Open thread: Who is the typical Terra Sig reader?

We were asked recently by our ScienceBlogs hosts:

Is there a ‘typical ScienceBlogs reader’? Who are these people? Why do they read Sb? What do they get out of it?

From my comments, e-mails, and traffic patterns, most of you have advanced degrees and are reading from universities, drug companies, US federal agencies (including the military), and some newspapers and scientific publishers. While mostly American, a good many of you are from Canada, Great Britain, and Australia. Your age ranges from the early 20s to the early 60s. Many of you are practicing scientists, physicians, or other allied health professionals. A lot of you write your own blogs. But a good chunk of you are regular consumers of health care from a multitude of backgrounds who have questions about drugs, dietary supplements, and the truth behind marketing claims for these products.
Why do you read Terra Sig? My guess is that most of you read here (and other sci/med blogs) because you get more in-depth information on science topics than you do from most “conventional” media outlets. Others are just looking for recreational drug information.
Am I right, or am I wrong?

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18 thoughts on “Open thread: Who is the typical Terra Sig reader?

  1. You pretty much hit the nail on the head as far as my reasons for reading your blog. I’m an undergrad zoology student, and although I’m not going into a medical field myself but am very interested in hearing news on drugs/research, etc from the point of view of someone who is a professional in the field, as opposed to the canned press releases you get on most news sites.

  2. I’m a late 30s male academic PhD pharmacologist in the Western US. I check the ScienceBlogs frontpage for general stories outside my field but mostly read drug-related blogs like yours, Derek Lowe’s In the Pipeline, Pharmagossip, and a few others I found on your blogroll. I still subscribe to my local paper and the Wall Street Journal (oh yeah, I also read their health Blog). I mostly like to get details on current drug stories to use in my lectures because expert blogs will go into greater detail than MSM writers. I also like it when bloggers write about recently published papers. It brings many to my attention that I may have missed and is kind of like a journal club.

  3. 40-something female with undergrad in Poli Sci and Econ, also have an MBA. I read this blog because I am very interested in pharmaceuticals and medicine in general, despite my career being completely unrelated.

  4. 49 yr old industrial electrician working in the automotive industry. Like many kids growing up in the sixties, my love of science was fueled by a combination of Jacques Cousteau and the space program. A misspent youth and the allure of sex drugs and rock and roll led me away from any serious pursuit of science, but I retain my interest and curiosity.
    I typically look at the headlines for the “last 24 hours” and read the articles that spark my interest. I must confess to rarely reading Terra Sig. I don’t count Pharmacology among my subjects of interest.

  5. I am an undergraduate in chemistry. I really enjoy reading and learning about a variety of topics. I keep read your blog because it is consistently interesting.

  6. I am a retired woman who spent her working years as a research assistant in academic circles and went on to become an early employee of a famous biotech company in California.
    I also am an amateur ceramicist who has used terra sigillata. This blog was cited on an email list of potters called clayart and I’ve been reading ever since.
    BTW, re gender bias: I was told by my high school chemistry teacher the first day in lab that girls didn’t belong in the lab. 30 years later I related that story to some women who worked with me and one of them said the same thing happened to her at a poly tech college in the west in the 1980s.
    As we read the article about blinded musician auditions and consider adding skin color into that scenario, we should all have reasons to shudder. None of us escapes completely from the pervasive -isms of our culture.

  7. Tessa, I am so tickled to learn how you ended up here. Only after starting the blog at Blogger did I learn that using terra sigillata is a common technique in ceramics. In fact, more ceramicist know about it than pharmacologists or pharmacy students!
    For some reason, this blog and the old one comprise only three of the top five Google search results for “terra sigillata.” The first place result for many months has been this.
    Your reflections on gender bias are very sad to me, but no unexpected. I’ve had great success with female scientific trainees and collaborators (they would be great no matter what gender) and other minority students and lab trainees, so I hope that we can help neutralize the bias toward white men like me in the biological sciences.

  8. Special librarian here with a lifelong interest in science. I work for a professional association for medical regulatory affairs professionals, so your blog is of particular interest for me. Thanks!

  9. 50 something academic PhD pharmacologist who also researches (somewhat ineffectively) natural products as therapeutics. I like the insights into natural product drug development to be found here, as well as your other insightful writing (Homoeopathy is not medicine, NEJM and women in medicine etc.). I direct my students here, as I see this blog as a vibrant place that reflects a lot of contemporary science issues, as well as issues directly relevant to their studies.
    (PS, before obtaining my PhD, I was a medical laboratory technologist, working in routine diagnostics, I have also at various stages measured nitrogen levels in beet fields, estimated sheep lean mass composition, counted Kangaroo poo for population estimates and measured slip angles on sand dunes. I like eclectic things)

  10. I am a 20-something male doctor of pharmacy candidate in the Midwest with a strong interest in science and critical thinking and a fervent distaste for the pushers of anti-science and mass hysteria. I read your blog among many other Sb’s, including Respectful Insolence, <a href="Pharyngula, and Good Math, Bad Math. Like many ambitious 20-somethings, I have a lot on my mind and no clear idea what to do with it until I get my degree, so I spend a lot of my free time cruising the blogosphere in search of intelligent life.

  11. I got here googling for information on something health-related and the rest of your content quickly convinced me to subscribe. B.A. in Anthropology, working as a homeschooling mom right now. Ethnomedicine, folk medicine and pop culture health fads all fascinate me. Thanks for publishing a quality blog.

  12. Prof Musgrave, I continue to be honored that you would find our content worthy of sharing with your students. That is the highest compliment.
    N.B., I wish that sci/med blogging existed when I was in university. I would’ve felt more in touch with other intellectual soulmates.
    Resa, thank you, thank you. So many readers end up here through a Google search, a Digg, or StumbleUpon, but few stay. If I can make a chance reader subscribe to my feed, I know I’m doing well – now let’s hope that I can keep your interest and deserve your readership!

  13. I am a high school dropout, with a huge interest in science. I am actually in the process of getting back into school, as a father of a five year old, with the second due in the next few weeks. I am intending to study education, general science and journalism. My hope is that I will get into science journalism. I am studying education because I am really, really fed up with the schools. We are preparing to pull the five year old out of school to teach him at home.
    He and I have severe ADHD. I do not want him to end up with the experience I had in school. Unfortunately, he is well on track for that to happen. In spite of being top of his kindergarten class for reading, writing and math, he hates school, because he always has “bad” days there. So I am adding education, with an emphasis on special needs, to my course of studies. I have to admit, that my trepadition about going back to school was unwarranted. I am having a lot of fun with it.
    I like reading Terra Sig because I have an interest in medicinal plants. I ended up here, as I ended up on most science blogs. My brother is a sci-blogger and I rather enjoy his blog. I think I ended up here from Orac’s page.

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