If you’ve been on Facebook for any length of time you will have had friend requests from people you don’t know. That’s fine. Often they’re just spammers. Sometimes, they’re users with whom you might have a few friends in common. If paths haven’t crossed I usually redirect requests to the Sciencebase Facebook page instead of automatically accepting the request. Occasionally, the new wouldbe friend turns out already to “like” the page, says so and starts a conversation. Also fine. Half proves they’re not some kind of bot. Virtual friendships can spring from such occurrences. It’s what this social media lark is all about, right?
Indian medical blogger Pranab Chatterjee who runs Scepticemia, sent me a friend request and I went through the process described above and he pointed out that he already liked the fan page, was surprised to learn I also run Sciencetext and wondered how I manage to juggle so many words at once. He also thought that I might be able to offer him some advice on boosting visitors to his blog as he felt like it had reached a plateau. He wanted the recipe for my secret sauce of success…well I don’t have one, I just work (probably too) hard and hope for the best. So, I turned the tables on Pranab and asked him what I could do to improve my blog.
He was a little taken aback, but offered some encouraging words about the liking the clean look of the blogs and putting in a request for more hardcore medical posts, he’s a doctor, hence the interest. I do write about medical matters, but I will probably leave the hardcore stuff to the hardcore medical bloggers (and I don’t mean Dr G)
Anyway, if there is a recipe for blogging success, other than going black hat it has to be plenty of persistence a wadge of hard work, and perhaps a very strong background in the subject on which you’re blogging coupled with experience in the wider journalism industry and/or experience in science (or other field) and the conference circuit. I think enjoying writing probably helps as does have an analytical approach. Being active in social media, particularly Facebook and Twitter seems to help raise one’s profile although is not really reflected in traffic, in my experience (a few hundred to a thousands new visits extra each week, perhaps) and the occasional spike. Others might perceive that differently, but more than 80% of Sciencebase traffic is still search engine derived. Nevertheless, make sure every new blog post is as perfect and precise as you can, and then tell your Facebook followers, twitter crowd about it. It’s also always worth doing a spot of whitehat SEO, just to improve search traffic benefit.
That’s just a few, almost random thoughts. Bottom line is: if you enjoy writing, you probably should have a blog. If you enjoy people you probably should make friends.