Back in November 2016, following a lot of soul searching and weighing of pros and cons, I joined Twitter. I was worried about spending too much time on social media, getting into conflicts with trolls, etc. In any event I thought I’d give it a go and have enjoyed it much more than I expected to. As much as anything else it’s opened up opportunities for new contacts, and highlighted research and ideas that I’d probably not have otherwise known about, plus Twitter is very amusing on occasion. So I’ve stuck with it for about one year and don’t imagine that I’ll give it up soon. However there has been one negative aspect to my use of Twitter: the rate of posting on my blog has gone down substantially, as you can see on this graph:
Although the number of posts per month on my blog has always been a bit erratic, until about a year ago it was trending upwards. After I joined Twitter, however (marked by a red dashed line on the graph above) my rate of blogging has fallen a lot.
The reason for this is, I think, that it’s now easier and faster for me to tweet about a topic than it is to write about it in a post. I can think of a number of cases where what would normally have been developed into a post has been dealt with in far fewer words. One recent example is a tweet I put out about the difference between pollinator “effectiveness” and “efficiency”, which some pollination ecologists are still using as interchangeable terms years after the field decided that they were two different things – see Ne’eman et al. (2010) Biological Reviews.
That tweet came out of frustration with a manuscript that I was reviewing and normally I would have written four or five hundred words on the topic. This time, however, a short tweet, linked to that paper, was enough to get my message out.
The problem is, of course, that I can’t develop my ideas and arguments in sufficient detail on Twitter and I think that’s a drawback, for me at least. Plus my blog is becoming a storage area for writing and ideas that I’m recycling in various places, including review articles, and it concerns me that I might be storing up less and less material.
I’m not sure what I can do about this other than try to post more often, but it’s ironic that my blogging seems to be tailing off over the same period where I and some colleagues wrote a paper on the importance of blogging. Hopefully writing this will give me a kick in the ass to post more and tweet less: time will tell.