So you want to be a bug blogger.

The inimitable Bug Girl, who founded perhaps the longest running and most successful insect blog in the history of the medium, has shared her upcoming presentation on blogging for the Entomological Society meetings. If you blog, or are thinking about blogging, the best 20 minutes you can spend this morning will be watching Bug Girl’s video.

There’s a lot to chew on. In particular, her insistence that bug bloggers aren’t competing with each other, but against a larger ascientific media, is worth noting. We aren’t locked in a zero-sum game for a limited number of reader eyeballs. If we, as a group, use social media to build our networks and raise the overall profile of Entomology and other sciences, we all get new readers.

Bug Girl notes two successful strategies for attracting attention: 1. Humor; 2. Error. If you’re funny and/or piss people off, you’ll get an audience. I’d like to add a third category: Be Useful. Many of my most successful posts aren’t funny or wrong, but instead explain how to do things. Some readers want to become better photographers, or be better at identifying insects. Sharing your skills- especially your enviable skills- will foster a following.

11 thoughts on “So you want to be a bug blogger.”

  1. Be useful: I still read this blog because it is 1: funny, 2: discusses the error factor in scientific research, and 3: gives me useful info about things that I am interested in.

    Useful is probably best (you answered my question about cats and anthills), but funny is definitely important.

    I read other bug blogs: this is not a competition unless -you- make it so.

  2. I just decided on a unique name for a blog, and I’m happy with it – except it begins with ‘Y’. Too late in the alphabet? I hope it won’t be a hindrance (that said, I seriously doubt *that* would be the limiting factor in attracting readers..)

  3. I’ll tell you why I read this blog, and I don’t really read any other bug blogs:

    – The posts tend to be short (no long-winded screeds)
    – The pictures are awesome
    – I never disagree with the writing. Lots of times I’m indifferent and I skip the post, but it never irritates me, which most other blogs do.
    – It’s usually entertaining
    – The quality of the comments and commenters is outstanding (except for me)
    – The format is very pleasant (clean, uncluttered, and easy on the eyes)

    Lastly, I don’t find this blog funny (I follow comedians on twitter for that), and if a blog pisses me off, I don’t read it. But I do find Myrmecos useful in terms of taking pictures, and it also connects me to nature in a way that my day-to-day life doesn’t.

    I didn’t think that much about this, and there’s probably a lot more to it, and I probably only speak for myself and shed no light on this conversation. But those are my reasons.

  4. Pingback: Transcript of my ESA talk about Social Media « Bug Girl’s Blog

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