Is this a blog or a column? Yes!
Well, the move to the new site has gone ok, though it seems some old readers are a bit unhappy. All I can say is that the site is a work in progress and that some exciting changes are in the works. So why did I move Genomicron to this site? The simple reason is: the readership. Genomicron did reasonably well in the blogosphere, but it was never going to be one of the major blogs like Pharyngula or Sandwalk. PZ and Larry have already done a great job filling that niche, and I have always been focused primarily on science (with some discussion of media reporting thereof and a bit of humour thrown in). It seemed to me that the successful science blogs have a formula in which the main focus is personal thoughts, comments about other blog posts, and/or controversial material with some great science posts mixed in. This does draw more readers: Genomicron had about 1/10 the readership of Sandwalk. On reflecting about it, I realized that my focus was the opposite. The posts that I cared about were the longer science articles, with some personal or humourous stuff thrown in now and then. My main source of readers for the important posts was links from other blogs, plus subscribers. In other words, people who already read blogs. This site is not really a blog site. It's really more of a science article source, more similar to the various news services, except that the idea is to have the articles authored by scientists. In that sense, this isn't a blog, it is a column. On the other hand, I can also write short, personal things like a blog, but they don't appear on the main page or go out in the site feed (just in my own feed). The readership is not the blogosphere, it's the sort of people who read LiveScience or news sites. In fact, columns by featured writers actually go on LiveScience's front page. Genomicron readers will recall me complaining about LiveScience and others -- here's me doing something about it. Does it make a difference? Well, on a good day (i.e., a Pharyngulanche), I might have had a bump to 1,000+ hits to the old site, and may have gained a few subscribers. In contrast, the post I wrote about "Should evolution be taught in high school?" for this site has had over 3,500 reads. It was picked up by Reuters, and a re-post on a news page garnered more than 17,000 comments. Don't get me wrong -- I like blogs, bloggers, and blog readers. It's just that my goal has always been outreach, not blogging per se, and this seems like a much (MUCH) more effective apparatus. And it doesn't keep me from having a blog in addition to a column. So, in short, I hope my previous readers will keep coming, and that soon they will be joined by others who do not normally read blogs regularly. Genomicron is still alive, but it has migrated to a bigger and better habitat.