I love soda. That should be no such a big surprise if you saw my previous post where I admitted to loving junk food. I love science. And you know I loves Science Blogging. But if I had known my little affair of junk food and science and social media would end up in the mess now regarded as #PepsiGate/#SbFail, I would have shunned the tasty but not-so-healthy beverage long ago. You see, Cola has shattered my science blogging world.
July 7th, news began to spread that Scienceblogs (operated by SEED Media Group) was now hosting Advertising blogs - Blogs that paid to be in the Sb Community to blog about a particular subject. At first the idea of Advertising blogs didn't raise any alarms until I read the critique of the whole matter at the much respected Knight Science Journalism Tracker: ScienceBlogs trashes credibility: Leaked response from editor. I then understood why many of my fave Sb bloggers were in an uproar.
I was grateful that not everyone reacted too quickly or strongly to PepsiGate, e.g. Dr. Isis and Greg Laden. I tend to be rather oblivious to tensions and in-fighting of others. Unless I'm personally affected by the madness, I remain agnostic about strife and that was my initial response to this matter.
See, what had happened was....
Junk food giant Pepsi Cola purchased blog space for their new social media baby - Food Frontiers. It was supposed to blog written by their Food/Nutrition Scientists about Nutrition and Food Science and all of the yummy ways corporate America makes us healthier one bite/gulp at a time. No kidding. None of that sounded right to Sb bloggers or to me. And the reasons why Pepsi purchased blog space as opposed to being invited are articulated quite well here and here.
But before I could adjust to this madness, I started reading blog posts or twitter feeds like this:
Culture Dish Doesn't Live Here Anymore (Best-selling HeLa cells Author, Rebecca Skloot leaves)
My Official Farewell (My co-dissertator and high-heel shoe friend SciCurious leaves)
Hiatus Exodus (Super popular,science writer paleo style blogger Brian Switek departs)
What's going on here?!
Sciencebloggers striking and others were jumping ship like rats off of the Titanic.
And so it has been. I've been a firm member in both the Science Blogging Community and the Black Blog-o-sphere, doing my thing and bridging the two communities where ever, whenever, and however I could.
However, with the exodus of great bloggers from Sb, Emerald City hasn't been looking so shiny lately. And then the bottom fell out. On July 19, 2010, the leading link in the header of Scienceblogs read Bora leaves ScienceBlogs with superb history and analysis of science blogging. I actually gasped and teared up. No, not Bora! The Papa Smurf of the ScienceBlogs village. Always level-headed and fair. His virtual leadership in Sb was always obvious. Like Papa Smurf, he seemed to know, accept, and even appreciate every single Scibling as he or she was - sweet, the crusty, the potty-mouthed, and the antagonistic. Everyone looked to him and no doubt he was the nucleus of Sb. Read Bora's Farewell- a long but thorough history of Sb,science blogging and new media science communication.
And if that wasn't enough, as I was trying to write this post (taking me 2 days to do so), I read on Twitter that PalMD, Zuska, and Abel Pharmboy is departing, too. Wow, those last two departures sting, too. Both have been great SM mentors to me. Zuska reached out to met at ScienceOnline09 in the sessions about STEM diversity and jumped immediately on board the Diversity in Science Carnival. And if Bora is Papa Smurf, then Abel Pharmboy is certainly my Fairy God-father. When I needed assistance getting to the Blogging While Brown Conference in DC, he came through in a flash. His mentoring spiriting and influence on science blogging and outreach to diverse audiences is summed up nicely in these lines: