Why Do Scientists Blog, Who Is The Audience And How Can Steemit Play A Role?

in steemstem •  7 months ago

Today lets take a break from discussions of science itself and focus on something near and dear to the hearts of all users of steemit. Blogging. But rather then talk about blogging in general, lets focus on one singular aspect of the communication form. Scientific Blogging. And, rather then focusing on how to be a science blogger, lets focus instead on the following question: "Who Is My Audience?" I will center the discussion around ideas which are presented in an article published in Journalism & Mass Communication Quarterly titled "Science in the Social Media Age: Profiles of Science Blog Readers."



Who Is The Audience For Scientific Blogging?

I have had a lot of discussions over the past (almost) two years with users, investors, minnows and whales alike about the value of writing science blogs. I have had important and respected users like @andrarchy and @liberosist refer to it as a "niche," which at first glance appears to be a slight against blogging science. However it isn't. Science blogging is a niche. They are quite right in their assessment. It's different then say photography, or travel blogs. Those topics easily have mass appeal, because the content is digestible to anyone, you don't have to know, or to understand background material to appreciate a photo, or to read about visiting an exotic location.


Which one of these is the science blogging niche?

For science blogs, it just isn't always so straight forward... they run the gambit of complexity from very distilled and digestible to a general audience, to incredibly complex and understandable to only subject matter experts in a particular field. This makes it more difficult for users to casually follow a science blogger, you can't just jump into any old blog and expect to be able to understand everything. From a science blog, people learn things, and learning is work.

Knowing the possibility for a science blog to fill a wide spread of difficulty levels, we arrive to the titular question of this section. Just who is the audience for a science blog? After we address that we can ask some other interesting questions: "Why Do People Read Science Blogs?" and "Is There A Benefit To The Reader?"

Knowing this would help us set a frame of reference for how much the steemit community should want to support science as a whole on the platform (if only, from a purely economical perspective). If science doesn't drive clicks then it doesn't get attention, so realistically its place in an "attention economy" SHOULD be smaller, perhaps smaller then someone heavily involved in say the @steemstem project, would like. But I get ahead of my self.

According to a 2012 study in the US, around 60% of those polled cite the internet as their top source for information about science. [2] With blogs being a primary source for where that information is derived from. What is also interesting is who the bloggers are trying to reach, where a study from 2014 reports that up to 72% of blogs are written with a general audience in mind. [3]

Interesting as these statistics may be, they tell us little about who it is that is seeking out scientific info on the internet in the first place. Nor do they tell us who the bloggers are actually reaching, despite their intended audience.

Okay Then, Who Are Science Blog Readers Then?

In the Jarreau article I reference throughout this post [1] the authors performed a survey of almost 3000 science blog readers. Here they identified that the demographics for science blog readership were as follows: 55% Male, 50% over the age of 40, 58% live in the united states (disproportionally larger then anywhere else, shockingly only 7% from Europe) and are highly educated with over 58% reporting having a degree in a STEM field and 21% having a PhD.

Based on these numbers it seems like bloggers desire to target a general audience may not be what is actually happening, as general audience viewers make up a minority of their readership.

What is even more interesting to me is the authors report that only 23% of respondents were uninterested in pursuing a career in science. [1] This means that a staggering 77% of science blog viewers are those who are currently working in the STEM fields or students looking to have careers in those fields. Further illustration that traditionally, science bloggers are not developing an audience comprised of the general public. They are cultivating highly educated, highly specialized audiences.

Why Do People Read Science Blogs?

In this part of the study's survey, respondents were able to provide answers as to what drives them to read science blogs in the first place. They were provided with a set of possible statements and asked to report how much they agreed with them. The statements that were agreed to the most were: "because it stimulated my curiosity", "as an educational tool" and "for information I don't find in traditional news media." What is perhaps more interesting were things that they did not agree as much with which included things like "to check the accuracy of other media" and "to feel involved in an online community." [1]

What the authors found that we can gather was that the audience of science blogs were primarily people seeking unique info, rather then a community atmosphere.

Is There A Benefit To The Reader?

This is an interesting and somewhat difficult question to ask, and it is one that the authors of this study attempted to pull out of their data. What they found is interesting, and can be summed up with one word. Maybe.

The authors also presented the respondents to their questionnaire about their reading of science blogs with a 10 question quiz about science. What they found was that the more blogs someone tended to read, the better they performed on this quiz. They also found that in general, science blog readers performed better than the US average on this very same quiz. In short, it would appear that science blog readers were in fact better informed on the topics that were covered in the quiz (I do not know what topics those were).

But here is why things get interesting, and also why the answer to the question of is there a benefit is a strong maybe. The authors also found a direct correlation between number of blogs followed and likelihood of the user having a degree in science. So it is not clear whether or not more viewing of blogs resulted in a better educated group of viewers or if a more educated group of viewers tended to follow more blogs.

Questions To Ponder

The data presented in this article about science blogging can be summed up in a few bullet points:

  • Science bloggers are writing for a general audience, however the audience they attract misses the mark
  • Science blog viewers are highly educated
  • Science blog viewers are more interested in viewing information then they are in a community atmosphere
  • Science blogs may result in people being better educated with regards to scientific topics

From this we can ask our selves:

  1. Why is it that despite their efforts and desires, that science blogs are unable to capture a more general audience?

  2. Is community atmosphere really unimportant to STEM minded people?

  3. Should science bloggers place a greater emphasis in writing for the more technically minded audience they have?

  4. In what way can steemit play a role in all of this?

My Thoughts On Some Of These Questions and Steemit

Let me start off by clarifying when I say Steemit, I am referring to the platform and steemit the collection of users, not steemit Inc., the project management has their own tasks and frankly a full plate (IMO, lots going on), the questions posed here about blogging are ones which can be answered better by the thoughts of the members of the community.

I feel that the answers to questions 1 and 2 above are both linked, and it may have a lot to do with the personality types of many scientists. In my experience, many scientists are not exactly the most outgoing and social people, they prefer their experiments, and data to social interactions (I know I am more comfortable with a pipette and my graph fitting software then I am at a party). This sort of personality type really fits with the respondents of the study and their desire for more information rather than a community atmosphere.

The general public however, is not comprised of people with that sort of analytical mindset. It is composed of people of ALL mindsets, and many people LOVE a good community atmosphere. One where they can both shoot the shit, as well as exchange ideas. One where they can ask questions and get quick answers, one where an exchange of knowledge occurs through personal interaction, rather then just through reporting of data.

In short, it is my opinion that science bloggers are unable to reach a more general audience, specifically because most blogging platforms (medium, square space etc) do not have a mechanism for the formation of a strong community atmosphere. Its one of the reasons why science has such a big viewership on a platform like reddit, because on that site there is a community of users who all use the comment sections to educate others and have some fun.

However reddit is not a blogging platform, and is by and large, terrible for the exchange of ideas and presentation of data. So we have blogging platforms that are not particularly conducive to the formation of communities, and community building platforms that are not particularly conducive to the effective exchange of ideas and information.

This is where steemit has a really unique opportunity to shine, it has truly become a multifaceted platform (due to the steem blockchain), one with the ability to both convey massive amounts of comment through text (steemit itself), video (dtube), audio (dsound), while at the same time enabling the sorts of conversations that take place in reddit's comment sections. Wrap this all up with the monetization aspect and IMO you have a recipe for re-inventing science blogging entirely.

Here we can answer question #3. Should bloggers change their emphasis to focus more on the audience they are able to attract? IMO NO! They should change the platform they are using, and join one which will enable the generation of a thriving community that can support the accessibility of science content to people of all walks of life. They should start publishing their work on steemit.

What Do YOU Think?

However in the end, this blog isn't about my opinions. It's an opportunity to start a dialogue with the community. What do you think?

We have some data on what the audience for the currently available science blogs is composed of. Is this sort of audience sufficient to command sizable support by the steemit community?

Is a greater emphasis on community a good mechanism to drive science blogging out from laptops on the lab bench, and onto screens of people across the globe? OR is there another solution?

Perhaps you think that science concepts are too difficult for a general audience? The information too dense to expand beyond the eyes of just experts?

Are projects like @steemstem key to increasing science literacy and getting more people interested in science? Or are projects like that too idealistic? Destined to reach a ceiling of an exclusively science minded and technical audience?

Sources

Text Sources

  1. http://journals.sagepub.com/doi/abs/10.1177/1077699016685558
  2. https://www.nsf.gov/statistics/seind12/c7/c7s1.htm
  3. https://digitalcommons.lsu.edu/gradschool_dissertations/1051/

Image Sources

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SteemSTEM

If you haven't heard about the @SteemSTEM project yet (and clearly you have because you read the above blog post and I discussed it there :P ) I highly recommend you take a look into it! The SteemSTEM team has been working for over one year now to promote promote well written/informative Science Technology Engineering and Mathematics postings on Steemit. The project (@steemstem) seeks to build a community of science and technology lovers on steemit and aid in nurturing the growth of blogs that will make steemit a go-to source for science/tech information, news, and just generally fascinating content.

To learn more about the project please join us on discord, we are always looking for people who want to help in our quest to increase the quality of STEM (and health) posts on our rapidly growing platform!

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Great post @justtryme90! Would be interesting to collect some data on some of these hypotheses, such as profiling who actually reads STEM posts on Steemit. But I suppose that defeats the purpose of decentralized social media...¯_(ツ)_/¯

I see Steemit as an excellent platform as a retired research scientist with many unfinished projects, ideas, lab tips, and unpublished data.

Are those your pictures or stolen?

Very interesting post, @justtryme90. I have often asked myself "who reads my content?", so it's very cool to see that there have been studies about this already. I have always aimed my content towards regular people that does not have an education, but I guess I have been wrong then.

However, I feel like some branches of STEM have a broader appeal towards non-scientists than other branches. I mostly write about ecology, and I feel (judging by the comments) that especially conservation ecology is something that a lot of people care about, not only those who have a degree already. In contrast, more "difficult" topics such as microbiology, or strictly theoretical biology tends to have a lot less comments from non-scientists.

Of course, these are just my own observations, and I obviously don't know who has a degree or not.

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Don't be hatin' on the microbe people ;)

@steemstem seems like an interesting project! ONLY 7% in Europe... shocking...
I enjoy reading posts related to science, I want to be always updated! keep up a great work @justtryme90

I think that the public is growing every day interested in reading scientific articles, its main motive: "curiosity", and I think that in this platform the people who are sharing it, through scientific publication, we do it in a very understandable way for all the public in steemit

My opinion is this , science itself has earned the world respect and the audience will come and look for facts that are original, well researched and straight to the point. Science blogging ins't about politics or politicking or some get rich quick procedures. Serious minded laymen come to science blog to get an instruction they believe their life can bet on. This is my own opinion. I am proud to be a scientist....

Scientist here, there's a few reasons why I blog, and why I do so Steemit.

First, I am curious about so many things. This shouldn't be surprising, given my profession. Blogging about whatever has my curiosity provides a structure and an impetus to really understand it. It is nice to get lost on a random wikipedia walk, it's even nicer to realize I have learned about something well enough to write halfway intelligibly about it.

Second, I firmly believe that the ability to communicate science is as important as the ability to do science. If you cannot make your research available to both your peers and the public, there is very little value of doing it. As with so many things, communication is a skill and I use blogging to (hopefully) continually, mindfully practice.

As to why I blog here? Of course, there is the monetary reward, but it's relatively minor - I try to write for quality first and if I get a little bonus money, that's nice. It does however, provide just enough of a reward (and a nice psychological metric) that it helps get over that little 'activation energy' bump that it takes to get writing.

Beyond the money, however, I've found that Steemit has a very strong, tightly-knit STEM community (shoutout to @valth, @mcw, @sco, @@@mountain.phil28, @steemstem, and oh so many others). I've truly enjoyed discovering their content and interacting with them over the last month. It's particularly nice that there's so much breadth of expertise - many scientists get so entrenched in their one tiny area that they and their colleagues get tunnel vision. I like having a breadth of knowledge (and I assert that it makes me a better scientist), and it's refreshing that there are educated, eloquent STEM writers I can interact with outside my own discipline.

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I've found that Steemit has a very strong, tightly-knit STEM community

Well that's precisely what I think is lacking elsewhere (if that didn't come across from my blog) and its what we @steemstem are working so hard to foster.

Science blogs may have a more general audience that are not STEM-related individuals if the style of presentation is changed from the hardcore science lingo to a more everyday language.

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Huzzah to this!

Make Science posts/articles more layman friendly...

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I think that is what people are doing though. It still doesn't reach the right audience. The question is how to reach them, how to get the content to them.

Hi JTM, appreciate the vote. All the best😊

I'll have to go ahead and strongly disagree with you on some points. I don't think steemit should ever be the go-to place for science as long as money remains the main force of influence. Money is, by and large, very easy for large corporations to obtain huge quantities of, and by its very nature it can easily be thrown around and make a mess of things if it wants. See also the way that corporations have astroturfed and guided conversations and paid shills to keep discourse on a certain given pathway on websites like reddit.

To safeguard against this kind of activity it's much the same way any good old democracy would safeguard against such abuses, it would be left up to an informed, involved citizenry to defend themselves against such tactics of manipulation that are designed to weaken the democracy and misguide the public.

I personally think that in order to do the most good, science writing needs to be aimed at the layperson. Pop-sci is easily digestible and very... popular for good reason. Apolitical science is boring. It needs to be pushing the limits. It needs to push an agenda. Without people pushing necessary agendas, without educating the general public, we're going to be a lot worse off than we already are as far as losing ground to the anti-science crowd.

Wait, what the hell am I talking about. Am I drunk. Who knows. All I know is that science writing is very dry, very boring, and only read by currently science-minded people. We need to change that if we want to win the hearts and minds of those are aren't already so hell-bent on learning more about science, because the future of our planet literally depends on it.

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I do agree with a lot that you just said. However, the one limitation that science has it that it is fact based and should not be appealing to emotions or public opinion. That does extend somewhat into science blogging. For example, if somebody makes some "pseudo-scientific" (PS) claim, a science blogger will answer with dry data (because that is what science is based on). The PS will heavily rely on non-factual emotional and vague language and maybe a vast amount of information, that may not even be applicable. However, a science blogger still has to argue based on data, with sources that are carefully selected. If not, it is not scientific. It is a bit of a disaster and I think as a science writer you always have a bit of an disadvantage.
Do you have any suggestions how to possibly overcome this dilemma? Cheers!

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Write from the heart, but cite from the head.

Don't let the facts get in the way of the flow of the argument. Ground the argument in facts, but do not make the writing unapproachable or unattractive to read. It should be easily understood and very digestible by those with basic reading skills.

I'm not saying make up nonsense and nonfacts, I'm just saying that there is already a clear abundance of material that reads like stuff out of poorly written textbooks, so why should we be emulating what's been shown to not work as far as engagement of normies goes?

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Write from the heart, but cite from the head.

I really like this!
Thank you for your input. Cheers!

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without educating the general public, we're going to be a lot worse off than we already are as far as losing ground to the anti-science crowd.

This is why finding a way to reach them, where traditional science communication (other blogs etc) has largely failed, is important. It's why I wrote this and what I would like people to think about.

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You know what comes to mind? Think about... what's the name... damn, it's that guy that draws those fat people and those cats but he mentions science-ish things sometimes in his cartoons... oh, the oatmeal. He's wildly popular and though his writing isn't my style I can see why people like the stuff. Can't you assemble some sort of stem super team to make original art and videos and other content? You also need creative writers, not just technical science writers.

They're fully shilled-out now, but there are lots of science channels on youtube, for example, that do quite well, and they're all a lot less technical and more visual but at least attempt to confer some knowledge to the viewer. Think kurzegeishtichgecl or whatever, as terrible that channel is at misinterpreting data or misrepresenting facts, the guy with the accent and the animated birds really does draw a crowd.

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Finding someone who wants to make short creative comic style science content sounds like a really good idea. Like the oatmeal or xkcd or something yeah...

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A comic can be done with 1-3 people, artist and 1 or 2 writers (maybe 1 funny person and 1 science person at most, can also be one person who can write well for both sides of it).

A video series would be easier if it was live action than animation, but if you go a dual route of monetizing and publishing on non steem-related platforms in addition to uploading to dtube then the costs can probably be absorbed fairly quickly.

I myself would rather enjoy seeing a steemstem branded video series that can rival the quality of the other popular shows, it would create a constant source of publicity for the platform and for the group, and it could be (at least for now, until they try their funny business if it gets popular) above the realm of corporate interference regarding how topics are discussed. It's fairly annoying to see that every other video, or every video, on youtube is actually just an advertisement paid for by a certain company that wants you to think a certain way about some product of theirs, even in science videos.

The good thing about steemit is that blogs are not only seen by followers, but by everyone in the section again. in the case of science is perfect to give conorce I have exchanged knowledge and discoveries, but also serves to make known any cause, such as malnourished animals in zoo of my last post

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Compared to face to face science communication, blogging is very different.

When communicating face to face you can gauge the reaction of the person and it helps identify which way to proceed in communicating.

With blogging, you must catch attention and keep it through an entire post, hoping that how it is written suits the readers taste.

At Science festivals we are armed with big posters, tables full of interesting objects, and smiling faces ready to engage. Here we have only a picture, title, and a few words to grab attention. It's hard to grab attention. However, we only have to influence the right people and we could help pave the way for a new pioneer in science. This is what I hope for anyway.

Thanks @justtryme90, you gave me something to consider. Good day :)

And what about popular science? I think that science, in general, need a big popularization before reaching a big audience. Whatever the subject, even a simple thing in science can be difficult for most of the people.

This is the thing I try in my chronicles HDLW because when I talk about science to my friends I can't speak like I speak to my colleague, I need to employ simply terms and concrete analogy, but without making a scientist shortcut.

But this task is very difficult and unfortunately, it's not in the skills acquired at the university. But it's should be!
For me, one of the biggest goals of the scientist community should be the popular science!

Now I think that science blogging contribute a lot in this, especially when people ask question.

Anyway thank for this post!

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When I talk about science blogging that includes popular science. The authors of the research publication made no distinction. So it would seem that even popular science misses it's Mark and attracts a highly educated rather then general audience.

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Follow me @yasir123 and vote 🗳👈🏻🙏🏻

Thank you so much @justtryme90 for the knowledge impacted to us about science blogging. I've learn so much on this content and I know more readers of this post will do as soon as they come up.
I won't want to miss any of your next post, that is why I will have to follow you.

This post deserves to be resteem for others to see also in my blog. Thanks once again...

@peakreal1

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Thank you

Total content written was awesome 🌟

Maybe worlds all most all people like it.

Good too see you're content 🐰

Thanks for share.... Keep it up. 🐼

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On steemit, its an untapped niche compared to others, yes the difficulty is getting non-science people to get interested, for my perevrevious STEM articles, I try to use as much as possible simple terms, diagrams/photos (they help alot) and I have seen writes on here write STEM articles suited for elementary schools and they are really easy to understand and really go a long way in making non-science people grasp concepts and get the message across.
My take is for non-science people, use simple clear language, keep the article short (one can do a series of muliple articles on a topic) and use images, people love images.

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Any thoughts on how to bring in new users? What would attract people not yet on steemit?

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If we could sort by votes regardless of vote weight. A lot of it doesn't have to do with content, but the way the site is constructed (it's bad on purpose to encourage use of steem, imo) and the poor distribution of steem have scared away many otherwise intelligent participants. So, in a way the inability to find content of worth, or the platform's inability to retain niche content creators who could start their own communities has a lot to do with how content is displayed and how SP or SBD is a necessity to foster content discovery, which isn't a problem that other social media has to deal with. Of course some groups on other sites reverse engineer how people vote, or use voting farms or other tactics, but those problems are everywhere.

Steemit would have to be... not steemit for it to attract the types of users we're hoping to bring in, if that makes any sense. Good content will help, but it's kind of like a persistent bandage over a deeper problem.

It is a good idea for the Steemit platform to cover a wide variety of topics. With the growing audience base, there will be a community that will be interested in science related posts. So SteemSTEM is a great idea!

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Yes, I strongly agree with you @acdevan, steemit really help to cover a wide variety of topics, where anybody can freely tell his/herb opinion to any related topics, and that audience also have an insight. =)

Love this post! It does help me a bit to move on from my recent struggles haha. I am glad that steemstem exists though. I doubt there are many science bloggers out there that get as much attention as we do. Also I hope that this post inspires more people to try to blog scientific contents. Thank you for your support and all the work you do. Cheers!

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I hope it inspires people to start thinking, what sort of audience do I want, and how do I go about getting it?

It's been said that a post loses about 50% (or other large %) of their readers for every equation in a post. Posts with math in them just don't pay very well on steemit, with few exceptions.

Posts that explain some important math application are starting out with a great disadvantage and add to that the multiple tags for the same thing. Can anyone explain the difference between math, maths, mathematics? Shouldn't those 3 tags default into one subject?

Readers that like posts with math in them need to check out math, maths and mathematics to keep abreast of math posts.

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I could very well see that. If science is dry then math is a desert. People using more then one tag for it ... Well that is a problem that good curation could fix, with a reward emphasis on only one tag.

Science blogging as you said is a niche but I think we are underestimating the value of a science post and the interest that science could generate in people. This being said, I think it's important to use the appropriate media to convey scientific information. I think that entertaining an audience using text is more difficult because for readers it feels like doing work. Science could be made more digestible in audio or video format. There, the audience is much more heterogeneous just think about how many people love watching documentaries or listening to science podcasts. As this platform evolves I am sure we will also adapt and find paths of least resistance for scientific divulgation. Anyway, I like what you did in this post, we need more discussion and it is useful sometimes to stop and think about where are we going and if there are better paths to reach our destination, definitely the journey so far has been filled with interesting people.

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I wanted to use the articles content to start a discussion. To plant the seeds of thinking about this into more minds then just the steemSTEM team. We won't find good ways forward with out extensive community involvement. Much like blogging appeal, our success is truly dependent on the community.

great write up. i love it

This post touches so many topics, I will try to answer a few ..

"Why is it that despite their efforts and desires, that science blogs are unable to capture a more general audience?"
IMO, most science topics are just too boring for the masses. Unless you talk about a huge medical stem cell breakthrough that made a cripple walk again or something funny like how squirrels suck their own dick most people really don't give a shit whereas everybody will enjoy a mediocre travel blog.

Furthermore, it's really tough to be funny or interesting when writing for the new x molecule that only a handful really understand what it does. Despite this, if you are really talented and offer everything in layman terms I think you can still do it. Take for example thunderfoot. The thing is most real scientists are really good with science and not blogging. :)

"Is community atmosphere really unimportant to STEM minded people?"
If I understand this question properly, no I think all people like to be part of a similarly-minded community!

"Should science bloggers place a greater emphasis in writing for the more technically minded audience they have?"
No! The more technically minded people already get a grasp of what's going on. And for the more technical details they can always check out the corresponding published paper. With people getting stupider and stupider while the scientific knowledge expands, scientists should try to give everything in more layman's terms.

"In what way can steemit play a role in all of this?"
Honestly, dunno. Just another blogging platform I guess, just with a blockchain spin!

"Are projects like @steemstem key to increasing science literacy and getting more people interested in science?"
With no other interested in promoting science posts here on steemit I think the answer to this one is obvious. My only problem is because promotion = money on steemit is that it often attracts people just for the monetary rewards. People that would normally give a jack-shit about posting scientific content and would immediately start posting under a different tag if they discovered it's easier to write about and more profitable. Hopefully, this will improve as steemit becomes more popular and starts to attract more people that genuinely enjoy science blogging

"However reddit is not a blogging platform, and is by and large, terrible for the exchange of ideas and presentation of data."
I would disagree with that. Yeah, it's not designed about blogging but often comments in the scientific subreddits are way way better than the average steemstem blog. Yes steemit is a better platform for blogging but it's the community that is key after all!

I will be back later, work calls. Forgot to be rude, my apologies, next time :)

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I enjoy the non rude, response much more. Please continue down this direction of thoughtful and potentially useful replies :)

Yes steemit is a better platform for blogging but it's the community that is key after all!

This was my point, steemit has the potential to combine the information presentation of old-school blogging, the video content of YouTube and the community aspect of Reddit, all into one.

very interesting information, important lesson for me ...

The presented numbers fit my personal impression very well, that most of our readers are other science enthusiasts, and only the occasional "normalo".

That doesn't mean our blogging useless, though. I learned a lot by reading other STEM blogs - especially from fields I wasn't too much involved with before, e.g. geology or psychology, and others have learned stuff from my blog aswell. This mutual gaining of knowledge - even if it happens mostly in the science bubble - is worth something.
And then there is also the necessity to supply arguments against lunatic science deniers, who would own the internet unchallenged wouldn't it be for us.

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This is all true, but the goal should be to reach more people. How better to combat anti science movements then with a better informed every day person.

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yes, of course. I also do think that a direct confrontation with anti-science movements is one possibility to reach more people. E.g. when scientific response posts are written and then linked to the the comment sections below anti-science posts.
Such responses never convince the hardcore science denialists, but serve as a counteropinion for those who are still insecure on their position, and in search for the "truth" behind conspiracies.
We could even think about systematically upvoting such comments to make them trending and to appear right on top of all the circle-jerking crap.

that 's very informative post.. tgank's for sharing love it

This is very difficult question to answer, and although I've been thinking about it myself for some time already, I' not sure I could provide an adequate answer, without upsetting someone. First thing I have to point out (and I'm not very happy about it!) is failure of educational system worldwide - science is something boring, impossible to understand and probably not true (conspiracy theories etc.). Mass media don't help us either. Solution? Proper marketing and advertising, unfortunately. We all know (although many won't admit) what are the things that attract people to some content - easy to do/grasp concept (eg. "Lose weight in these 3 simple steps!") and smiled, attractive people presenting the content. No, this is not the attempt of discrimination, just stating the obvious. If we are discussing proper promotion of science here on Steemit, I think that we need a very good science communicator - for example, man and woman presenters having a popular science vlog on Dtube. So my idea - making our own STEEMSTEM Channel on DTube.

I think that science is de-humanized, and the general public can't bond to it because it has no face, no personality.

For example:

Scientists from University of Oxbrigde have discovered new FCG84 interacting with MWW74

vs

Girl in the lab, explaining her struggles, thinking, Eureka moments...
There must be some workflow, some story. Some human emotions and "chemistry" to bond with.

Or imagine some guy tagging a bear with the collar.
Or my Tardigrade boss who went to the Antartica to collect them.
It's just a "travel" story ;)


Regarding the style of writing, something I gave as the guide for the local yu-stem branch.

Write simple, but not trivial. That aspect can't be found in mainstream media, and that is our niche

For example, average newspapers: "average salary in Serbia is 423 euro for January..." - pointless info with 500 pathetic words and phrases to make some mass

Instead:
Put the histogram of salaries, explain average vs median, comment about time series. Show trends... Compare to other countries.
It's still readable for the general public, but it can switch something in their brains and push them to learn some high-school math they forgot.

Got an another idea, could be done easily. We could make some sort of scientific challenges/contests, where, after reading a scientific post, participants would have to fill out the questionnaire about what they read (Google surveys for example). Participants with highest scores would win a prize (first, second, third place) in form of STEEM or delegated power, etc.

That's very useful information thank you for sharing, I will resteem

I think that most of our readers are other scientists, and rightly so. When I have free time, I look for scientific posts, not for travels or food ones, and I guess that users who are passionate about something else do more or less the same thing.

However, I believe that the great merit of Steemit is the opportunity to tell science in a friendly way, a way capable of involving a large audience. Everyone should make an effort to making what he writes more mainstream; not to have more upvotes, but to allow science to reach even those people who, otherwise, would not be interested in reading us. Money, in this case, is a side aspect.

Personally, I think I have to thank all of you, because since I've been here I've discovered an infinity of curiosities that I could hardly find in other ways. Thank you STEM people.

Grazie gente di scienza!

I love your post.your post is steemit important.and i like your blogging

IMO, science blogs attract more viewers because the posts are shorter and more general in nature. It attracts individuals who like to read a non fiction story type format. Dry technical prose bores people who are not affiliated with STEM type professions.

Take a look the facebook "Nobel Prize" page: Those recent "blogs" only got a 1xx to 2xx likes. Pop-science is not an easy job, or else it is impossible to have so many anti-vaccine people.
These days with information flooded in the internet. Blogs just summing up stuff from the internet, or rewriting science news becoming less meaningful, unless you are those KOL. Or alternatively, blog something unique which only you can point out, or some personal experience, could make a blog more attractive? Perhaps

With blogs being a primary source for where that information is derived from
everyone know wikipedia is useful, but we are taught that wiki is not a reliable source/good source for scientific writing. We know there are problems and mistakes in it but not much people is going to fix it. Probably steemit(or something like steemit) would be a good reward system to put information together, and reward those who make correction and review those inappropriate one, base on the each of our expertise.

Mathematicaly its more diverse I guess
Do you look from point of

  • plain growth (user base)
  • connectivity (communication)
  • or curation?

I look for neither, I want my articles to be a seletive factor for intelligence so the topics are often transdisziplinary. If you want to attract Einstein you cant attract most of the people, if you attract most of the people you dont attract Einstein.

Steemit itself and STEM especialy is (maybe weakly) preselective I guess
Chances are higher to find non-academic highly gifted people here.

resteem and upvote, great article and topic to think about

As one of the guys who is neither working in the lab nor intends to do it, I thought about the idea of proper science communication quite intensively.

Science has, in general, a perception as well as a communication problem.

  • Perception:
    "common people" have to deal with their daily lives, which normaly doesn't involve much scientific thinking. They finished their education years ago and don't want to be bothered to much with huge amounts of dry data and complicated explanations.
    This is, to some degree, understandable. As you pointed out - most people don't have this analytical view of life and have indeed more fun at a party than in the lab.
    There is one exception, though: Scientific writings, which somehow is affecting their emotions or is addressing issues of their personal lives, can have some success.
    Just think about the books written by Richard Dawkins, Steven Pinker, Noah Harari or Sam Harris to name a few popular ones. No matter, how they were received by non-scientists, at least their ideas were read by millions of people and this is much more, than any scientists could hope for.
    What all of those authors have in common, is, that their writing is not only about scientific data and theories, but about possible impacts of those at the personal lives of everybody - they establish a connection to their audience, which is then able to relate to the presented data. Which brings me to the next part.
  • Communication:
    Over the years I have read many scientific studies and papers covering a lot of different topics. Some were written in a way, they were easy to read and understand (without ignoring details) - but most were not. Sure, it's not needed to have an entertaining style of writing to be accepted in Nature or Science, but personally I think, it can't hurt to do it anyway.
    If more scientists were indeed more able to communicate their research in a way, non-professionals can understand it, the problem with pseudo-science, conspiracy theories and esoteric bullshit would probably not be as big as it is today.
    Every truther and anti-vaxxer is an example for failed science communication.

Obviously, not everybody is a talented author and who wants to pay money for a mediator, who is able to present ones research properly to the masses?
This is something, where Steemit can play an important role:
If you are able to present scientific knowledge in a way, more people can understand it, you will get rewarded anyway.
I just talked a few days ago with a friend of mine about this. A lot of her fellow researchers are not able to communicate their work in a way, non-professionals can get a grip on it.
I do think, we need more mediators. People, who are not necessarily scientists themselves, but who are able to read about a wide variety of topics in scientific studies and to break down the most important findings for a common audience.
Or as Schopenhauer put it once:

One uses common words to say uncommon things.
I can agree with this and everybody, who wants to promote scientific content should think about it as well. Knowledge is only then of use, if people can make use of it.

Are projects like @steemstem key to increasing science literacy and getting more people interested in science?

My answer is in the affirmative.
Just like I've learnt over time, science blogging is not just about creating content, but creating an impact.

In the case of steemit; yeah, incentives are given to authors. But IMO, even though some could come for the money, we should stay for the community.

My friend will always say:

Come for the money, stay for the community

Nice piece sir

Steemit is the century project

''Why is it that despite their efforts and desires, that science blogs are unable to capture a more general audience?''

i think judging by here on steemit and from what i see that slowly it captures the general audience. The issue that i try to ''solve'' every time i post a scientific posts is the language to be simple and understanding to everyone. Most people that use steemit do it as something sideways and not full time so they wanna read or see something that can understand ''easily'' and not getting bored.

That's the majority i believe, a majority that enters steemit during their free time in work, or when they are in bus or the night after they come home from their works. They don't need something to tire them with different definitions and many things that they need first to get to understand what the post is about. So once again if we all try to keep it with more simple words i think this will attract more and more people. Ofc on the other hand there are a couple of matters that can be explained with simplistic ways but those posts are primarily for a different audience first an audience that has a knowledge over these things

Are you kidding it would be great to see scientific publishing release with a merit based monetary value ... this can replace the fundraising loopholes which keep the ivory tower in place and crowdfunds the best scientific endeavors through while transparent haha how cool good idea

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This post isnt about scientific publishing. This post is about scientific blogging, for the dissemination of non primary source information.

That is a separate idea entirely.

Education is a way to live more easily @justtryme90.

You know something you don't find in traditional media? Poems about engineering theories. They also don't have anything on "how to update my frankestien's monstor's sensors".

I love science blogs. Thanks.

LOVED this post, thanks so much for sharing. I think an interesting part about the science blog audience is also that it seems more interactive. Sure there are far less viewers from the general population, but those who are reading seem to be more actively involved in the conversation, and often I learn more in the comments section than the original post. I think this is one of the great strengths about blog or forum style science posts (in comparison to peer reviewed journals and conferences). Questions and thoughts can be given by other scientists, engineers, and mathematicians from around the world who all have different backgrounds. As someone very new to the space, I have been only recently discovering how amazing places like Steemit are for finding new information.

You bring up a lot of questions that I have been thinking about. Particularly I think finding the balance between technical & informative versus easily digestible & widely applicable is especially difficult. I receive feedback on posts from people who want to go more in depth and others who wish for less terminology and technicalities.

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Questions and thoughts can be given by other scientists, engineers, and mathematicians from around the world who all have different backgrounds. As someone very new to the space, I have been only recently discovering how amazing places like Steemit are for finding new information.

Yes, precisely. And what you are describing is one of steemit's true strengths. It is able to create that community atmosphere where further learning, interaction, etc can happen in the comment sections. People are here not just for science like they would be at a traditional blog, but also to look at photos, cooking, politics, a whole host of topics.

But the science content here is legit, so they can also stop by and engage in the comments on popular articles, they can learn new things, get exposed to new information.

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You are certainly right. Steemit provide a great road system by which users can travel from one subject or topic to the next. It helps to eliminate the walls that divide health and psychology and chemistry (or any other interrelated fields) and helps facilitate wider content consumption.

I think that SteemSTEM is a great microcosm of this observation, an ecosystem within an ecosystem bringing different minds together.

:)

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But is it helping to eliminate the walls that divide health and psychology from say cooking and travel? That is what we need to achieve, and if we are not, what can we change to start making inroads there?

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I think that it does, but in a different way. I, for example am planning on posting my travel and politics related content on this account. Thereby all of followers will be exposed to that content, and the other commenters who might have come from #travel. In this way, the users who cross multiple fields will expose their followers to those subjects. But, you do have a point that we should look for other ways to promote cross subject exposure.

Science blogs have always caught my interest because there’s so much to it . An alaysis , experiment , observations and a conclusion . It’s like an essay with details . Science has always fascinated me because of what you can learn from it and it’s everywjwre in today’s world but hospitals to technology

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Indeed, but how to get them to catch the interest of non science minded people? That appears to be the million dollar question.

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Edit: Mathowl only curates topics in classical science. This lies beyond that scope.

(Original: This is more an opinion post than a purely scientific post. So I decided that it is not suitable to award owls in this setting.)

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Good luck with your project then. Asshole.

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Sorry if I offended you. There was no intention to do that. I only want to use the owl for scientific content, physics, maths etc. Not suitable means here, not applicable. But this is more of a community piece right? Otherwise please argue your point with arguments not emotions.

The second half is mostly opinion based right?

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I am guessing this was a misunderstanding. I guess you derived that I awarded you 0 owls. But that is not the case because this post lies beyong my curation scope. I edited the above message to make it clearer.

Mind Blowing stuff & splendid!

Good post!


Why is it that despite their efforts and desires, that science blogs are unable to capture a more general audience?

Might it be because these audiences prefer audiovisual rather than the written word? I doubt that the research would yield the same results if the participants of the study were people who watch the National Geographic channel or the Discovery channel etc. If you're a general audience, you'd watch Cosmos and Earth and Oceans before you sat down to read a blog.

Regarding Steemit specifically, I don't think we have the kind of audience that represents what's average out there yet. Most people here come from the crypto community, or politics, and are interested mainly in these subjects. Photos etc. are easily digestible and relaxing and it's kinda unfair to compare them to text-heavy blogs.

So if you take away photography, travel, politics, cryptos, I'd say science is up there, close to the top, regarding popularity. We need better writers who can capture the general interest, but mostly we're all learning as we write, we're not pro bloggers.

Is community atmosphere really unimportant to STEM minded people?

What you said. We are hermits :P

Should science bloggers place a greater emphasis in writing for the more technically minded audience they have?

I don't think so. I think the technically minded audience prefers to read "lighter" science blogs written for the general public, because they want to take a breather and a break from their regular science routine, but one that still aligns with their scientific interests. If they wanted hardcore science, they'd just read the academic papers directly, they wouldn't turn to blogs. They might also want to learn about another science they are not experts on.

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The last question wasn't just focused on steemit but STEM bloggers as a whole. The technical audience seems to be all anyone is able to attract on any platform. The question is, how can we change that here? How can we create the right environment conducive for a science audience composed of non scientists?

Nice 👍🏻
Follow me @yasir123 and vote 🗳👈🏻🙏🏻

encouraging & charming!

great post...i like you

I like to bridge the gap between science blogs and the general audience. Which is why when I write any science related post here on Steemit I try to make it as relatable to the general public as possible and not bore people with too much data and words that are too scientific. I try to make it fun or funny sometimes.

I try my best because I am not a scientist, there are a lot of important things out there that we all need to know and some of them can only be read in science blogs/articles. I only wish I could get a masteral in a science field I'm eyeing but still haven't found a way up to now so maybe I'll keep writing for the meantime. :)

SteemSTEM is great because it encourages people to write about science and share our knowledge plus we get upvotes for it. It makes Steemit and the posts in it valuable. Some people will not do research and write quality posts about science subjects if not for this curation group. This is why I like SteemSTEM second to Curie, they bring the best articles out of us that can help other people too. :) That's a WIN-WIN.

I guess sientists are people too lol

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Disagree on your rewards for the comment.