Felix Salmon of Reuters has written a very interesting article about the nature of blogging.  It is directed at journalists, not researchers, so it isn’t exactly on point.  But if you are interested in contributing to our blog, it is worth a look.

This point in particular gets at one of the more uncomfortable parts of blogging for the academic:

As always, there’s a trade-off between quantity and quality. Should you write more, with lower quality, or less, with higher quality? Fortunately, the blogosphere has been around for long enough that we have a simple empirical answer to this question: given the choice, go for quantity over quality. You might not like it — I certainly don’t — but I defy you to name a really good blogger who doesn’t blog frequently.

On the other hand, this paragraph strikes me as a reason blogging is natural for an academic already actively engaged with the research literature:

Another necessary quality of any decent conversationalist is that he or she be a good listener. The same goes for blogging — to a very large extent, blogging isn’t writing, it’s reading. I have hundreds of blogs in my RSS reader, I use Google Alerts and other tools to let me know what other people are saying about me, I spend a lot of time reading my comments, and of course I read lots of other blogs avidly. Blogging, certainly the way I do it, is to a large degree about synthesizing information — connecting this news article here to that blog entry there, putting things into context, and making connections. And so although I produce a lot of content, I consume orders of magnitude more.

I read papers and think about them in the ordinary course of my job as a researchers.  Writing some of my thoughts doesn’t take that much extra time.  Just like I came across Mr. Salmon’s article in the ordinary course of reading news.  Writing this post took about 5 minutes.

If you are interested in adding your voice to FASRI, let me know!