Happy 9th blogiversary!

research-paper-vs-internet-comicSunday marked 9 years of blogging. This year, more than any other, I blogged in fits and starts. Every year I post this Asher Sarlin cartoon, as the best explanation for the blog’s long lifespan. This year was different. Some idle musings:

  • I remember Dani Rodrik leaving his blog because it crowded out his time to think and write more deeply. I have started to feel that pinch. I’ve been thinking about switching research directions, and taking on some new topics, and it’s hard to imagine doing that and blogging at the same time.
  • Leaving social media for a month or two this summer was healthy. I think I will try it again soon, maybe more permanently. I’m going to see if post-election social media becomes informative and diverse again. If not I’m done. But leaving social media also gave me less stuff to browse and link to. A blog needs a pipeline of material. It’s a hard decision.
  • On the days I think “Maybe I’m done at last,” a few things keep me blogging, some selfish, some not. And it’s not at all dinosaurs, cakes, and bikinis.
    • The blog has been around long enough that I now meet assistant professors, or reasonably senior public officials, who thank me for the advice posts, and talk about how helpful they were early in their careers. This could not make me happier. I take mentoring and advising seriously and if all I did was help people find more happiness in science and public service then it’s all worth it.
    • Selfishly, I must admit, the blog has brought me more research grants, more paper citations, and more opportunities than maybe anything else I have done. On the surface the blog has always taken time away from other work. But indirectly it’s enhanced all my research. That’s hard to give up.
    • One of these days I would really like to write a book, and focus more on writing for news outlets. Not now. I’ll probably have to give up much of my blogging to find the time. But the path from here to there certainly lies through keeping up the discipline of regular blogging.

Forgive the spotty on-and-off blogging in the meantime, and see you in a year for the big 10.