We academics blog to keep our nose in the winds of reality, to make our research or the works of our colleagues visible to the real world. We blog to make academic thoughts accessible for those who are not into meticulous theoretical and methodological debates (or we use our blogs to continue these debates online).
With Google announcing on its blog that it has adapted its search algorithm to cover recent events and hot topics, academic works published online one year or even longer ago but that may be absolutely relevant to current developments might be kicked out of the top 10 search results with this new algorithm, even if we chose a search engine optimised title that used to be found with the right key words.
This brings blogging back into the game:
Blogging about ongoing events for which our research matters can make academic research accessible to a broader audience when this audience is actually interested in the subject. Through the updated Google algorithm that is said to affect “roughly 35% of searches“, taking part in ongoing discussions online can make our research part of ongoing debates because it will (re-)figure somewhere in the search results where people will find and maybe even read it.
In the best case, this could enrich hot debates with some substance based on several months or years of research. In the worst case we’ve spent another 30 minutes on our subject (what’s 30 minutes compared to years…).
And by the way, the Google algorithm wasn’t something John Sides of The Monkey Cage didn’t even think about when writing his paper “The Political Scientist as A Blogger” (neither did he in this summary blog post).