Running the Scholarly Kitchen for the past 18 months has been a very rewarding experience. From the initial excitement when the idea was hatched with Sue Kesner, to the excellent design from Nicole Colovos, to the first posts, to the first traffic, we have grown from a hopeful idea into a touchstone for scholarly publishers, information specialists, and strategists. We’ve even had some fireworks in the form of a very funny April Fool’s piece and our experiment submitting a fake paper.
One question I get often enough is, “How much time does it take to run the blog?” So, before taking a two-week summer hiatus, and at the urging of a couple of fellow bloggers, I decided to tackle this question.
After all, it’s just a blog. How hard can it be?
I thought it would be an easy question to answer, but there is a surprisingly long list of duties:
- Writing posts
- Editing posts other authors submit
- Planning a week of posts
- Moderating comments
- Responding to comments
- Blog hygiene (dealing with changes in feeds, sprucing up logos, etc.)
- Communicating with the blog’s authors
- Communicating with SSP leadership
- Marketing the blog
- Adding, dropping, and managing bloggers
- Dealing with inquiries (media, curbside consults, stray inquiries)
- Staying current so that everything else is easier
So, how much time does it take every week? I’d estimate it takes about 15-20 hours per week for me to run the Scholarly Kitchen, doing all those things mentioned above. Most of the time is in writing posts, editing posts, and moderating comments. Luckily, the other bloggers in the Kitchen are really fantastic — self-starters who know the ropes and get stuff done. And the SSP has been great in providing editorial independence and marketing support.
While 15-20 hours per week strikes even me as a lot, it’s a few rocks in a pile of sand, basically. The rocks are writing and editing posts, things I often do first-thing in the morning over breakfast or last-thing at night after everyone else has conked out.
Getting good posts takes time. I really try to make sure that we have great stuff up here, so I take time to read, re-read, and re-re-read posts before they go up. Adding tags and artwork also takes time, but we’re helped a lot by Zemanta here, a great little blogging aid that makes life much easier.
The rest is sand — time-sliced, non-interfering, easily done things, often accomplished via my iPhone. Moderating comments takes usually 15 seconds per comment, unless it’s an unusually long or inflammatory one, when I’ll put it off until a morning or evening session. Replying takes longer. Many of the other duties come up sporadically, so they’re not a burden. They often add variety, the spice of life.
Overall, including the other bloggers (and I’m making an educated guess here), I’d say that each week’s posts represent 40-60 hours of work in total.
And remember, it’s just a blog.
Since it’s summer, we’re going to slow it down for the next two weeks to recharge and recuperate. We may serve up the occasional chef’s special, but we won’t be open daily during these two weeks.
See you back in the Scholarly Kitchen with our daily menu of fresh ingredients, exotic dishes, and enticing presentations in mid-August.