Last week, Dynamic Ecology blogger Jeremy Fox wrote a post about the state of science blogging and raised an interesting question: Despite a saturated blogs market, why are there so few ecology blogs? In it, he notes that blogs peaked in 2009, but science blogs written by academics are doing pretty well. Still, an active blogosphere for and by ecologists does not exist–in contrast to some other fields, like economics. My ears perked up immediately. The UnderStory, whose audience has been growing steadily, still has room to grow further! Paige Jarreau, who studies science blogging, was even more positive in a response post–she contends that Fox is wrong when he says blogging is dead. Rather, she says, it’s evolving.
But, I think Fox missed a point about why ecologists are not blogging much, and I did not even see it mentioned in the many comments responding to the post: Ecologists have ample opportunities to do outreach for free. Most ecologists I know volunteer in some outreach capacity on top of all they do for their research. In a perpetually underfunded field, ecologists are some of the busiest scientists I know. They may just not have time and not see enough definitive benefits to parcel out some of that precious time.
For those who are interested in launching or improving their ecology-themed blog, if there’s one blog to turn to as an example, it’s Dynamic Ecology. In a recent analysis of science blogs by Jarreau, Fox’s blog was the ecology-themed one most often read by other science bloggers. But there were several others in the web that also showed high amounts of interconnectedness, including Small Pond Science and Southern Fried Science. Blog on.