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Science Blogging. The Essential Guide. Book Review

March 15, 2016

Science Blogging

Although the focus is on science, this a fantastic book for anyone thinking of setting up any type of blog, or even those who are already running one. It is the kind of book that continues to reward with more than one reading, not only because of the advice within it, but also the amount of references to interesting information or sites and relevant academic journal literatures on the topics discussed. Although the essays within Science Blogging are effectively opinion pieces they carry considerable weight when giving the type of advice that is not only wise but also very robust. Difficult subjects, like dealing with trolls, are backed up with relevant academic literature on related topics to underpin the arguments put forward.

But the pieces are certainly not written from a purely academic viewpoint. The contributors are highly experienced bloggers used to ‘thinking outside the box’, with some very interesting takes on how to present a blog and what can be used within its envelope. Even the type of blogging system is eloquently discussed.

I was already aware of some of the different types of media that can be embedded in a blog and that pictures are guaranteed to make it more interesting. But how do you use them to the greatest effect? So many blogs use media unimaginatively or give the appearance that it’s been chucked in for good measure because the blogger is aware it’s a good way of increasing traffic. With the quality of the cameras in mobile phones improving rapidly, as well as the apps available to edit photos or videos, there is a great deal a blogger can do to create added value to their blog without going over the top (one of my friends is highly skilled in using her phone to create some very interesting videos for her widely-read professional blog).

Other essays consider how to reach your audience, create or join a supportive network of bloggers, the immediacy of storytelling from personal experience, and a wealth of strategies for capturing audiences and retaining them and using other forms of social media to work synergistically with the material on your blog.

Science Blogging: The Essential Guide is not a ‘how to’ book, but its wealth of information provides the type of depth lacking in the usually ‘nuts and bolts’ guides. It seems there isn’t any angle of blogging that hasn’t been mentioned and brilliantly addressed in its modest 288 pages.

I have been running what appears to be a successful blog on writing for a few years, but Science Blogging has really made me think about how I might be able develop it further and also about using platforms such as Instagram and other microblogs like Tumblr (if you don’t know what a microblog is this book will tell you and strategically discuss how to get the best out of one).

Science Blogging: The Essential Guide is certainly destined to be a permanent feature on the Strange Alliances bookshelf.

Science Blogging: The Essential Guide was courtesy of Yale University Press via NetGalley


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