I've decided to give my blog a little spring clean by changing some of the fonts and headings and adding a new header because I was getting tired of it. At the same time, I've been checking out my Google analytics stats for the blog - an extract is shown below for a recent period in early March 2012...
Not everything I post on here is directly related to my academic research (and some isn't really at all) but the value of blogging for academics is very clear to me, for three main reasons.
1. As someone who produces a lot of visuals (usually maps) in my work, the printed page is not always a good medium for publishing because of the costs associated with colour printing and the limited pages you are assigned within a journal paper. Basically, it's much easier and more efficient to publish spatial visualisations here;
2. Since I began blogging I've been contacted by countless researchers and students from all parts of the world either seeking to share their knowlegdge, borrow some of mine or just simply to say they are working on similar things too. Given that what I work on can be quite 'niche', this has been a really useful development;
3. By putting some of my work on here I'm able to make connections with the outside world in a way that is not possible with journal publications - since they're usually locked behind a paywall and they are normally published 18 months or more from when they were written. The immediacy of blogging is hard to beat (even if it does allow a lot of unstructured, unmoderated content to appear!) and it's also quite therapeutic.
It does take a time and effort to keep it going but most of what I put on here is directly related to my ongoing research and represents a kind of 'snippet view' of what I'm working on at any given time or just an insight into what I find of interest.