Why I should blog (again):

An eternal (okay, more like for the past few months) internal conversation about why I should return to blogging:

  • I can regularly log a word count that might make me feel better about myself as a writer. On the other hand, the actual words might make me feel worse about myself as a writer.
  • It’ll let me direct my creative energy into something productive. Or I’ll waste my creative energy on a non-paying, non-career advancing and time-consuming side project.
  • Because it’ll be fun! You know, the agonizing kind of writing fun.
  • To connect with cool, like-minded people on the Internet (because that happens, right?). May have to dodge the stray sexist, annoying comment (annoying=best case scenario in this realm), but hey, don’t rule out the chance that the writing is so mundane and of so little consequence that every person on the planet refuses to acknowledge its existence.
  • It could lead to more writing opportunities. Even though the year is 2016 and not 2006, really, who can tell the future?

Well, in the way that most things are decided, arbitrarily and against my best interest, it’s been decided! I’m going to start blogging again. Or at least tell my friends I’m going to and then feel guilty after more than a week passes from this post and I have nothing in the works. It’s fine, I feel guilty all the time already, what’s one more thing? This is going to be fun.*

*See #3

All quiet on the blogging front

You may have noticed that I’m falling behind on my blogging and I’m starting to feel guilty about it, so here’s my defensive explanatory post.

So what have I been doing? Lots of thinking, listening and learning. This week Wired released 101 Signals: Best Reporters, Writers, and Thinkers on the Internet, with no chemists making the cut. See Arr Oh’s post “Hey Wired, why no chemistry love?” and the comments  pretty much sum up the chemblogosphere’s reaction. The twitter conversations I’ve seen are different iterations of “damn, that’s cold” to “how did we get here” to “why does this keep happening” to “what are we going to do about it.” Good stuff and I don’t think I need to rehash the convo here.

Point is, all of us chemistry bloggers obviously think something has to be done/are doing something about chemistry outreach. I think science communication works best when you take a strategy that’s comfortable for you and also personally think it’s the most effective one.

So I’ve been busy making sure I can bring something solid to the party. I started the HTML/CSS unit on Codecademy, which is sweet, thanks to everyone for their tips on where beginners could get their webpage design feet wet. Been watching lots of tutorials on photoshop, video-editing, animations (totally inspired by Domics) and GIFs. Also, can’t wait for next week because my science journalism class starts, which I’m very lucky that my PI is letting me take.

Whoa, somehow this post went from “my bad for not posting” to “hey look at all the stuff I’m doing.” Let’s end with “I think chemistry communication is important and to be successful, we need to get creative. The tools are there for anyone with a bit of time and a computer.”

Here We Go Again

For those of you following along, a few weeks ago I decided to go on summer hiatus from blogging. But after some re-evaluation of my engagements and priorities, it became clear that I really wanted to redouble my efforts here. It’s mostly for selfish reasons seeing that I get a lot of pleasure from sharing science-y stuff and hope to one day make a career out of it, so really the more practice the better.

So before I get back to business, a bit of fun. The decent amount of free time on my hands this week, only by grad school standards, has been mostly consumed by LOTR extended version. If you don’t know immediately what LOTR stands for, go fix that. For everyone else’s viewing pleasure..

“One ring to rule them all, One ring to find them, One ring to bring them all, and in the darkness bind them”

Image

[Image: http://www.fanpop.com/clubs/lord-of-the-rings/images/34472844/title/ring-photo]

Summer Break

While I wholeheartedly intended to maintain this blog with regular posts, it’s become quite clear that I’ve got one too many plates spinning. So I’m putting the blog temporarily on hold and though this site was only just getting started, I’ve really enjoyed it and thanks to any visitors out there!

I will be writing regularly at Catalysis Science & Technology’s blog so check me out there for synopses on their fantastic advance articles. I’m also excited to start a science writing internship at a new women’s website that launches next week so stay tuned for more details on that =) And even though lab can be painful at times, I’ve realized it’s still important to me to put my best efforts into being a diligent researcher and making it work. So long for now.. and we’ll see where this summer takes me!

-Tien

GO DO IT

I’ve been waffling back and forth for a few weeks now trying to figure out the ideal format, content and tone for a hilarious and groundbreaking blog that’s going to take the scientific world by storm, leaving scientists and non-scientists alike clamoring for more. No small task.. but I’m sensing the vibe that friends and family are growing tired of circling this topic as the only thing I seem to be able to settle upon is that it must include words, pictures and specifically, the word science. Took me days to decide on a background color scheme (“make it blue, no make it pink” – Sleeping Beauty quote, not a statement on unconscious gender bias, will cross that bridge when I get to it)

Luckily, last night I attended a talk by NYTimes columnist Thomas Friedman as part of The Bryan Series hosted by Guilford College (the alma mater of my partner, who coincidentally is also currently diving headfirst into starting a politically themed blog, will dutifully promote when given the signal). Friedman, a Pulitzer Prize winning journalist, finally provided me with the impetus to put pen to paper (or fingertips to keyboard for the nit-picky). He gave a highly streamlined, personable and persuasive talk revolving around the thesis of his 2005 book “The world is flat,” which analyzes globalization and America’s future in this “hyper-connected” world. BTW, this book was published before Facebook AND twitter was a phenomena, so we are now living in a #hyper-connected world (I make no effort to include Facebook in a clever parallel because as my 16 year old brother Andrew says “Facebook is dead” – foolish or prophetic? I have a feeling we’ll find out in the next couple of years).

I was so absolutely captivated by this talk, the details of which I’m not yet sure I should dedicate a blog post. Point was, when I left the auditorium, I was dying to share this story, in fact, I kept having to refocus my attentions on Friedman as I found myself sketching a blog post in my mind and considering all possible strategies that would help me best relay this intricate thesis to any number of my friends in such a way that, not only would they be compelled to bring it up in conversation, they’d have all the relevant and most interesting tidbits to analyze and disperse it to others.  I thought, this is exactly what I want to accomplish, just transplanted into the realm of science, which in all its forms, has always intrigued me to no end.

And as if that experience wasn’t enough to get the wheels turning, my fortune cookie tonight from my favorite take-out Chinese place read:

Fortune cookie

 Well universe, point taken.