Wednesday, January 01, 2014

Starting the 8th year of blogging at Arizona Geology

Today marks the 7th anniversary of "Arizona Geology" and the start of my 8th year of blogging.   During those seven years, I've made 3,846 posts, and the site has drawn well over 1.3 million page views (I didn't start tracking views until almost a year and a half into blogging).   In 2013 I made only 270 posts, down from 440 in 2012 and 713 in 2011.    I have over 100 draft posts waiting to be completed. This slower pace is likely to continue in 2014 for a couple of reasons.    The main problem is finding time.   As AZGS has grown and we've moved into a soft money environment (we nearly tripled in size during this time and we now raise over 90% of our budget each year from external sources, competing for funds on a national level), I am increasingly consumed working on projects needed to keep the agency running.  

Second, the social media world continues to evolve.    Many of the things I used to post about are now being shared, probably more effectively, on our Facebook page and via our Twitter feed, managed by AZGS Extension Service Chief, Mike Conway.   For example, our Facebook page, for last week had ~ 5,518 views, 711 people engaged, with 209 “talking about this”. Facebook 'likes" rose to 1,725, which is not bad for a slow, holiday week.   Twitter followers climbed to 1,878.

Each year on the anniversary, I repost my first entry, describing my goals and vision for blogging.     Reading it over again, they are just as relevant today as they were on January 1, 2007.   I said this was an experiment then, and that is still true.  It's now part of a larger experiment but still seems to be achieving the goals I laid out at the start.

Thanks to you for making this a rewarding experience. Here's post #1:

Arizonans depend on groundwater for life, minerals to build our communities and create jobs, and amazing geologic scenery for tourism and our own enjoyment. Arizona recently became the fastest growing state in the nation, putting increased demands on our natural resources and reigniting concerns about the environmental impact of all this growth. Then there are natural disasters such as floods, landslides, debris flows, earth fissures, and earthquakes that threaten our homes and lives.

On top of that, our university geology programs are among the best in the country. We are the number one mining state in the nation and global demand for copper and uranium are drawing renewed interest in mineral exploration. The State's expanded Renewable Portfolio Standard, requiring 15% of our electricity to come from renewable energy sources, is generating re-examination of our geothermal resources.

Clearly, understanding our geology is critical to all Arizonans. Yet, one of the things I noticed when I came to Tucson a year ago is the fragmented nature of news coverage around Arizona. There is no state-wide newspaper or tv news. As a result, important geology-related news reported in one metropolitan area is often ignored elsewhere around the state.

The intersection of all this creates a need for collecting and sharing current activities, news, and opinions in the geosciences within the Arizona earth science community and to broader audiences. So, this site is an experiment.

My job as State Geologist of Arizona encompasses different responsibilities from my task as Director of the Arizona Geological Survey, giving me reign to work to ensure a healthy, dynamic, and robust earth science enterprise to benefit the State and the profession.

Within that scope, I'd like to try using this forum to
1. share news, ideas, opinions, and help foster a greater community sense in the geosciences,
2. reach out to the larger community to let them know how the geosciences affect all our lives, and
3. re-engage the public in better understanding of the nature and process of science.

Lee Allison
State Geologist and Director
Arizona Geological Survey

1 comment:

  1. Anonymous7:19 AM

    Lee - Thank you for continuing to provide such timely and interesting information related to the geosciences and Arizona. It is very much appreciated.
    ---Barb M.