The art of writing for @ConversationUK ...

To be fair, it is neither an art, nor a science. More an enthusiasm mixed with ample portions of determination. It may seem smug, one has just wandered past the million reader mark. However, it takes time and some luck to get there.

Some articles involving celebrities, astronomy, aviation security and volcanoes get big hits. I am not jealous of my colleagues in science, they work on some cool stuff and can get the results in terms of hit count per article.

So, I write about everyday information technology and internet security issues, interesting, geeky and definitely not as popular as some comet plodding around our solar system.

However, having more articles in our university top ten (you have to rank over 100,000 readers per article), means that you have to be persistent, patient and occasionally quick of the block when a new story emerges. You do not know who will republish and some sites prove to be very fruitful.

My worse read article has just over 1000 readers, the best just shy of 400,000 with others ranking between 10,000 - 50,000 and a clutch above the magic 100K mark. Some of my articles never made five figures, this is not an issue as they contribute to a wider profile.

I use and reuse these articles in my teaching and social media, experimenting with teaching by twitter. I tweet/retweet different articles according to the media stream I am using, they continue to get hits and add to my cumulative readership.

If you are an academic/educator within the OU or elsewhere, I do commend writing. Apart from the reputation and reach, you are creating content that can be used to enhance your teaching.


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