State of Operations Research Blogging

It has been almost a year since I had a blog entry here.  Not that I don’t have a lot to say!  I am using twitter more, and I do have ideas for blog entries in cases where 140 characters is not enough.  But there is limited time.

But I think something more fundamental is at work.  What is the state of blogging, and, in particular, the operations research blogging world?  It doesn’t appear all that healthy to me, but perhaps I am not seeing things correctly.

I think the blogging world was badly hurt by the cancellation of Google Reader.  At least for me, Google Reader was a fast a convenient way to follow the blogging world.  And, beyond me, I had creating a public list of OR Blogs, and a public feed of OR blog entries.  It seemed to be well used, but those ended with the end of Reader. It is harder to get word out about OR blogging.

I have tried to continue aspects of these listings on this page with a feed of OR blogs (also in sidebar) but it is much less convenient.

I also think the relentless onslaught of comment spam discouraged (and perhaps still discourages) people from trying out blogging.

Today I went through my list of OR blogs to see who has posted in the past year, and was distressed to see how few have done so.  Even with a pretty broad view of what an OR Blog is, it came to only about 40 people, with many of those (including myself!) barely meeting the “posted in the last year” requirement.

Those that remain are a fantastic source of information.  I think particularly of Laura McLay’s Punk Rock Operations Research and Anna Nagurney’s RENeW as must-read entries.  But there now seem to be few active bloggers.

Am I missing a ton of entries in the OR Blogging world  (let me know if I am missing some from my list)?  Has the world of twitter taken over from the long-form journalism that blogging provides?

In any case, I will make an effort to write more and welcome thoughts about how to strengthen the OR blogging community.

13 thoughts on “State of Operations Research Blogging”

  1. I agree that discontinuing Google Reader was a bad move, it should have been integrated into Google+ (so that you can follow a feed). Also, blogs seem to be on the way out, videoblogs are more fashionable now, at least in the science/engineering field that I’m following.

    On the upside, please see the SAS/OR blog, the operations research blog of the OR group within SAS. We try to post regularly, altough summer has been slow.

  2. I suspect part of this is good intentions colliding with work schedules (and careening off in a new direction, preserving momentum but not velocity). Also, I think Bjarni is slacking about hounding people at INFORMS coffee breaks to start blogs.

    I too relied on Google Reader until its demise. I’ve settled on Inoreader ( as a substitute, and I’m pretty happy with it.

  3. I think Google Reader has been replaced by Twitter as a gateway to the blog articles. Instead of checking the topic list in Google Reader, people check twitter – and follow the link to the blog articles from there. The trouble is when a blogger posts a new blog article, he/she needs to do a tweet with a link to it manually :/
    I tend to do that for my blog (which isn’t on your list btw :), it works well.

  4. There is more than a bit of irony in the realization that Twitter is undermining “good ol’ long-form” blogging…deja vu anyone?

  5. Geoffrey: “Checking Twitter” is pretty good for one hour but then blog announcements are _way_ down the list. I do this, of course, but if the entry doesn’t get some discussion on Twitter, the half-life of people knowing about it is pretty short. I do “auto-tweet” when I blog, so that helps the process.

    Your blog has been added!

  6. Mike: Check out Feedly for a Google Reader replacement. It can import your Google Reader lists, and works in a similar fashion. It has a web interface and mobile apps.

    Having said that, I never understood how people find the time to blog in the first place. Maybe twitter takes over because it requires little effort to create content because the content has no space for any substance.

  7. I use Feedly personally, though it lacks the same “community” aspects that Reader has. So I can’t make a public blogroll out of a Feedly blog list, nor can I provide an RSS feed out of that list. But I agree it is a workable private reader.

  8. And, not surprisingly, I even have to spend time clearing out comment spam from a post that wonders whether comment spam is hurting blogging.

  9. Comment spam is the Web’s way of telling you that your blog is popular. Besides, you shouldn’t begrudge people with no marketable skills the chance to make a living. After all, Congress only has so many openings in any given year.

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