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Posts Tagged ‘social media’

5 Things I’ve Learned From One Year of Blogging

May 30, 2011 3 comments

Happy Anniversary! A Quantum of Knowledge went online one year ago today!

It seems like the older you get, the shorter the years get. Because it certainly doesn’t seem like a year since I started blogging.

But it has been. 312 posts. 63,000 hits. Not to shabby :)

From what I’ve read, the majority of blogs die out in the first few months after creation. So how do you keep it going?

There are a few tidbits I’ve picked up over the past year that have not only kept me blogging, but kept me loving blogging.

1. Write about what YOU find interesting.

Too often I find myself trolling the news trying to find stories that I think others might be interested in. But this inevitably causes problems.

First, if I don’t find the subject interesting, I’m not going to do a good job writing about it.

Second, you never know what people will find interesting. If you try to pick topics based on what you think people will like, you are just playing a guessing game.

Stick with what you know. Because if you write about things you like and you find fascinating, you will write great posts that people will want to read and share with their friends.

2. Post OFTEN!

It doesn’t have to be a long post. If you are busy, treat your blog like a Twitter feed. Or just post a video you thought was funny. Just post SOMETHING!

Regular posts not only keep your readers coming back, but they keep you in the habit. Just like an exercise routine, you need to keep it up regularly in order to make it a habit.

After you keep a regular schedule for a few weeks, it will be a cinch to continue posting all the time!

3. Talk about yourself

Even if you write your blog anonymously, you should still talk about yourself.

What are your personal feelings on an issue? Have you been happy or sad lately? Did you just go on vacation? If so, where to?

In my case, even though I blog about science, I’ve found that some of my most popular posts were actually about me and not science news.

Whether it be where I spent my weekend, or my Top 10 Sci-Fi Movies, people seem to like hearing about my life. And I’m happy to oblige them.

Not only that, but I’ve found that personal anecdotes do wonders when trying to explain a complicated subject. Inserting a funny personal story into a technical post makes it much more readable.

4. Don’t be afraid to take a break now and then

If you haven’t blogged in a while, it can feel like a weight on your shoulders. You start to think,

“I haven’t posted in a while. I really should…but Dancing with the Stars is on…”

And the more days you miss, you more you feel like you should blog. But when you start feeling like you should, you really don’t want to.

So my advice? It’s ok to miss a few days of blogging. It’s even ok to miss a week or two. In fact, you should probably put the blog aside on purpose every now and then so you don’t get burned out!

And if you’ve intentionally taken a break from blogging, you will soon find that you miss it. You will want to blog again.

5. Do it because you love it

“Physics is like sex: sure, it may give some practical results, but that’s not why we do it.”
— Richard P. Feynman

The same goes for blogging. In my case, spreading the word about good science or disparaging pseudoscience may be in the best interest of the public; but that’s not why I do it.

I do it because I love writing. I love writing about other things that I love. Science, video games and other geekery, it’s all good.

And if you enjoy the fact that you are blogging, it will show through in your posts. People will be drawn to come back and keep reading your stuff.

So that’s it. That’s what I’ve learned. I hope you all have enjoyed the blog so far, and I hope you continue to enjoy it!

Special Oscar Edition!

February 27, 2011 Leave a comment

What on earth does a science/skeptical blog have to write about around Oscar time? With all the hype that surrounds the Academy Awards, which air tonight at 8:30 EST, it’s not surprising that coverage spills into areas of science, pseudoscience, technology and awesome. For example:

  • Filling the gap left by the death of Paul the psychic octopus, Heidi the cross-eyed opossum, who lives at a zoo in Leipzig, Germany, made her prediction for Best Actress on the Jimmy Kimmel show. She chose Natalie Portman for her role in ‘Black Swan’. This gave me great pleasure since I’ve had a crush on Natalie Portman ever since she was the only good thing about the Star Wars prequels.

  • The Economist wrote a short article on the science behind some speech impediments in honour of the success of ‘The King’s Speech’

  • 2 of the 5 nominated movies for Best Documentary deal with the environment. One of those films, called ‘Gasland‘, deals with hydraulic fracturing or “fracking” and prompted Scientific American to write a feature article about it.

  • By monitoring social media chatter from sites like Twitter and Facebook, the Meltwater Group has made their prediction of Oscar winners based on the number of mentions of a certain movie or actor/actress. Based on this data, the favourites are ‘The King’s Speech’ for Best Picture, James Franco for Best Actor, and Natalie Portman for Best Actress. 

  • And finally, the Best Picture nominees in LEGO form. You can see them all on Gawker, but here are my favourites:

127 Hours

Inception

The Fighter

How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love Twitter

August 14, 2010 2 comments

I used to be a Twitter hater. An anti-Twitite, if you will.

I thought it was stupid. I thought “Why do I care what people are doing at every moment of every day?” It made no sense!

Well, eventually I gave in to peer pressure and got myself a Twitter account. It was peer pressure, and it was also because I heard myself say “I don’t understand what the kids are doing these days!”

THAT really freaked me out.

So I got my own Twitter account, fully expecting to find it stupid, inconvenient and irrelevant. My tune changed quite shortly after that.

First I added some famous people. Neil Patrick Harris, Sarah Silverman, and Stephen Colbert were among the first.

@StephenAtHome provides insight into current events with a ridiculous right-wing perspective.

@ActuallyNPH provides updates on his life which I find interesting. This completely disproved my thoughts that I would find these updates irrelevant.

@SarahKSilverman gives hilarity, often with too much of a graphic nature.

And there was much more information waiting for me.

I get to know right away when West Jet has a seat sale, or when my favourite bloggers put up a new post.

Me being a science nerd, I kinda like the idea of knowing whats going on at CERN at all times too. Never know when the Higgs boson will be found!

I also like knowing when Bill Nye, my hero growing up, will be making a TV appearance.

So while my own Twitter following leaves something to be desired (I have 11 followers, roughly half of whom I believe are NOT real people), I’m working on increasing my Twitter presence.

(Oh yeah, feel free to follow me!)

So I apologize Twitter, I prejudged. I was afraid of new things, like 90 year old man who can’t work the debit machine.

Perhaps its having all my interests in one place that is the appeal. Perhaps its the fact the information is in (nearly) real-time. Or maybe its because I always wanted people to speak to me in 140 characters or less.

Whatever the reason, in the future I will have more of an open mind to social media and the like. Now if you’ll excuse me, I need to go check my Twitter.