One of the big changes to the River Life program in recent weeks is that our director has started blogging. This is a step that we're very excited about and gives us another way to let people know what we're doing, what we're interested in, and what we think. Most posts are by Pat Nunnally, the River Life program director, though you will likely see guest bloggers chime in from time to time.
This is also part of an institute-wide initiative to start blogging - there are now four active Institute on the Environment blogs with a whole cadre of bloggers from grad-students, post-docs, fellows, directors, researchers, communications staff, and developers. The blogs can be seen here: News & Events > Blogs
One of the roles that I've been playing, apart from helping with the initial development of the blog templates so that the blogs match the rest of the website (mostly), is as a consultant on blog culture and practices. What are the principles of good blogging, and how do you quantify good results?
First of all, one blog post is one topic. Got two topics to talk about? Write two blog posts.
Secondly, blogging is based on community. To be a blogger, you must read other blogs and comment on them. Leave your URL behind so the other bloggers can check out your site.
Third, keep a personal voice in the blog. Nobody wants robotic blog entries that seem to have been vetted by multiple bureaucratic committees for perfect party line. This is not formal writing - keep a conversational style, vary the lengths of your entries, and do not fear letting your personality show.
Blogging is also a wonderful way to engage authors and readers who have trepidations regarding TwitterBook and FaceSpace, as one colleague aptly stated last week. Perceived credibility seems to be higher in the blogosphere - perhaps because of the personal stake and reputation assigned to the content?
Who knows? We'll see!