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Defining Science Blogging

The Virginia Heffernan piece in the NYT Magazine about science blogs (link not necessary for the few people reading this post) has gotten a lot of traction thanks to science bloggers. The reason for this is it represented the opinion of a popular writer printed in a mass media publication, and so responding to it holds the promise of traffic. It also helps that Ms. Heffernan's opinions were not above reproach, giving critics and targets of the piece something to sink their teeth into. However, take that same article and post it word-for-word anonymously on some unknown blog and the reaction it would garner from the science blogging community would be...crickets. Why? Because on its own, Heffernan's article about science blogs is neither insightful, compelling or correct. So not only would it not inspire a response (assuming anyone would bother to read it in its entirety), it would not warrant a correction--were it posted by a nobody on a nowhere site. For this reason I take a dim view of the science bloggers validating Heffernan's opinions with a response. It's insulting to their core audience and it's not science blogging. Science blogging would sooner shine a light on a nobody on a nowhere site who says something of substance than pretend a know-nothing managed to light the science blogosphere on fire in spite of the fact that she was wrong about everything--all in trade for a few extra hits.

So there, I said it. In science blogging, blogging is second to science (read: substance).

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