Brief thoughts on blogging
Soon I’ll be off the blogosphere. Will I be back? (A question relevant to all of maybe two or three people.) I have mixed feelings about whether it is wise for a PhD student to moonlight as a blogger.
On the one hand, it’s a great way to connect with the physics community. The way that physics bloggers have been able to share news, advice, and commentary has already changed—in a largely positive way—how this generation of physicists approach their craft. On a personal level, blogging has been a tool to help me codify my thoughts. Many of my physics-related posts were exercises in how to present topics effectively and later made their way into my presentations and write-ups. Once in a while someone will comment on something they think is neat, and that always makes me happy.
On the other hand, a prominent blogger once offered the advice that it’s dangerous to blog without tenure. There is a caricatured image of grad students as working 200% of the time. While this is clearly not true in practice, it still doesn’t look great when you hit a ‘rough patch’ in your research but you still manages to make regular blog posts. Further, no matter how many insightful posts you write, you’re always a single bone-headed statement away from offending someone senior with a lot of power over your future. (So when the grown-ups are having blogo-wars with one another, Junior would be wise enough to stay out of it.) [I will note, however, that I've heard a few people say that blogging has *helped* their early careers.]
I haven’t complete closed the door to future blogging. Maybe somewhere down the line I’d be interested in joining a group blog of young scientists, but this very-hypothetical situation wouldn’t happen in the near future and would only occur after a long talk with my adviser.
Thank you, however, to all of the kind comments people have left regarding keeping up blogging. I strongly encourage everyone—especially all of my grad student colleagues—to maintian Sidney Coleman’s “fratelli fisici.” A big part of being a physicist is collaboration. We are privileged to live in a time when this can occur at a much earlier stage through resource and information sharing over media such as web forums, wikis, and blogs. So keep an eye on the big picture and look out for each other.
Filed under: Opinion | 4 Comments