Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Happy Bloggiversary!

Today is Academic Jungle's 1st anniversary. It opened with Delayed Gratification at the old URL (geekmommyprof.blogpost.com); today's post is my 86th. I moved to http://academic-jungle.blogspot.com/ on August 7 with Jungle Juggle.

I am proud to have acquired 45 followers and 282 readers who follow the blog on Google Reader. Google Analytics gives me the following numbers (these are only from August 12, 2010 till today, i.e. just since I moved to the new URL)

Total pageviews: 106,265
Unique pageviews: 86,966

I think these are all very cool numbers for a 1-year-old small independent blog.

Another cool piece of statistics is the map of visitors -- they came from 107 countries!

What have I learned about blogging in the past year? Like many other human activities, blogging can be aggravating or boring; on the other hand, it can be fun, therapeutic, or enlightening. The positives overall outweigh the negatives, which is why I am still around.

Negative aspects first: I have had several kerfuffles in my first year, most of which I don't particularly care to remember. The first one transpired before I completed a full month of blogging, it was completely surprising and largely disillusioning. It mainly had a censoring effect on my subsequent writing. I freely admit that I now avoid writing about certain topics altogether and significantly tone down my writing on many others because I don't have the time or the energy to fight off the potential onslaught of vitriolic comments. Hats off to those who have no such issues, as it looks like there are plenty of bloggers who thrive on these little explosions; honestly, I find them (the kerfuffles) nothing but draining. I don't find them amusing even when they happen to other people. But, I also found that censoring your writing is apparently no guarantee that someone somewhere won't get ticked off by whatever you write: no matter how personal or benign a post, there is always the potential to aggravate people. Oh well. I suppose that's just blogging imitating life.

But, all this negativity is hardly appropriate for a birthday, so off to positive things. What are my favorite aspects of blogging? Bloggy friends and acquaintances, bar none. There are a number of bloggers whose writing I really enjoy for various reasons -- some are serious, some goofy, some focused on the science/academia, some more on the personal aspects, but all are invariably whip-smart and insightful. With some I have connected off-blog. I really cherish the connections to these interesting people whom I would have never met otherwise.

I also appreciate blogging as a means of venting (I am sure Mr GMP also appreciates that I don't offload all -- only most -- of my many frustrations on him!) I enjoy other people's ranty posts and do feel better after writing mine. Moreover, I really enjoy blogging as a creative outlet of sorts. I know blogging does not constitute creative writing, or at least not very high-quality creative writing the way I do it, but the posts I enjoyed writing the most essentially read like essays.

Overall, it's been an interesting year, and in hindsight it does seem kind of long really. I started blogging at the end of my 6th year as a faculty (several months after I learned that I had been approved for tenure) and now is the end of my 7th. I am off to a sabbatical leave, which I am really looking forward to. In the past year, I have graduated four students, two with an MS and two with a PhD, received a couple of teaching awards, written many, many grants, and many, many papers. At the end of June I am expecting a baby on whose name Mr GMP and I have yet to agree. One option for the name would have our three boys' first initials be NMR, which greatly pleases the geek in me. Another option results in NML, the inverse alphabetical order of these letters, also high on the geek-o-meter. A third would yield NMA (enema -- LOL). Perhaps we'll just name him Spawn 3.

Dear reader, I have two orders of business where I need your input. One is a very important issue that has been bugging me for quite some time: what is, in your opinion, the proper name for a blogging anniversary? (You can enter multiple answers.)

What is the proper name for a blogging anniversary?
Blogging anniversary (DUH!)
This is the poll equivalent of Rebecca Black's "Friday" (eyeroll)
pollcode.com free polls

My other request is a bit more serious: if you are a regular reader, and especially if you haven't commented much or at all, tell us a little bit about who you are, what you like/dislike about Academic Jungle, and what I can do to encourage you to comment more. Do you read for the academic (research/teaching/funding) content, for the more personal (family/mommy/immigrant) content, or is mixing it all up exactly your cup of tea?

Thanks everyone for reading!


Anonymous said...


I am one of the Google Readers. I really enjoy your posts mainly as a "parallel" universe comparison: I am a male professor in a STEM field, going for my tenure review next year (just had a long discussion about letter writers today), while expecting our second boy in a few weeks. So a lot of the themes resonate, from grant-writing to raising a family far away from all the grand-parents, etc.

I don't know if anything will induce me to leave more comments, this is the first one I wrote in many months.



studyzone said...

I learned about your blog from FSP's blog-roll this past September. I enjoy your writing style and selection of topics. I am a postdoc about to enter my second round of job-searching (for a PUI faculty position), and I your perspective on academia gives me hope that maybe there is a light at the end of the tunnel that has been my career. I also mentor quite a few undergrads and grad students, and your blog is one of the ones I refer them to when they need some encouragement that is is definitely possible to be a successful PI and parent. [Finally, I like that Hyperbole and a Half is in your blog-roll (good taste!)]

Alyssa said...

I am so glad you continued to blog after the not-so-pleasant first month you had (what a way to be introduced to the science blogosphere!)! I really enjoy your more personal posts (and comment on those more), since I'm not on the TT, but I read it all!

Happy 1 year blogoversary :D

Anonymous said...

I am a regular reader that has not commented before. Like the commenter above, I enjoy your posts for the mix of family and academic. I am a male professor in a STEM field that just received tenure last month (yay!). I am also extremely involved in raising my two children under the age of 7 (to the detriment of my research career according to some in my department!).

I have tried commenting a time or two before but for some reason, the comments were never posted.

Keep up the good work, your blog is one of the first things I check each morning!

- C

inBetween said...

Happy blogoversary! so happy to be one of your followers... pls keep blogging!

Anonymous said...

I am a regular reader, but never commented. Male, immigrant, STEM, Tenure Trac in a private research university. Proud dad of a little boy. I love the blog!

Anonymous said...

Hi! I'm one of your google readers...a PhD student in the social sciences who studies STEM career development and women's underrepresentation in STEM fields. I'm approaching completion of my dissertation, and I stumbled upon your blog just under a year ago when I was wandering the blogosphere looking for tidbits for my intro.

What drew me to your blog was your frankness at the outset (i.e. when the shitstorm that you referred to happened) as well as the topics you have covered, esp. as someone who was pregnant (is now a mom) and trying to decide whether she should pursue the tenure track.

Not sure if there's anything you can do to encourage more comments from me, since really I'm trying to prioritize these days (get my dissertation done and spend time with my new baby). Maybe once I'm a doctor!

Liz said...

I'm a google reader follower and a current PhD student. I really enjoy your writing style, your mix of science life and family life, and the fact that your blog is a non-biomed academic blog without a lot of the clique-iness that tends to go along with a good number of those blogs. I always look forward to your posts. I am not generally a big commenter on blogs but I will put in some more effort here on that front

Anonymous said...

I am a female graduate student in math with a 2 year old daughter. I do not follow, but check in on your blog regularly. I found Academic Jungle when I was searching for some blogs written about the intersection of motherhood and life in a (non-bio) STEM field. After my daughter was born, I craved a female mentor with experience balancing motherhood and academia and the blogosphere is the only place I have been able to find anything resembling that. I don't comment much because I don't have time - between taking care of my daughter and working on my thesis I am exhausted. I am very grateful for this blog - thank you.

TheHyperbolicRxn said...

who I am: STEM Undergrad in the throes of my last semester. Starting grad school in a few weeks across the country. 1/6th sass 1/2 sincerity 1/6 sarcasm , 1/12th science and 1/12th watching Golder Girls right now while I should be finishing up a project. All numbers approximate.

What you like/dislike about Academic Jungle:
Enjoy your perspective! I started reading after, but not much after, you moved since you're on FSP's blagroll. And oh the drama dramz last summer! I'm really saddened to hear that you toned down for that. I am going to count that as my dislike.

what you can do to encourage you to comment more: I'm not sure. Probably questions that baby scimaticians can answer.

Do you read for the academic (research/teaching/funding) content, for the more personal (family/mommy/immigrant) content, or is mixing it all up exactly your cup of tea?:

Hmm.. I like tea. I think it's the mix up. The academic stuff is educational, but personal is what makes you an individual, no? And I enjoy the nerdy remarks on NMR and baby bump symmetry groups. Congrats!

Anonymous said...

Hi! I am a PhD student in engineering. I found out about your blog through Female Science Professor's blogroll, and I found her blog by googling women in science. I like to read your posts mostly because it gives me a better perspective on how my supervisors think, and because it shows the more human-side of professors. I also love the rants about being a woman in science.

I don't typically comment, though sometimes I am tempted. But, I do participate on the polls; if they are interesting, I will click and vote.

Jenny said...


I am a female, immigrant, computational / theoretical scientist in the physical sciences. On the tenure track, with a toddler, hoping to get pregnant again. See the similarities? I like your mix of topics, just the way it is. I comment once in a blue moon if something really resonates with me, and I visit your page the old-fashioned way: I have a bookmark (is there an embarrassed ascii smiley I can use here?).

Happy blogoversary and best of luck with your pregnancy.


Anonymous said...


I am a junior research faculty in Biomed field, immigrant, mother of two young kids. I happen to found your blog from FSP, and I do enjoy reading your rants. I am not a follower, but in between of work, I like to read whatever is interesting out there, and do check your blog if something is new.

Ace K. said...

I've enjoyed the first year of your blog. I like the tell-it-like-it-is voice, interesting topics and themes of this blog. I am really puzzled by what you call the kerfuffles. In all honesty, I cannot see why this would be any more vitriol-raising than any other blog. I don't think it's a disciplines thing because I am in the biomedical side of the sciences, not physical. I hope I am wrong in my feeling that there was a lot of xenophobia underlying some of the reactions to your blog. As a result of the kerfuffles, I have stopped reading some bloggers, but not you.

However, I feel sad that you felt censored. Both for yourself and for your readers, I believe you should make more effort to not censor yourself. Each blog is valuable inasmuchas it provides something new, a fresh perspective, a new idea. Censoring yourself will not serve this purpose. Don't let nameless internet personae bully you!! You and we deserve better than that!

As for the haters, may I leave you with a quote by FSP:

"When someone comments: I hate reading your blog. I read it every day and it makes me angry.

My response: Please please find a way to identify yourself so that law enforcement officials can be notified that you are bound and shackled somewhere, with your head restrained and your eyes propped open so that you cannot avert your gaze from the horror that is my blog.. every day. Such torture is shocking and I personally am against it."

Happy bloggaversary!

Ace K. said...

Oh, I like the academic posts more than the personal - I know this is a minority opinion but that's just me even though I am an FSP, I'm just worn out by all the motherhood balance thing that you get every corner you turn. I don't read those kinds of discussions. But I understand there may be others who are not surrounded by an accepting environment who may need the solidarity.

On the personal side, I like the immigrant aspect because it does not get brought up enough. As a seemingly white immigrant who gets into all kinds of trouble the moment I show my passport (not to mention the many months I've spent on visa-related activities over the years - and yes I counted the hours and they added up to months, even if you assumed I worked 24 hour days), I have to carry an invisible load on my every day of my academic life. The load does get lighter as you get more established, but it is there nevertheless and it's good to be able to talk about it. But I find this to be a polarizing subject, unfortunately... And sometimes the discussion unearths attitudes that I'd rather not have seen expressed...

I don't blog myself and only comment sporadically. I don't have specific ideas on how to increase commenting.

BugDoc said...

GMP, I think your posts are thoughtful and interesting, and I have been solidly with you during the aforementioned "kerfuffles" (especially the recent one about whether we should expect publications from our grad students!). I should comment more, but usually am just checking blogs in 5 min between meetings or on the time I allow myself for work breaks, so I often don't have the time to think through a comment. Happy blogoversary and keep up the good work!

Anonymous said...

I'm a female MSc student in engineering. I like reading your academic posts especially since I find that they are a lot more relevant to my field than the numerous biomed blogs! I personally don't get a lot out of the more family-related posts at this point in time (I'm simply not at that point in my life); however, it is always nice to hear about women in STEM fields who are successful at both maintaining their academic and family lives! It's kind of reassuring :)

Clarissa said...

Congratulations on the blogging success! I can't really choose between the academic and the personal kind of posts. Blogs that only stick to one or the other end up being boring and repetitive. I think that variety is great. You are a multi-faceted human being, so why not share all these facets with the readers?

I have moved my own blog to WordPress today. The new url is: http://clarissasblog.com/. So if you could change it in your blog list that would be great.

Happy blogoversary (my word of choice for it)!

Anonymous said...

I'm a male CS assistant professor at a research university. I enjoy your blog even if I don't always agree with you. I generally pay more attention to the academic posts, but I really prefer it when bloggers blog about anything they want. (Never did understand the "I don't like topic X, please stop blogging about it" types of comments.)

I found you through the very kerfuffle that you mentioned in this post. I still read the other parties involved too. I don't always agree with them either, but diversity is the spice of life, as they say. Just keep doing your thing.

Requin said...

I'm a TT social scientist (one more year until going up for tenure). I think I've been reading your blog for a long time, certainly prior to the kerfuffle. I was glad you kept blogging. I appreciate the mixture of subjects and find your blog posts to be very interesting - I like your general tone, if that makes sense. Oh, and I like the discussions of the theoretical/computational nature of your work.

Unbalanced Reaction said...

Happy, happy bloggy bday!

..and since I haven't been around much, I wouldn't blame you if you had forgotten that I'm on the tenure track at a PUI. ;-) I haven't been reading much of anything lately (horribly, horribly behind), but I'm looking forward to getting caught up in the coming weeks.

Anonymous said...

I'm a female postdoc (first time commentor) who found your blog by searching 'two-body problem' when my husband and I were on the job search a while ago. We found blogs to be a helpful way to survey/understand negotiating techniques, job search etiquettes, etc., stuff they don't teach you in grad school or might not want to ask your advisor directly (e.g. how much was YOUR start up?). It's also nice to read blogs by female scientists even though my field is pretty gender-balanced (or seems like it). I like to be aware of issues that might come up for me in the future or that my female colleagues might be facing (trying to have it all).

I don't comment because... it's just not my nature to put my personal opinions out there... not because of the contents of your blog necessarily.

Dr. Sneetch said...

I love your blog and the advice you give is so right on the mark. At a very practical level it is immmensly useful.

I find the kerfuffles draining too. Maybe it is because I don't have the sort of friends I can discuss my work-life with and don't want to fight with my few virtual friends.

At the same time I appreciate the different but genuine points of view as I've run into some difficulties and the different perspectives keeps me grounded.

Becca said...

I'm a grad student who found you via the first conspicuous kerfluffle.
I would comment more if I thought you enjoyed kerfluffles (since they are my preferred form of blowing off steam).

That said, although I am inclined to agree with you about the last kerfluffle (publishing requirements for the PhD degree), I also found it unusually draining, because I am about to graduate without pubs and I am thus a horrible failure.
But when reading you doesn't make me feel like a horrible failure (which has been the pretty much the rest of the time I've read your blog), I enjoy pretty much everything (i.e. both academic and personal stuff).

GMP said...

Thanks everyone for the comments!
It's really nice to learn more about all of you -- whether you comment frequently or only occasionally -- and I am really happy that a number of you delurked and commented for the first time!

DrugMonkey said...

What kerfuffles? I love your kerfuffles, what did I miss????

Anonymous said...

Hi. I am a professor in a public university in Brazil and read the posts from Google Reader.

Gerty-Z said...

Hey GMP! Happy blogoversary or whatever. I'm sorry that you find the kurfuffles draining. I think generally you start up some interesting conversations! I like your blog a lot. It is fun to learn how things fly in the non-biomed world. Keep up the good work :)

prodigal academic said...

Hi GMP! Happy blogiversary. Yours is one of my favorites. I like the fact that you sound like a real person all the time--when you offer advice (which I find useful) and when you make personal posts. I am glad the kerfuffles don't drive you away. I would also find them draining, and I blog for fun.

S and O said...

Frequent reader here, few-time commenter (due to laziness). I’m currently a postdoc in the physical sciences. I really enjoy your posts on a variety of topics. I like reading about the professional topics -- I find it very informative, useful, and at times enlightening to read an honest (non sugar coating) perspective from a PI. The personal stuff I also like (esp the immigrant content) since I used to be reminded that I looked different in my graduate group. Don’t let these online kerfuffles get to you – there are plenty of GMP fans out there! Your blogging voice is just appealing to me, and I look forward to reading another year’s worth of GMP!

Anonymous said...

I am another one of your Google readers. I am a female tenure-track Assistant Professor in engineering. I am at a fairly small and very unique college where I have few peers to talk to about many of the issues you address here. I like hearing about the experiences other people are having both at my level and what I am going to see in the future. It is nice to see that other people have the same issues as I do and how they tackle them. I found your blog through FSP.

I do not have children, though it is interesting to see how you handle the balance. I mostly read for the academic/research side, but enjoy the family side as well. Mostly I read to see what other people are experiencing both the ups and the downs. It makes me feel less alone in the world of academia.