It’s one year almost exactly since AntarcticGlaciers went live at the start of July 2012. One year since I fumbled my way into this complex world of science communication. When I started out, I had little idea of what I was doing. I had never Tweeted (I viewed it rather as a waste of time), never made a website, and had never written for anyone other than academics and my peers.
Over the course of that year, I’ve discovered that I have a passion for writing about my work and the work of others; that I enjoy interacting with and engaging with peers over Twitter; that I can find mentors and network with colleagues using ‘Web 2.0 technologies’ (I’m so down with the lingo); and that I get far more out of this website than I put in.
Google Analytics tells me that I’ve now had 28,950 unique visitors to my website, 77,507 page views, I have nearly 1000 followers on Twitter, and in May 2013 I peaked with 5,000 unique visitors to the website over one month. So, I’m still small fry in the world of blogs and science communications (I read some of the big hitters have millions of hits), but getting there, with hits generally increasing month on month. Comments from a small survey I ran were, overall, very supportive and helpful, with constructive criticism mainly requesting more posts, more pictures, and more information. They also requested more interviews and a ‘human element’. This website was featured by the Nature SpotOn Campaign, and when someone tells me they enjoyed my website, it makes my day.
I hope that my writing style has improved over this time, and I keep experimenting with new ways of communicating better (embedding Prezis and Google Maps is currently my new hobby). I certainly read much more widely than I did before, and feel that my understanding of my science is better (but then, I’ve blogged about this already). I also find that this website supports my teaching and has made me a better communicator.
I think I still have work to do in attracting non-scientists to read my website and blog posts. There is also so much to write about, and so many fascinating topics to explore. However, engaging with the public should be a conversation, and direct interaction is limited on the website. Some of the pages are very long, and unless you are very, very (and perhaps professionally) interested, you’re probably unlikely to read to the end.
I hope, over the next year, to continue to improve the content on the website, and to supplement this with other outreach endeavours (such as the AGU science fair, Exploration Station, and similar). I hope to be able to attract more A-Level students and non-scientists, and build a larger audience. The next year will also contain some big changes (my PDRA contract ends), but I will endeavour not to let this affect my blogging!
I would welcome suggestions, comments, feedback and ideas for this blog from the Web 2.0 world.