You may or may not have noticed that my usually very regular blogging has been sporadic at best for a while, and that currently I am blogging a lot more again. Do you want to know why?
You might know that I am currently working in science communication research. And one of my current research interests is how science blogs contribute to science outreach, specifically what motivation bloggers have for writing blog posts, what their goals are with their blogs, and how they determine whether their blogging is successful.
And while doing a literature review on that topic and thinking more and more deeply about it, I have come to realize all the ways in which my blog doesn’t match the design criteria from the literature, nor my goals as a science communicator guide my writing style or my choice of topics. For a while I struggled with that — if I am thinking about blogging so much anyway, shouldn’t this blog be a best practice example so that other people don’t have to read scientific literature about blogs as I do, but can just read my blog and take on whatever they like about it? And shouldn’t I have clear goals in terms of learning outcomes connected to my blog? Or define a persona, a typical user, that I am writing for? And, seeing that I spend quite a lot of time on this blog, shouldn’t it have an impact, spark thoughts or discussions, make the world a better place?
When I started thinking about the persona thing, I realised that I know who is reading this, and who I picture when I am writing. Hence I know who I am writing for: For my oceanographer friends, who like looking at oceanography from my perspective and who enjoy seeing the wonders of oceanography on a puddle or in a plastic cup. For my non-oceanographer friends who find it interesting that there are people weird enough to be this fascinated by water. For my family who is still reading this.
And finally I realised that I don’t really care that this blog isn’t a best practice example for science outreach. Because that’s not my motivation for blogging on this blog (though it is on others). And that not every minute of my waking time has to have a tangible outcome — sometimes it’s ok to just do something as a hobby with no purpose other than enjoying the process.
I am writing here because I enjoy writing and curating a collection of my photos, because I want to have an easily-accessible archive of my thoughts on and pictures of water, and because I like sharing this with my friends and everybody else who is as fascinated by water as I am. But first and foremost, even though I am happy to share it with anyone who enjoys it and even though I am super excited to discuss water with anyone who is interested, this is my blog that I write for myself, not for any audience and for no other purpose than that I enjoy doing it.
And I guess once the pressure of writing a best-practice example blog was off, it became so much more fun again, and now we are back with full force! :-)