In defence of blogging (and why to say no to social media)

Blogging allows for structured thoughts; a larger canvas for you to paint on. Over the past few weeks, as I have been able to shape up the website, it was done with the sole intention of being able to write well. I know, I have been doing it for years, but the skills were lying around like an unused surgeon’s scalpel. I am happy to wield it.

I read a lot. My reading interests vary, and I use smart techniques to filter out the noise. I have been successful in finding out ways for the technology side. However, it is difficult to find something similar for scientific papers.

The abstracts do matter but only fleetingly. By forcing papers to push for posting results, it leaves out the vital discussions (often behind the paywall) as to how they arrived at a conclusion. Although services like Mendeley have spent significant and considerable resources to “foster collaboration” around papers, the data signals are behind their proprietary formats.

Therefore, blogging (and annotation+summaries) is the best bet to get people to start discussions. If the sole idea is to have conversations around science/cancer/treatment regimens, then the existing half-hearted measures are not going to achieve anything substantial.

That’s why, initially, I was swept away with the idea of social media presence to explore linkages with other researchers. However, it is replete with marketers, gory news and opaque algorithms that determine your interaction with the peers. More disturbingly, tons of psychobabble bullshit about being “great” and “successful” and some useless “Monday motivation” quotes that peppers your timeline. I don’t have a Facebook account (and neither intend to have one) and I can well imagine how negativity magnifies there.

Blogging remains a medium that’s uniquely your space to broadcast. If people mind meaning, they will follow. Social media is anathema to meaningful discussions.