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.”

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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.