[Updated! See bottom of post.]
As I continue to bake today, yearning for just a few minutes in Senator Inhofe’s igloo, I’ve been keeping tabs on a saddening train wreck over at my old haunt, Scienceblogs. Before I brought the Loom to Discover, I blogged at Scienceblogs, which was hosted by the folks behind the now-defunct (?) Seed Magazine. There was a lot I enjoyed about that time, and I still keep tabs on a number of excellent bloggers still at Scienceblogs. Except that, as of today, a lot of them are no longer there.
Here’s the quick story: the powers that be at Scienceblogs thought it would be a good idea to sell Pepsi a blog of its own on the site, where its corporate scientists could tell the world about all the great nutrition science Pepsico is doing.
Yes. Really. I’m totally sober as I type this.
I first heard about this in a post by Peter Lipson, a doctor who writes a blog at SB. He offers a common reaction from a lot of the bloggers there: they don’t like what Pepsi stands for, and they don’t like Scienceblogs giving the company an opportunity to dole out their PR to readers alongside blogs that have built up their reputations for years, for the most part for very little pay.
Yes. Really. After. I swear, I am still sober.
It’s not an inspiring reply. For one thing, Bly tells us how hard it is these days to make journalism pay. Um, you don’t have to tell bloggers that. For another, Bly seems to justify the Pepsi affair by saying Scienceblogs has hosted blogs from corporations before. Somehow that means this new situation is okay. I can’t stop thinking of the line from As You Like It, “More villain thou.”
Even if you set aside the paradox of Pepsi telling us about eating right (Step 1: maybe put down that 10 liter bottle of Pepsi?), this just doesn’t make editorial sense. If you want to sustain respect and trust in readers, you simply can’t do this sort of thing. John Rennie and Paul Raeburn explain this Journalism 101 lesson.
What I find particularly galling about this whole affair is that bloggers who don’t want to associate themselves with this kind of nonsense have to go through the hassle of leaving Scienceblogs and setting up their blog elsewhere. The technical steps involved may be wonderfully easy now (export files, open account on WordPress, import), but the social steps remain tedious. Take it from me, someone who has moved his blog three times over the past six years: your readers lose your trail, and it takes a long time for Google to start helping them. These folks did nothing to deserve this irritation.
So let me do my small part here. Over the next couple weeks, I plan to build a list of bloggers who refused to drink the Kool Aid Pepsi who left [failed joke!] and tell you where to go to read them now. Please let me know about bloggers not yet on the list in the comment thread. And I will update my blog roll when I have a free minute.
[Update: I’m trying to keep up with the exodus, but you may also want to cross-check with Skull in the Star’s list.]
BLOGGERS ON THE MOVE (UPDATED AS I GET NEWS):
[Note–On August 2, a bunch of bloggers from scienceblogs and elsewhere formed a new network called Scientopia. I’ve marked some of them below, but be sure to see the full list of Scientopia bloggers here.]
Adventures in Science and Ethics: On newly formed network, Scientopia
Drug Monkey: Scientopia
Eruptions: Now at Big Think (although not due to Pepsigate)
Jonah Lehrer: Moving to Wired this summer (a plan that was in effect before Pepsi popped on the scene)
Matthew Nisbet: Now at Big Think (although not due to Pepsigate)
Voltage Gate: On Scientopia
I’m curious if this will cause some people who simply put their blogs on hiatus to stick around at SB, or if some bloggers will even return from self-imposed exile. Or perhaps this was the last straw for some. Please tell your story in the comment thread, and I’ll update this list as necessary.
Links to this Post
- Rethinking the PepsiCo / ScienceBlogs affair « CMBR | July 7, 2010
- Blogger vs. Pepsi, Science vs. Shill: Wie ein Wissenschafts-Blog-Netzwerk sich selbst zerstört | Werbeblogger – Weblog über Marketing, Werbung und PR » Blog Archiv » Blogger vs. Pepsi, Science vs. Shill: Wie ein Wissenschafts-Blog-Netz | July 7, 2010
- ScienceBlogs + PepsiCo: Are we overreacting? | Cosmopolitanaut | Dave Mosher: Science Journalist, Web Nerd | July 7, 2010
- *gurgle* Scienceblogs *gurgle* « a simple prop | July 7, 2010
- on science and ethics | supernaut | July 8, 2010
- Pepsi, We Hardly Knew Ye! | The Loom | Discover Magazine | July 8, 2010
- Neuron Culture - Why I’m Staying Gone from ScienceBlogs | July 8, 2010
- [Avian Flu Diary] Solidarity For Science Bloggers | Influenza Virus Mashup | July 8, 2010
- Oh, Pepsi, What Hast Thou Wrought? | The Loom | News | July 8, 2010
- Pepsi, We Hardly Knew Ye! | The Loom | News | July 8, 2010
- The Future Of - Blogging as Scholarship | July 8, 2010
- Soda [The Frontal Cortex] » iThinkEducation.net! | July 9, 2010
- No-Brainer « Occluded Sun | July 9, 2010
- Pepsigeddon: why bloggers shouldn’t be paid | July 9, 2010
- The Scienceblogs fiasco and the future of Myrmecos « Myrmecos Blog | July 10, 2010
- Ataraxia Theatre » Archive » The Reaction | July 11, 2010
- Neuron Culture — Where the ScienceBlog exodees went | July 12, 2010
- Setting up camp « Brian Switek | July 12, 2010
- The PepsiGate linkfest « A Blog Around The Clock | July 18, 2010
- Herding cats, ethically « Evolving Thoughts | July 19, 2010
- Word of the day: Advertorial « info-fetishist | July 20, 2010
- An Open Invitation to Seed’s Ex-Sciencebloggers | The Intersection | Discover Magazine | July 20, 2010
- An Open Invitation to PZ Myers | Thinking Critically | July 20, 2010
- [Avian Flu Diary] Maryn McKenna’s New Digs | Influenza Virus Mashup | July 20, 2010
- Reimagining Science Networks - The Quantum Pontiff | July 20, 2010
- The end of an era? « I Love Science, Really | July 20, 2010
- ScienceBlogs has good blogs | Gene Expression | Discover Magazine | July 20, 2010
- the amazing, shrinking science blogging network « weird things | July 20, 2010
- Yawn! Yawn! Yawn! Yawn! Yawn! Contagious Yawn! [The Thoughtful Animal] » iThinkEducation.net! | July 20, 2010
- #SBFail « Evolving Thoughts | July 20, 2010
- Opining Online » Reason #18 For Not Blogging Regularly | July 21, 2010
- The Word You are Looking for is “Exodus” « The Finch and Pea | July 23, 2010
- Blowout at ScienceBlogs | Giovanna Di Sauro | July 26, 2010
- Science blogs and ecosystem disturbance « Wild Muse | July 28, 2010
- What Life Science Social Media Marketers Can Learn From ScienceBlog’s ‘PepsiGate’ | Biotechnology and Life Science Marketing Consulting: Comprendia | July 30, 2010
- Letter from SciFoo: The joys and sorrows of the Unconference | The Loom | Discover Magazine | August 3, 2010
- I’m a Scientist and I’m Boycotting Pepsi « Science and the Media | August 8, 2010
- I’m a Science Blogger Boycotting Pepsi « Science and the Media | August 8, 2010
- I’m a Science Blogger Boycotting Pepsi « Philosophically Disturbed | August 8, 2010
- Networks Upon Networks! | The Loom | Discover Magazine | September 1, 2010
- Science blog networks now officially kudzu-esque | The Loom | Discover Magazine | September 15, 2010
- The Effect of Pseudonymity on Blogger Credibility « CMBR | February 23, 2011
- Blogs a science communication student might like | through the looking glass | August 11, 2011
- Evolutions in Scholarship – Blogging as Scholarship | May 15, 2012
- Keep shouting. You never know who is listening. | This View of Life | May 31, 2012
- Signifying interest | | July 20, 2012