Promoting baby-bloggers

By Razib Khan | January 19, 2011 1:53 pm

Today I received an email from an academic with whom I am acquainted about how to get a successful blog going. Obviously the main necessary condition is actually to keep plugging away.  Though that’s not sufficient. Jason Goldman has a post up, In the Wake of Science Online (#scio11): Supporting New Bloggers. I don’t believe in supporting new bloggers just because. They have to be good. But assuming that the goodness criterion is met, what next? Last spring when I was on vacation I noticed that Jason Goldman retweeted one of my posts on Jewish genetics. I knew Jason’s blog from ResearchBlogging. Additionally, he moved into the ScienceBlogs neighborhood just as I moved out. But the topicality of our weblogs are far enough apart that the retweet got my attention.

Let’s be frank: if you’re interested in the material that I write about on this weblog, and there’s not an obvious reason you should be (e.g., your blog is not focused on human evolutionary genetics), I suspect that you are an interesting person as well (at least to me). I am drawn to open-minded people with broad disciplinary interests. Jason was an easy case. He shot up to prominence relatively quickly, and is affiliated with ScienceBlogs. Consider the evolutionary linguistics weblog A Replicated Typo. The content meets the goodness criterion, but the subject domain is somewhat at a remove from my own, though they are nice overlaps as well (a general evolutionary frame). James Winters, the puppet-master of that group weblog, has both of the Gene Expression‘s on his weblog. That got my attention. It just seems that that sort of thing tickles a reciprocity reflex in me.

Also, another way to get my attention is to leave comments here, and link back to your own weblog. Again, the comments have to be good. You have to be smart, not seem smart. I privilege caveat laden kludgey prose with some substance over slick punchy stylistic snark. Though to be honest, I’m human enough that nearly prurient oversharing probably gets my attention too…I dropped The Superficial from my feeds a while back, and that needs itching.

  • Jason Goldman

    Agreed. I hope it was clear in my post that the content has to be good, but even with awesome content, you can languish away for months or years in relative obscurity. You have to be a good writer, and then sell it. The way I see it, our responsibility, inasmuch as we’ve already “made it,” is to be open to being sold to, so to speak.

  • Razib Khan

    you are the picture of clarity on that mon frere!

  • EcoPhysioMichelle

    I think my bad habit of over-sharing is one of the few remainders from my college days holding me back from true adulthood.

  • Miss Cellania

    I have to disagree with your theory because I AM interested in the material you post and I am NOT a science blogger nor even a scientist, yet there is nothing at all interesting about me. I understand that a sample of one proves nothing, but anecdotal science is all the rage.

  • Razib Khan

    #4, the post was aimed at new bloggers who want to get the word out about their blog.

  • Pingback: Friday Fluff – January 21st, 2011 | Gene Expression | Discover Magazine()


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About Razib Khan

I have degrees in biology and biochemistry, a passion for genetics, history, and philosophy, and shrimp is my favorite food. In relation to nationality I'm a American Northwesterner, in politics I'm a reactionary, and as for religion I have none (I'm an atheist). If you want to know more, see the links at


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