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What’s the most important feature of a successful science blog?

Producing a blog with a typewriter

The good ol’ blog, a stalwart of Web 2.0. (iStockphoto/malerapaso)

 By James Dacey

The dramatic rise in traffic on social-networking sites such as Facebook and Twitter in recent years could have left the good “old-fashioned” blog looking a bit like a frumpy relic of the noughties. But I’m convinced that this is not yet the case.

While it is true that we science writers are becoming Face-Twits in our droves, it seems that many of us still see the blogosphere as an important forum for discussion and debate. I view it as a place where you can express yourself candidly in a more freeform style, and do so without stripping away all the complexities of an issue to nothing more than a witty 140-character soundbite #BitterJournoTakesSwipe@Twitter.

This week, our blog has been revamped, mostly through improvements behind the scenes, the details of which I will most certainly spare you here. But in addition to all the IT graft, this re-launch of sorts has also inspired us to reflect on what we are trying to achieve with the Physics World blog and the role of science blogging in general. Among our modest aims, we will continue to bring you regular articles in the Reithian tradition of both informing and entertaining in equal measure. We also hope that these writings – on the issues closest to our professional and personal hearts – will inspire you readers to participate through discussions on our comment boards.

You can join in the discussion right away by taking part in this week’s Facebook poll:

What’s the most important feature of a successful science blog?

Scientific authority of the blogger

Quality of writing

A blogger’s passion for their subject(s)

Range of issues covered

Frequency of articles

Number and quality of reader comments

The inclusion of multimedia

Feel free to explain your choice by posting a comment either on this blog post or on our Facebook page.

In last week’s poll, we asked you a question relating to the famous thought experiment of quantum mechanics: “Is Schrödinger’s cat dead or alive?” The outcome was conclusive, as 67% of respondents  adopted what is seen by most to be the orthodox view, that the poor kitty exists in the purgatory state of being both dead and alive at the same time. 17% of voters took the “many worlds” interpretation that the cat could be both completely dead and completely alive in separate universes.

12% took the “classical” view that the cat must be either dead or alive, while the remaining 5% took the mysterious final option that “another outcome is possible”. I would be very interested to know what these other outcomes are! There was also a lively discussion on Facebook  about the question, including this poetic comment from a  follower called Mark Taylor: “Quantum physics wriggles and shimmies and just refuses to be described in everyday classical terms that we can easily comprehend.”

Thank you for all your participation and we hope to hear from you again this week.

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  1. Radhakrishnamurty Padyala

    Similar to the question on Schrodinger’s cat we have others: Maxwell’s Demon, Gibbs Paradox.
    Polls on these topics will help to sort out, clarify or at least define the problems in simpler ways.

  2. Trackback: Blog -


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