With at least 150 million professional and amateur blogs on the Internet, blogging offers a potentially powerful tool for engaging large and diverse audiences with science. This article investigates science blogging practices to uncover key trends, including bloggers’ self-perceptions of their role. Interviews with seven of the most popular science bloggers revealed them to be driven by intrinsic personal motivations. Wishing to pursue their love of writing and share their passion for science, they produce content suitable for niche audiences of science enthusiasts, although they do not assume background scientific knowledge. A content analysis of 1000 blog posts and comparison with the most popular blogs on the Internet further confirmed this result and additionally identified key factors that affect science blog popularity, including update frequency, topic diversity and the inclusion of non-text elements (especially images and video).
This study examined the Chinese public’s use of Weibo (a microblog platform) and their cognitive, affective, and behavioral responses to a series of food safety crises. Based on a sample of 1,360 adult Weibo users across China, the study found that Weibo use contributed to cognitive and behavioral responses to food safety concerns, but access to other online and off-line news and information outlets was largely irrelevant. Emotional response toward the food safety incidents was a stronger predictor of both food safety risk perception and prevention action, relative to food safety incident awareness and factual awareness. Theoretical and social implications of study findings are discussed.
This paper presents results from three studies on science blogging, the use of blogs for science communication. A survey addresses the views and motives of science bloggers, a first content analysis examines material published in science blogging platforms, while a second content analysis looks at reader responses to controversial issues covered in science blogs. Bloggers determine to a considerable degree which communicative function their blog can realize and how accessible it will be to non-experts. Frequently readers are interested in adding their views to a post, a form of involvement which is in turn welcomed by the majority of bloggers.