Anonymous Social Media Overview, Part Two: Selected Anonymous Social Tools

Anonymous Social Media Overview

I find it a little ironic that the big blowup with Whisper happened this week, while I’m in the middle of this series about anonymous apps (Part 1). Oh, you didn’t hear about that? Well, the gist of it is if you think you’re anonymous, you’re not; if you think they aren’t tracking you, they are; and that the only place that really destroys your usage information completely after you’re done is probably your public library, and even that is becoming iffy. But that is a topic probably best suited for the NEXT post in this series, since the conversation around the exposé is still expanding dramatically. Here’s just the intro piece.

Paul Lewis and Dominic Rushe. Revealed: how Whisper app tracks ‘anonymous’ users. The Guardian Thursday 16 October 2014 11.35 EDT. http://www.theguardian.com/world/2014/oct/16/-sp-revealed-whisper-app-tracking-users

What I wanted to do in this post was simply walk through a quick introduction to some of the more prominent tools and services in the anonymous social media space. What has struck me is that while many of these are general, others target fairly specific audiences, such as high school students with YikYak, youth with Snapchat, and corporate with Confide.

TOOLS & SERVICES

Cloaq http://www.cloaq.co

Confide https://getconfide.com

Ello https://ello.co/beta-public-profiles

Peek https://itunes.apple.com/us/app/peek-for-iphone/id722634039?mt=8

Peek In Too http://www.peekintoo.com

PostSecret http://postsecret.com

Rumr http://rumrapp.com

Secret https://www.secret.ly

Six Billion Secrets http://www.sixbillionsecrets.com/top
Six Billion Secrets on Tumblr http://sixbillionsecrets.tumblr.com
Six Billion Secrets on Twitter https://twitter.com/6BillionSecrets

Snapchat https://www.snapchat.com

Sneeky http://www.sneekyapp.com

Social Number http://socialnumber.com

Spraffl http://www.spraffl.com

Spring (formerly Formspring) http://new.spring.me/

StreetChat http://www.streetchatapp.com

Tumblr https://www.tumblr.com/

Whisper http://whisper.sh

Wut http://www.wutwut.com

YikYak http://www.yikyakapp.com

Global Innovation – Hashtags of the Week (HOTW): (Week of October 20, 2014)

Cool Toys pics of the day: Engelbart Mural

Last week has been rich with ideas for innovation on Twitter, this time with a national and international flavor. Just walking through a sampler of examples from several different conversations (AMA’s Equity Chat, the bioethics Twitter collaboration with the ASBH annual conference, international open access week, and capping the list with the BBC’s World Changing Ideas Summit).


EquityChat

I was riding the train home from Iowa, having visited my very ill father and feeling a tad distraught and fragmented, then stumbled into the AMA’s Equity Chat without a clue it was even happening. It just showed up in my stream, and I joined in. What a great chat about how to shift medical education toward a more diverse and inclusive community, and how doing so will benefit society at large, small communities, marginalized groups, and ultimately everyone.


BIOETHX + ASBH14 = ASBH14 BIOETHX

Not that I haven’t seen this before, but shouldn’t EVERY major conference partner with a topically affiliated Twitter chat community during the conference to help engage a broader community in discussing the issues and pushing out important information and findings presented at the conference? We talk about translational medicine, but isn’t this a fundamental strategy for communicating core fundings to the audiences most likely to disseminate and implement them? Anyway, so the bioethics weekly chat teamed up with the American Society of Bioethics and Humanities for their annual meeting this week. I guarantee that a LOT more people noticed the conference than would have otherwise!


Open Access Week

While open access is not, right now, this year, a brand new shiny idea, it is still very much novelty historically and absolutely pivotal in promoting and supporting innovation. That was a big part of why the University of Michigan invited Jack Andraka to be the keynote speaker for our own Open Access Week events with the theme of Generation Open. These tweets are not just from Jack’s presentation, though, but also from other innovations taking place as part of OAW.


Ada Lovelace Day 2014 (ALD14)

The Equity Chat and Open Access Week both emphasize equality, diversity, and accessibility as essential components of innovation and positive change. Thus, it makes sense to also include tweets from the Ada Lovelace Day events, focused on awareness of women’s contributions to science and creating a vision of science practice that is inclusive of women and engaging to young women. And, speaking of innovation approaches, anyone else notice the incredible creativity and artistry of the efforts in this area? Wow!


World Changing Ideas Summit

I was so excited to discover the BBC’s new (hopefully annual) initiative to promote innovation and awareness of innovation: World Changing Ideas Summit. Aside from the tweets below, check out their collection of great posts and videos.


First posted at THL Blog: http://thlibrary.wordpress.com/2014/10/22/global-innovation-hashtags-of-the-week-hotw-week-of-october-20-2014/

Local Innovation & #MCubed – Hashtags of the Week (HOTW): (Week of October 13, 2014)

MCubed Symposium

Last week saw the second annual MCubed Symposium. For those who aren’t aware of MCubed already, here is a little background about this fabulously creative approach to funding and fostering innovation and collaboration at the University of Michigan.


MCubed – The University of Michigan’s revolutionary new way to fund research  <a href=”http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=akBGSlFn9nQ&#8221; title=”MCubed – The University of Michigan’s revolutionary new way to fund research”>http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=akBGSlFn9nQ</a&gt;

Eventually there will be videos up for this year’s presentations (<a href=”http://mcubed.umich.edu/mcubed_2014/schedule.html&#8221; title=”MCubed 2014 Schedule”>schedule</a>), <a href=”https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PLEEZFNZ4nUECYcVW_-FQxokUjZ5b6D7CX&#8221; title=”Youtube Playlist: MCubed Symposium 2013″>like there were last year</a>, but for now you’ll have to settle for some tweets to introduce the high points.


First posted at THL Blog: http://thlibrary.wordpress.com/2014/10/13/local-innovation-mcubed-hashtags-of-the-week-hotw-week-of-october-13-2014/

Anonymous Social Media Overview, Part One: Context, Risks, Benefits & Opportunities, Best Practices

CONTEXT

Following on the heels of Monday’s post about suicide prevention as it intersects with anonymous social media, I thought it might be helpful to have an overview of some anonymous social media apps, and the current state of the conversation around their risks and benefits. One of the reasons this seems to keep coming up is the NYMWARS (or, as Danah Boyd puts it, The politics of “real names”). While this issue arose originally in 2011, it never seems to really go away. Today’s Twitter feed for the hashtag #nymwars gives evidence of this.

There is a lot more where that came from. Danah described the issue as being one of power and control.

“When people are expected to lead with their names, their power to control a social situation is undermined. Power shifts. The observer, armed with a search engine and identifiable information, has greater control over the social situation than the person presenting information about themselves. The loss of control is precisely why such situations feel so public. Yet, ironically, the sites that promise privacy and control are often those that demand users to reveal their names.” Comm ACM 2012 55(8):29-31.

There are many who believe that requiring transparency (as in ‘real name’, as in the name on your birth certificate) of all users helps to protect the community from bullying and rudeness and other uncivil behavior. This is debatable, and there is supporting evidence on both sides of the debate. At the same time, forced transparency endangers others in the community (anyone at risk or in a marginalized population) at the same time it undermines identifying anyone who uses a pseudonym as their primary identity.

Facebook is enforcing its “real names” policy, insidiously outing a disproportionate number of gay, trans and adult performers — placing them at risk for attacks, stalking, privacy violations and more. Facebook is strong-arming LGBT and adult performers to use their legal names, telling these at-risk populations that it is to “keep our community safe.” Facebook nymwars: Disproportionately outing LGBT performers, users furious

While there is an acknowledged emphasis in the current fuss over Facebook names on excluding LGBT persons, the problem is much broader, and also effects many people with unusual real names. Chase Nahooikaikakeolamauloaokalani Silva is one recent example, but it is so common that Facebook has a section of their help site devoted to these incidents.

"Facebook says my name is fake. It is real."
Facebook says my name is fake. It is real. https://www.facebook.com/help/community/question/?id=10151790248568209

Unfortunately, when this happens to people, Facebook will only consider correcting the problem when supplied with a copy of a legal government ID, such as a passport, drivers license, or birth certificate. Sometimes, those aren’t good enough, which REALLY annoys people. If it was me, I would not be happy or feel safe supplying a copy of my government ID to Facebook or via electronic means. That entire approach is not only an invasion of privacy, but a strategy that would seem to place the victim at risk of identity theft. It just makes me really nervous. When this arose back in 2011, the Electronic Frontier Foundation distilled the concept of NYMWARS as an important trend for that year.

EFF immediately advocated for the right of users to choose their own names on social networking sites, whether they’re women or minorities concerned about their privacy, activists in authoritarian regimes who want to speak out without the threat of government harassment, or users with persistent nicknames or pseudonyms they’d used online for years…. EFF had been loudly opposed to Facebook’s “real names” policy for years, pointing out that community policing of real names silences some of the people who need this protection the most—people with unpopular opinions—because opponents can easily have their accounts suspended by reporting them as pseudonymous. 2011 in Review: Nymwars.

My favorite piece, and the best short distillation I’ve seen was posted to Facebook a little over a week ago by one of my favorite people in healthcare social media, @DrSnit. It is substantially excerpted here with permission.

Requiring a “legal name” is problematic for the following: 1) counselors and therapists avoiding a stalking client 2) physicians avoiding patients seeking medical advice 3) Attorneys dealing with angry criminals with a vendetta 4) women (like me) dealing with abusive partners & leaving abusive relationships. Those people who are being stalked or have been stalked WHO DO NOT WISH TO BE FOUND BY THEIR EX’S OR EX’S FAMILY & FRIENDS 5) Gender queer people, butch lesbians, and trans people who use different names than the names they were given at birth. 6) Stage performers, writers, artists who use different names for their art and their family / friends 7) People who use their middle names or nick names from birth or derivatives from birth. (This is off the top of my head – not exhaustive list).

Legal names are good for: stalkers, abusers, ADVERTISERS

FB claims it is to keep stalkers and abusers from taking fake names to harm people – but stalkers are REALLY GOOD at what they do and use nefarious methods to deal their damage. FB isn’t protecting anyone. They are harming people who CHOOSE to use different names because because it messes with their advertising analytics. Don’t let them. You don’t NEED FB bad enough to be harmed by their policy. If anyone you know has been hurt or stalked – let FB know and if they don’t change their policy – use other social media that is more women and safety friendly.

Let me repeat the most important line.

Legal names are good for: stalkers, abusers, ADVERTISERS

So, with that as context, perhaps the explosion of anonymous social networks may be, at least in part, a reaction to the forced transparency of other social networks. I have friends who have always used a “fake” name on Facebook. It is their real identity, and it sounds and looks like a normal name, and Facebook has never given them any trouble about it. I also know of those who are using their legal name, and getting hassled about it. The upshot is that anonymous networks are a justifiable response, but they carry their own risks, and their own benefits. Let’s take a quick look at some of these.

RISKS

There are a lot of nasty words tossed around about the bad side of anonymous online services. The big ones seem to be that (1) they are not really anonymous; (2) people are mean (bullying & more); (3) you can be victimized in many different ways. Here are some of the types of words used in articles that describe the risks of anonymous social media and social networks.

abuse
bullying
character assassination
hacking
harassment
identifiability
falsehoods
lies
not anonymous
prejudice
racism
rape
sexism
sexting
sexual predators
solicitation
stalking

BENEFITS / OPPORTUNITIES

Safe spaces for persons who need anonymity to be safe or to be treated equitably, such as
– Battered wives,
– Persons who are part of a marginalized or abused community,
– Celebrities,
– Whistleblowers,
– Political minorities,
– Political dissidents,
– Crime witnesses.

Suicide prevention & outreach.

Crime prevention

Therapeutic benefits of engaging for those with social anxiety.

Reaching out to those who suffer from shame.

Free speech on unpopular issues without fear of reprisal

Domestic violence support groups or outreach

Advice channels / threads / tags

Therapeutic channels / threads / tags

BEST PRACTICES FOR ENGAGING (MAYBE)

Don’t ask / Don’t tell (personal information).

Don’t identify yourself.

Don’t use your name.

Don’t use a known pseudonym.

Don’t use a friend’s name.

Don’t ask others to identify themselves.

Don’t describe your location, appearance, or other identifiable characteristics.

Don’t give your email address, street address, phone number, or other direct contact information.

Ask others you trust if they’ve had good or bad experiences there.

Post harmless stuff while testing.

TEST IT OUT!!

MORE SOURCES

(1995) Rigby, Karina. Anonymity on the Internet Must be Protected. http://groups.csail.mit.edu/mac/classes/6.805/student-papers/fall95-papers/rigby-anonymity.html

(2002) Dvorjak, John C. Pros and cons of anonymity. http://www.pcmag.com/article2/0,2817,801688,00.asp

(2011) Bayley, Alex Skud. Preliminary results of my survey of suspended Google+ accounts. http://infotrope.net/2011/07/25/preliminary-results-of-my-survey-of-suspended-google-accounts/

(2011) McElroy, Wendy. In Defense of Internet Anonymity. http://mises.org/daily/5541/

(2011-2014) Geek Feminism Wiki. Who is harmed by a “Real Names” policy? http://geekfeminism.wikia.com/wiki/Who_is_harmed_by_a_”Real_Names”_policy

(2013) Santana, Arthur D. Virtuous or Vitriolic: The effect of anonymity on civility in online newspaper reader comment boards. http://www.tandfonline.com/doi/abs/10.1080/17512786.2013.813194

Suicide Prevention & Trauma on Social Media – Hashtags of the Week (HOTW): (Week of October 6, 2014)

TRIGGER WARNING - Suicide Posts on WHISPER

Sunday night I participated in a very interesting chat on Twitter. It was part of the #SPSM chat, which stands for Suicide Prevention and Social Media. The chat was about an experience I had last summer. To make it overly brief, I ended up in an extended conversation with a suicidal person through an anonymous social media service, and I didn’t know what to do, how to do, or even whether to do anything. At that time, I was curious, and explored social media posts that state suicidal ideation or intent on several platforms, such as Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, and so forth. Pinterest tended to say, “So CUTE I want to die” (with a few boards collecting sad stories). On Google Plus the results for “want to die” mostly brought up posts about animals in shelters scheduled for euthanasia. There were a few on each of Facebook and Twitter, but they tended to be mostly people using the phrase lightly for purposes of emphasis and drama, and more important, they rarely if ever show up in a normal Twitter stream. You have to go out explicitly hunting for them, as I did for this screenshot.

TRIGGER: Twitter Search: "want to die"

Once you shift over to the anonymous social media services, like Post-Secret, Secret, 6 Billion Secrets, and Whisper, it’s a different story. You can hardly turn around without tripping over a post that expresses some sort of suicidal thoughts or other emotional trauma, or worse, posts fantasizing about hurting other people. When I check Whisper, I’ll often see posts like those at the head of this blogpost, with timestamps of “1 minute ago” “46 seconds ago” and so on. The vulnerable posts can elicit comments ranging from heartfelt support to vicious attacks, which is a bit part of why the creator of Post-Secret shut down that app. My experience came on Whisper. Here are a couple other links showing some Whisper content.


Ashley Beckner: Whisper App Confessions: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=haTbJrwDnYM

13 Eye-Opening Confessions From Men In Abusive Relationships http://www.buzzfeed.com/rachelzarrell/13-eye-opening-confessions-about-the-male-victims-of-domesti?bftw&utm_term=4ldqpfp#u9lop

16 Heartbreaking Anonymous Secrets: The anonymity afforded by Whisper often means we get a harrowing, intimate view of people’s daily struggles. http://www.buzzfeed.com/alanwhite/16-heartbreaking-anonymous-secrets#u9lop

In last night’s Twitter chat, some of the issues that came up included:
– challenges with the ethical underpinnings of anonymous social media services;
– challenges on anonymous services to find out where the person is, gender, other identifiers for rescuers;
– the idea that calling 911 for help for a person is a breach of community standards (like ‘narcing’ in drug culture);
– geographic challenges in locating assistance when the person is in a different country;
– different cultural standards for appropriate response to suicidal intent;
– legal challenges when the service refuses to identify the anonymous suicidal user except to police in the country of origin for the service (and not in the country of residence for the suicidal person);
– and much more.

Here are some of the tweets from last night’s chat.


First posted at THL Blog: http://thlibrary.wordpress.com/2014/10/06/suicide-prevention-trauma-on-social-media-hashtags-of-the-week-hotw-week-of-october-6-2014/

@PfAnderson and @Atoes84 chat with #SPSM on how to respond to anonymous social media expressions of #suicide #ideation 10/5/14 9pm CST

pfanderson:

Thanks to Dr. April Foreman for blogging about this story when I haven’t found time to do so. I am also unspeakably grateful that she EXISTS, and was available and responsive when I found myself in this situation and with these questions. Bravo, April!


Originally posted on SPSMchat:

What are the best practices for responding to anonymous (and possibly international) suicidal social media posts? Sunday, 10/5/14, 9pm CST our Suicide Prevention Social Media chat will be tackling this complex moral, ethical, and rather technical issue. Are there good international crisis resources? What are best practices? How can any “Good Samaritan” figure out how to do the right thing?
Earlier this summer, I (@DocForeman) received the following Facebook message from Patricia F. Anderson (@PFAnderson on Twitter),  an experienced alum of the Health Care Social Media  community:
“Yesterday I was checking out a new-ish anonymous social network service that my son had gotten into. Almost immediately after getting into it I saw a post “I want to die.” To make a long story short, it took 8 hours to get gender, approximate location, prior medical history & suicide attempts, and current medical history (ie. having not eaten in 5 days)…

View original 330 more words

Strategies for Better Science Blogging: Part One, Best Practices & Guidelines

Scientific Communication Word Cloud (I Ching)

Last week, there was a kerfuffle around an IFLScience blogpost about rare diseases, and the responses from the rare disease community. In that post, I mentioned that I’d been looking for guidelines, checklist, style guides, and other similar types of tools for effective and appropriate science blogging, but that I wanted to make it a separate post. This is that promised post.

Before I get in too deep, here is a search strategy I used, and which you can use to poke around more in this, if you wish.

(“science blogging” OR “blogging about science”) (“style guide” OR checklist OR guidelines OR “best practices” OR rules)

(1)

Let’s start with the best introduction and brief overview I’ve found, written by Andrew Maynard. In these two posts, Andrew distills the most important lessons learned from years of working with graduate students and collaborating with other bloggers to give feedback on his “Mind the Science Gap” course and blog.

Anyone can blog about science. But it takes effort and diligence to blog well.

When I was teaching the Mind The Science Gap blogging course at the University of Michigan, it became clear early on that, no matter how enthusiastic or knowledgeable you are, there are some basic guidelines that can help make the difference between a great piece and a train wreck (thankfully we never had any of the latter). Over time, these developed into the Mind The Science Gap Good Practice Guide for writing Science Blog Posts.

So you want to write better science blog posts … http://www.riskscience.umich.edu/want-write-better-science-blog-posts/

Good Practice Guide for Writing Science Blog Posts http://www.mindthesciencegap.org/style-guide/good-practice-guide-for-writing-science-blog-posts/

Here is a distillation of his main points in my own words.

PREPARING:
Read broadly.
Read quality.
Skim beyond the basics.

GENERAL:
Don’t imply expertise you don’t have.
Don’t give advice.
If you give opinions, SAY THEY ARE OPINION.

WRITING:
Stick to the facts.
Include multiple voices & sources.
Report on controversies fairly.
CITE THEM.
Be generous with credit to others.

PICTURES:
Choose images to support the story.
Get permission.
Cite your images, also.

LAST STEPS:
Re-read your writing.
Find a proofreader.
Ask yourself if what you said was fair, accurate, scientifically defensible, and honest (FASH).

AFTER:
If you made a mistake, own it.
If you correct a mistake, say so in the post.
Say thanks to whoever raises useful questions.

(2)

Including many of the above, but enriching them with many practical tips from a rich set of interviews with successful science bloggers, this next one is also fabulous. I’d love to see “Blogging Tips” made into an infographic / checklist where I could post it for easy access.

Blogging Tips for Science Bloggers, From Science Bloggers http://www.scilogs.com/from_the_lab_bench/blogging-tips-for-science-bloggers-from-science-bloggers/

(3)

There are a lot of people concerned with the quality of science blogs right now. Andrew Maynard (1) has been teaching classes on science blogging. SciLogs (2) had that series of interviews with best practices. And at Science Online this year, there was a workshop devoted to the topic of standards in science blogging. They used the hashtag #SCIOstandards to extend the conversation through Twitter. I’ve picked just a couple example tweets with good points, but really, it is worth going to the #SCIO Standards Storify and reading through the whole thing!

There is a lot more! Here is one of several Tweets connecting to the Storify. There are also many spin-off conversations without the hashtag. You can see these by browsing from the individual tweets, and reading the replies to them.

For more background about this workshop, check out this link.

Background Reading in Science Blogging – #scioStandards http://www.scilogs.com/next_regeneration/background-reading-in-science-blogging-sciostandards/

(4)

Given that what started all this were questions of science blogging ethics and how blogging can work (or not) within a community, it seemed appropriate to draw attention to the community guidelines and harassment policy from one of the leading science blogging communities and forums, Science Online. It might seem a bit strange to include the concept of harassment in the context of science blogs best practices, but just think for a moment. What is your goal? If it is to inflame controversy and grab attention, then perhaps harassing people is one way to succeed in that goal. If your goal is, however, to accurately communicate science information in an engaging way, then you want to reach a broad audience and you want them to believe you. Making enemies may not be the best path towards that goal. In the case of last week’s IFLScience upset, it is unfortunate that there is a significant audience that felt persecuted and harassed. I don’t believe that was intentional, but it wouldn’t hurt for IFLscience (and the rest of us) to stop and consider whether or not our posts could be interpreted as willfully contentious or harassing as part of those final steps in our checklist before clicking “post.”

Science Online Community Guidelines: http://scienceonline.com/community-guidelines/

Mission:
“ScienceOnline cultivates science conversations both online and face-to-face. At our face-to-face events, we provide an atmosphere that encourages creativity, collaborations, connections, and fun. Through social media, we listen, support, share, recommend, and reach out. Through all of this, we celebrate science.”

Values:
“Respect. Generosity. Acceptance. Open-mindedness. Compassion. Kindness. Curiosity. Enthusiasm. Humor, Wit. Inclusivity. Collaboration. Open-mindedness, Humility. Support. Sharing. Cooperation, rather than competition. Encouragement, Transparency, Engaging all with science. Inclusive, Encouraging Individuality, Cooperation, Creative, Innovative, Engagement. Critical, challenging, enthusiastic. Passion, Great at connecting the dots in a pattern that makes sense :) Principled, Generous, Profound, Profoundly fun.”

Science Online: Harassment Policy: http://scienceonline.com/scienceonline-harassment-policy/

Harassment Policy:
“Harassment includes offensive verbal comments related to ethnicity, religion, disability, physical appearance, gender, or sexual orientation in public spaces, deliberate intimidation, stalking, following, harassing photography or recording, sustained disruption of talks or other events, inappropriate physical contact, and unwelcome attention.”

(5)

I’ve said many times that my favorite piece on how to respond to negative comments on a blog post is the Air Force guidelines shared by Jeremiah Owang.

Air Force Blog Assessment

That said, while it provides a strong general foundation, there are special characteristics to science blogs that may benefit from a slightly different context or require different types of responses. This is especially true when you consider the community and culture of science, and compare that with the broader communities and cultures in which science occurs. Here is a recent post I found by Juliana Houghton, which discusses these issues from the viewpoint of students blogging about science. It’s worth reading.

Student Post: Science Blogging — A Veritable Troll Bridge for the Modern Age: http://www.engage-science.com/student-post-science-blogging-a-veritable-troll-bridge-for-the-modern-age/

“But when we’re writing about things like science, and especially the parts of science that we individually find inspiring and enlightening, we might not expect inflammatory comments that seemingly come out of nowhere. To complicate matters, in science we are trained to question and to respond to questions. It is doubt and questioning that pushes science forward and keeps us from resting on our laurels. Q&A sessions following scientific talks often contain questions that get at the very fabric of our research. We can (and should!) say “I don’t know” when we really don’t, but we also work hard to think carefully about those comments and not dismiss them just because we might prefer our present point of view.”

I loved that paragraph which placed science blogging in the context and culture of doing science. This next snippet is what echoes the Air Force policies mentioned above.

“Ask yourself, is this commenter presenting an alternate viewpoint or just a personal attack. If the latter, it’s ok to just leave a comment unanswered. Another way is to set up strict commenting rules on your site and follow through with moderating. If your rule is that comments must address the article’s topic and the comment simply calls the author a nasty name, then it never even needs to appear on the webpage (or can be quickly taken down by the moderator, depending on your settings).”

(6)

Last but not least, let’s look at science blogging in the broader context of academic and scholarly blogging. There are best practices and courses for those environments, also! Virtually all of what appears in the literature on academic blogging is relevant to science blogging. Jessie Daniels and Polly Thistlethwaite drafted a quite nice overview at Just Publics 365, which provides context beyond much of what has already been said — about the target audience, your readers, differences in writing styles between blogs and professional research venues, and more. They’ve made this available in a variety of formats.

A Guide to Blogging for Academics http://justpublics365.commons.gc.cuny.edu/2014/06/30/academic-guide-to-blogging/

1. Talk to Me: Acknowledge the Reader.
2. Just Say It: Don’t lead with a disclaimer or qualifier.
3. K.I.S.S. : Keep it Simple Scholar
4. Get in & Get Out.
5. No, It’s Not All Important
6. If You Have Something to Say, Say It
7. Don’t Let Perfection Be The Enemy of The Good
8. Scholarly Writing vs. Public Writing

The Academic’s Guide to Writing Online http://sociologysource.squarespace.com/storage/Academics_Guide_To_Writing_Online.pdf

Illustrated Blogging Advice for Researchers
http://justpublics365.commons.gc.cuny.edu/2013/09/11/illustrated-blogging-advice-for-researchers/

Media Skills for Scholars http://mediaskillsforscholars.pressbooks.com/

Just to connect that back to the science context, there is an older article about science blogging that has some similar insights, and which discusses why scientists blog. I found it interesting and useful to just break out the section headings from that article.

Bonetta, Laura. Scientists Enter the Blogosphere. Cell 129 (May 4, 2007):443-445. http://www.cell.com/abstract/S0092-8674(07)00543-0

Meet the Bloggers
Blogging to E-ducate
What is the Impact?
Why Aren’t You Blogging?
Blogging to Talk Shop
Communities of Bloggers

Closing thoughts

Do you know why you are blogging? Are there any of these best practices that you wish you did better? There are for me! We all have strengths and weaknesses, may be good at one thing and not so strong in other areas. I don’t usually have anyone read over my work before it goes live, and there are likely to be a lot of possible errors as a result of that. So far, I’ve scraped by, and I’m grateful that this is just a personal blog and that I don’t face the kind of audience and attention that IFLScience have. I’m not sure I’d do any better with the scrutiny than they are currently.

I did find many other resources along these lines. These are more the high profile pieces and overall context. I hope to have another post to simply share a lot of links that might be of further interest.