Why Your Academic Blog Post is Worth $200,000
Grab your Audience's Attention.
If you do not blog about your research, you might as well take all your papers and burn them right now. Because no one will read your paper or remember your talk at a conference.
Not because it isn't wonderful work, but because human bandwidth is terribly limited. Most new memories will fade after a few hours or days, and essentially non-existent after 3 months. In an event as fully packed as a conference, with thousands of people, hundreds of conversations, and dozens of presentations, chances are your presentation will be forgotten against all the other competing memories.
People's time and attention costs money. To get your research presented in 20 minutes to room of 100 people, costs each person easily $2000 (registeration, airfare, and hotel) to be there. Collectively, was your talk well-worth $200,000?
Blogging about your research can spread your message to a much bigger room of people.
But these people do not have 20 minutes, and your writing must reflect that. Further, consider how people consume content: You are competing with several other open tabs from facebook, twitter, etc.
- Most readers will only spend about 10-30 seconds reading your blog post.
- Stick to only one topic; anything else will derail your message.
- Prepacked takeaway points can be read quickly and spread through social media, reinforcing your message.
If you've reached an additional 100 visitors, then you've doubled your audience for very little additional effort. Chances are you will reap other benefits, including research collaborations, consulting offers, increased citations, and people actually reading your paper.
Foster comments and discussion
Software developers will tear your ideas to shreds: This is a good thing. Software developers' discussion of research can be dismissive, deeply critical, fixate to the point of distraction on minor issues, and may not have the best understanding of methodology. But they often have good intution and can ofter perspectives or scenarios you never imagined and are always worth your consideration. Learn to channel these comments into something positive.
Go where the developers are: reddit, hacker news, twitter, etc. Do not shy away from engaging the community directly. Perhaps, start with a small audience, maybe a subreddit related to your topic. Avoid saturating your social networks, if you have something worth sharing, even starting with something small, it will spread on its own. Be mindful of your social currency: do not expect people to continously tune into your broadcasts.
Since you have your audience's attention, you might as well ask them for something. They can help out by being trying out your tool, contributing data, commenting below, or checking out other articles: