Wednesday, August 13, 2014

Twitterpated, The Sequel

I've been neglecting you, I know.
Part of it is this new media - twitter and, in a way, facebook - and the demands of it. I make a point of posting something every day, which, it turns out, is difficult to sustain. My facebook page now has over 300 followers, and I feel that I owe them something (this is not necessarily a bad thing), so each day I find news stories about science and link them. My twitter handle has only 33 followers, however, but finding content to pass along is somewhat easier. The difficulty with twitter is finding something unique to say, instead of merely forwarding what others have already posted. Each tweet must stand alone, be self-sufficient and self-explanatory (at least cursorily), and be interesting enough that someone might care to read it or share it with others. My blog, on the other hand - and you know who you are - has about half a dozen readers.
Now, I'm not fooling myself into thinking that 300+ people like my facebook page because they really like it and care about what I have to share. I think that the majority of those people have either agreed to follow my page because I know them personally and harassed them into it, or else they are strangers who accidentally liked my page because it's the name of that song by The Killers (that song knocked me from #2 in a Google search to pages behind a nearly infinite number of youtube videos and lyrics sites... grumble grumble). But maybe I can do something positive given those circumstances - maybe if I share enough stories about cool science facts and discoveries, things that we've learned over the years (evolution, climate change, and neurology come to mind), some of it will get through. Maybe someone out there will be chatting with her friends over coffee and recall seeing some news story about how scientists built a self-folding robot, and they'll discuss how neat that is, and maybe she'll take some engineering courses in college. Ok, a bit optimistic perhaps, but the point is valid. Maybe I can make a positive difference, however small.
There is one other reason why I have been neglecting my blog, however, and it answers the question you probably have right now: "if you do want to make a difference, why should that involve twitter and facebook, but not blogger?" It's a valid question. The answer is simple: health. (There is one additional but less important answer: summers are always busier, with interns and conferences and so forth.) Blogging requires a lot more effort than does retweeting photos from NASA, and lately I've not been well enough to have the energy to do it. Without going into detail, this health issue has actually been a real struggle for me. I want to write - desperately - but I very often find that I can't.
Does it matter to anyone but myself? Probably not. I write mostly for my own benefit, so there's very little (if any) global impact if I stop. This is why I've concentrated what energy I do have on the upkeep of MAB on facebook instead of here. It (potentially) matters to more people. (NB: this is not an underhanded ploy to garner empty compliments!)
So that's that. I've let myself become twitterpated because it's less work than being bloggerpated. I am a limited resource (even more so with the health issue) and so I must take care to delegate my effort. But for all that, I enjoy blogging far more than posting news stories on facebook. So I won't completely give it up.