm enjoying it there. In some ways, being part of a community pushes me to be more involved. At the same time, there are potential risks/disadvantages to collectives. One of the things we're discussing at LabSpaces is the size of the blogging community-not with a goal of exclusivity but out of concern good blogs getting lost in the noise. As always, Bora has some excellent posts about this very issue.I got a little verbose, but I guess what I'm saying is-There are pros and cons on both ends of the spectrum, but the great thing about the science blogosphere is the community built across independent bloggers and collectives.

  • Odyssey says:

    >As bb said, there are pros and cons. I started blogging eons ago and enjoyed the toiling in obscurity part for some years. Then I got blogrolled by DrugMonkey. And I slowly became part of something bigger. Now I blog for the community aspects. Not being a part of a collective doesn't exclude a blogger from that one iota. But I joined one anyway. 🙂

  • Anonymous says:

    >GMP? BSOD? Explain please! Thanks.

  • Gerty-Z says:

    >Sorry for the confusion, Anon. GMP is Geek Mommy Prof, who made quite a splash in the science blogging world (or at least the little part of it that I know) not so long ago. BSOD=blue screen of death

  • Kate says:

    >EcoGeoFemme of the Happy Scientist was the one who used the term "flocculating," I think... and I did talk in some comments about clique stuff, and then on my more recent post here: http://k8grrl.blogspot.com/2010/08/on-construction-of-online-identity.html

  • Gerty-Z says:

    >Kate: THANK YOU!!! It was driving me insane that I couldn't remember where I had seen that. Also, your online construction post is awesome. Count this among those times when the "reviewer" substantially improved the quality of this post. The link to the Flocculating post at happy scientist is: http://thehappyscientistblog.blogspot.com/2010/08/flocculating.html

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