One blog or two?

Jun 03 2010 Published by under Blogging

Occasional commenter Lorax has a question for his readers.

However, I am concerned about message. I do not want the interesting and important science to be diluted (to some potential readers) by the fact that I am an opinionated bastard. So, I have been considering starting a new blog that would contain the science- and education-oriented posts and maintaining this one until no one IWOTI.

It comes at the usual complaint about ScienceBlogs not being sufficiently science bloggy enough from a slightly different angle. I'm curious about the preferences of my readership- blog-wide, not just in reference to the DrugMonkey Experience.
Do you prefer to read single-message blogs, all things equal? Do you put up with the content that bores you to tears and just focus on what you enjoy? Or is the diversity of topics part of the appeal?
Don't forget to tell Lorax what you think.

21 responses so far

  • Schwa says:

    Scrolling past posts I'm not interested in is really, really easy.

  • k8 says:

    I'm a one blog kinda gal. Put it all out there.

  • Art says:

    One blog.
    The science is just as much about the human experience in and out of science as the reporting of - we did this and got this result. You could sum up the work of Marie Curie in one line about radium. But doing so would overlook the larger story. The context that tells you about science, the methods of science, society, the human condition, struggle and sacrifice.

  • Chris says:

    Separate blogs. My mother doesn't want to read my posts about science, and my colleagues don't want to read my posts about movie reviews or my personal life.

  • cicely says:

    Diversity is good; scrolling is easy.

  • PalMD says:

    Three. i vote three.

  • DSKS says:

    One blog. The Jekyll and Hyde thing can be alleviated with tags.

  • Jen says:

    I like variety in a blog. I have equally-strong interests in research, education, work-life balance, and other topics. I read FSP, Isis, DM, (the sadly departed) ScienceWomen and others because each one touches on different topics.

  • Angela says:

    One blog and the great mixture of everything that goes into life. Its not hard to not read the stuff that doesn't interest you.

  • Lorax says:

    Christ, another off-subject post by drugmonkey. I thought this was a blog about drugs or monkeys or even monkeys on drugs.
    Needless to say I was pleasantly surprised to be the subject of a DM post, and then immediately concerned when you ended with "Don't forget to tell Lorax what you think."
    That almost always gets me in trouble.
    Thanks for the input DM readers (except PalMD, he can take his 3 and well you know).

  • Gingerale says:

    One.

  • Isis the Scientist says:

    Yaaaaaaawn. I'm bored.
    Anyone seen my navel?

  • One blog - as has been adroitly pointed out already, you can always skip the ones you don't like. Maintaining 2 blogs is kind of a pain. Besides those "off-topic" (I mean, it is after all your blog, so don't you get to decide what's on-topic?) posts give a feel for the person(s) behind the blog, which is part of the fun of blogs.

  • Pascale says:

    In general, I agree with the one blog thing, especially if there is a whole bunch of audience overlap.
    Exception: if you want to blog to entirely different audiences. For example, my current blog is aimed at adults. If I want to post stuff for parents and children (a project under consideration), I would start another way separate blog (too many f-bombs in my current posts and comments). And I would try to keep PhysioProf away from the new one.

  • AnyEdge says:

    I keep a very multifaceted blog, in which I discuss my alcoholism recovery, my work as a D.Sc. health care delivery engineer, and now, my impending divorce. Along with sabermetrics from time to time, occasional politics. So I'm solidly on the side confounding my message with nonsense.

  • And I would try to keep PhysioProf away from the new one.

    You can run, but you can't fucking hide!!!!

  • Cloud says:

    Well, since I write a blog that wanders all over the place, I'm clearly a one blog sort of person.
    But I do occasionally wonder what goes through the mind of someone clicking through from a comment on one of the science or pharma industry blogs I read when they land on one of my (many) more mommyblog type posts.
    I thought about separating things out, but I hardly have time to keep the one blog going, so I decided that I could live with the guilt of confusing and/or disappointing some science blog readers.

  • brook says:

    Didn't Bob Marley already answer this question?

  • I have thought about this very question many times over the last four-and-a-half years as my blog has oscillated in message and the need for protection of my identity has evolved.
    About three months into starting Terra Sigillata and even before we were invited to ScienceBlogs, I decided to start a local interest blog that was still under a pseudonym but would speak of stuff in my daily life. But I barely have the energy to write one blog (or even read yours). It lasted about six months (but is still live) and hasn't been updated in more than three years. Funny thing was I ended up starting to link to stuff in Terra Sig and vice versa because I realized that some ScienceBlogs readers actually care about my corner of the world because 1) a surprisingly large number of people trained here, not just US but international, 2) what happens here with higher ed, racism, music & the arts, and economic redevelopment are good examples that I like to read on other blogs, and 3) I want to show that the South has some fantastic culture & technology and that we Southerners are not a bunch of toothless, racist illiterates. (Well, I have accumulated a fair bit of dental work in my day.)
    If I were a real "pro" - say, like Ed Yong has become - I'd just have a professional, one purpose blog. Then, if I wanted a personal blog, I'd just start another for that. However, part of my motivation for starting our blog was for outreach and to help the general public know that scientists are not just unidimensional creatures unable to communicate with regular folks. I also share your sense of responsibility for giving back to The Boss - the American taxpayer - for those of us who live on state higher ed support and/or federal research grants.
    I hesitate to make inferences regarding those who read Terra Sig but I feel that a good number of people enjoy some of the non-science or tangential stuff - in fact, our most highly-read posts are those with a personal slant (live-blogging my vasectomy, eulogizing my alcoholic father, speaking at last weekend's Henrietta Lacks gravestone dedication), so I tend to think that the readers who've come around over the last few years seem to like those kinds of things. I like to think that people are interested in knowing how my father's alcoholism and my mother's battle with breast cancer informed my choices in life and in a scientific career.
    And, yes, I am quietly narcissistic - so there, I said it.
    This is about as hard-ass as I get but a blog is what you want it to be - no one gets to define what it should be but you. The readership who likes what you do comes along exactly because they like what you do or, as Schwa started off the comment thread, they can scroll past posts where they roll their eyes and say, "Not again, Abel." Yes, yes, I quite often write about stuff I think that our beloved readers will like, but I never shy away from saying what's on my mind because I want to journal some thoughts (although I just looked back and found some personal posts where I put in a sentence justifying the inclusion of such a post on a "science" blog.)
    So now that I have a comment longer than your post, I'll go put it on the blog to ask current readers and be sure to refer them back to you and Lorax. Great question, great discussion.

  • Ed says:

    I like different media for different uses. Blog for pure science. Twitter for science + all sorts of other crap.

  • gelf says:

    Depends on the day. Some days I want to read every scrap, some days I don't. Sorry that doesn't help answer it, but I'm a lurker anyway. Just go ahead with whatever you're doing....

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