Why I'm terrified of blogging - My First Blog Post

Photo of Lake Mendota (Unrelated but pretty picture to start the post)

I’ve gone back and forth a lot about starting a blog but have finally decided to give it a try.

There are so many reasons to have a blog:

  • Lots of cool open science people have blogs.
  • Good practice writing and putting my thoughts together.
  • A place to share my ideas and thoughts.
  • Hopefully find/build community and help others

So what has held me back? Why didn’t I do this sooner?

Well the internet is often a harsh place and I’ve found that out the hard way. I was in high school when blogs rose to popularity and high schoolers can be mean.

Even in grad school I’ve had demotivating experiences (which I won’t go into) that increased my anxiety about asking questions and putting my words on the internet. Though this is troublesome because it is really hard to learn new computational skills when you are afraid of asking questions on the internet.

Not to mention the trollery and cruelty I’ve seen on Twitter. I spend on average probably 15 min contemplating each tweet because it makes me so nervous.

Why now?

A couple of factors have come together to motivate me to start this blog.

In the past few years, I’ve gotten involved in some awesome open science communities - Software Carpentry/Data Carpentry and Mozilla Science Lab.

I’ve learned a lot about how to give and get feedback and creating a positive learning environment when I learned to be a Software Carpentry intructor. I started my own study group, ComBEE, to help create such an environment for biologists (but you don’t have to be a biologist to come to our events) on my campus who want to learn computational skills. It is important to me that others don’t have bad experiences and become demotivated trying to learn computation/bioinformatics. I’m hoping through this blog I can share my experiences and help others create a more positive learning atmosphere.

However the final push to start a blog came from a great talk I attended by Liz Neeley and Ed Yong about telling your story.

picture of tell your story slide

(Sorry for the grainy picture where you can’t see the speakers very well. I was really far back in the room.)

This talk got me thinking about a blog again and led to me writing up notes for this post and making lists of blog post ideas. And here we are!

Let’s get started!

Well this is my first post but to keep it going I’m going to make a goal and state it here to keep me accountable.

I will write a new blog post every two weeks until I run out of topics on my list (~3 months if I don’t think of any new ones).

How you can help?

Post some encouragement! While this is obviously a cheap trick for comments, I’d love to hear from you. I will moderate any haters/trolls though.

Written on November 1, 2017