I started this blog back in 2008 at the suggestion of the publisher of my first book. I have posted 372 items that have generated over 3,700 comments. The numbers are ok (700,000 visits) but if you really want to make an impact you need to blog on sites that have huge volumes of traffic.
I have just published my first blog for the Huffington Post which has been an exciting experience and have a steady start on the Psychology Today site. I will keep writing blogs here and of course, it is a handy website to load up showreels and pictures but it will be difficult to keep generating new material. I note that many of the bloggers out there are chasing original material which is why any new science story is immediately snapped up. In my field it is easy to spot where fellow bloggers are getting their stories, mostly from the top journals such as Psychological Science. Their job is made all the easier by many associations providing press releases on home websites.The trouble is that there is only so much information that can go round and many writers end up recycling items in a world that expects rapid online publication as described in Nick Davies in his book on the phenomenon of “churnalism.”
I have to also admit that some of the blogs I write have ended up in my books. For example, one of my personal favorites about being followed by a troll claiming to be Helen Mirren last year ended up in a chapter in The Self Illusion about how the internet is changing the way we portray our selves in the new social media networks. However, unlike churnalism, I have authored much of the material though I accept that this is mostly based on my research of other people’s work.
But there is a danger of trying to write too much to satisfy demands. Only this week, Jonah Lehrer attracted flak from journalists who accused him of self-plagiarizing his own work. He was forced to make a public apology but I fully understand how he came to end up recycling his own writing. I too have done this on occasion as when you write something that really works and then use it again.
So it would be wiser to stop writing for so many outlets. However, this blog is mine and I write it for freedom of expression and no financial gain. (I also don’t get paid for blogging on the other sites FYI). I am also effectively unedited here so I can say what I want and that is a luxury that I will not give up. It may mean fewer postings in future but do stop back for thoughts that I would hesitate to publish publicly on other sites. After all, this is my little baby