Dr. Ian Mackay, on his VDU's blog, has posted Editor's Note #13: 2014 thoughts... Excerpt with his emphases, and then a comment:
The VDU website, while in need of sprucing up (still), exists more as a fixed point in time while the blog aims to keep readers abreast of some of the goings on in virology. The blog's focus is on respiratory virology because that's what I know most about, but other things get dropped in on occasion. The focus is also on my take on things, hopefully with some humour thrown in.
I initially commented in April 2013 that I'd stay away from blather and keep the opinion related to hard data. That's still my intent, but opinion being what it is I may rant on occasion, I may drift away from citable evidence and I may collect thoughts in a way that cannot be verified by any one single study. Hopefully I'll make that clear but it will all be part of VDU's DNA...probably RNA given its focus on respiratory viruses...and nerdy little comments like that will continue to pop up too!
I've noticed during my short time in "flublogia" (I think that's a hard 'g') that each blog/site/newsboard has a distinct personality. Apart from spending a large slice of their own time collecting, collating and writing about infectious diseases for a largely intangible audience; page hits and comments being key proof-of-life beyond the keyboard.
Some key authors I have learned from in 2013 produce a "vibe" through their blogs. I often read the same new piece of information but on multiple sites to see a wide range of interpretations - each one telling me something different, each a specialized cell contributing to the tissue.
Crawford Kilian emphasizes the human cost to infections, Mike Coston emphasizes ways to personally protect yourself from infection and manages to place new news in superb context thanks to his blog's back-catalogue of posts while FluTrackers emphasize the spotting of information before it even occurs (yes, they are that fast!) and lays the groundwork for trends that are often only visible after their subject matter has emerged.
If I want to actually be interested in what's happening in the world of not-viruses, I'll go to Maryn McKenna's Superbug because it's the only bacterial text I enjoy reading (and she posts funny Tweets). There are others but correcting all these typos means that I write slowly and this has already taken a while.
So what about VDU's blog? It aims to identify, define and add opinion to patterns seen during virus infections, epidemics and outbreaks. It's a part-time thing so I post when I can. My opinion may not be bleeding-edge expert or informed by decades of specific literature and research (sometimes it is)- virology has many, many aspects to it and I don't claim to be across them all - but I am most happy to be educated so please do leave comments here or on Twitter, LinkedIn, ResearchGate or anywhere else I've left an avenue for contact.
I would pronounce it "flu-blo-ja," but Flublogia is a free country and its citizens can pronounce it any way they please.
I take Dr. Mackay's comments on this site as high praise, and concur with his comments on other sites. I've seen a lot of communities of interest and practice emerge online in the past 20 years, but none have been as positive, constructive, open to criticism, and mutually supportive as Flublogia.
It's been striking how we have divided the tasks: I run the news-clipping service with an occasional rant. Mike Coston does not only the prep items but the background and context of news events. FluTrackers went into computer-translated reports years before I could be dragged into reporting them. Maryn McKenna (and Helen Branswell) show us how good writing is done in science and public health.
Dr. Mackay entered Flublogia as one of the few welcome aspects of the first H7N9 outbreak. In some ways he's replaced the much-missed Revere, who was our adult supervision for years. But he's also added a wry Australian angle to the science. That angle, as much as his scientific expertise, makes him especially valued by his fellow Flublogians.