Today is My One Year Blogiversary
One year ago today, I began writing this blog at the suggestion of a friend on Craigslist (
It has been an interesting year, one that I had never imagined could have happened to me. As with all bloggers, I suppose, I started out quite shy, somewhat insecure and I wrote in complete obscurity. Now, one year later, my readers range from kids in Singapore and Iraq, journalists in France and England, and Wall Street types in downtown Manhattan, to graduate students, teachers, lawyers, medical doctors and fellow scientists working in universities, governmental institutions and private corporations around the world and even to people who work for the US Senate and the State Department of Justice.
It seems like only yesterday when I discovered one morning that someone had linked to me, placing my blog in his sideboard under the heading "People I Wish I Knew" (he now lists me under a new category, "I Could Quit Anytime I Want" -- I like to believe that he means that he is hopelessly under my spell -- a very kind thing to say to this blogger). Shortly afterwards, another person linked to me, and then another (this linked blog is his third incarnation, by the way). I have no idea how these people found my blog in the millions of blogs that are out there, but I take great pride in knowing that they thought my writing was good enough to come back for, again and again. Now, I enjoy many reciprocal links as you can see on my sideboard to the left. I am proud to say that almost all of these linked blogs are written by people whom I consider to be my friends, people who I met throught the power of written words, people I would never have had the pleasure to meet otherwise.
I well remember that day when I stumbled across the Tangled Bank (TB), a "blog carnival" highlighting the best of science and medical blog writing. I had no idea what a blog carnival was, but I did realize that they linked to essays that had been published on blogs, so I wondered if I might be able to contribute something, too. Worried that it might not be "scientific enough", I eventually gathered up my courage and sent them the link to this investigative story. I later learned that I was the first person in the blogosphere to make the connection between shrimp factory farms, loss of mangrove forests and the incredible destructiveness of the Indonesian tsunami. It was a piece that I worked very hard on and I am still proud of to this day. I was so overjoyed to discover that this story had been accepted and listed in the 19th issue of TB that I announced this news to all my friends. Incidentally, this story led a friend and colleague of mine to write a book chapter about this very topic, a piece that earned her $2000. Shortly afterwards, an opinion piece that I wrote was accepted by the next issue of TB and I was on my way. Some of my other TB-linked pieces included my temporarily interrupted series of essays about avian influenza which were and still are widely read and referenced (I plan to continue this series in the coming months). These essays were also linked by another blog carnival, Medical Grand Rounds. Some of my pieces were sought out specifically for particular blog carnivals, such as this essay, which talks about a swindler who finds his victims from on-line job seekers' resumes. This essay was listed in the 2nd issue of the Skeptic's Circle. Interestingly, several other pieces of mine were discovered and republished in the print media, such as my living will and as essay inspired by my first teaching position, Beauty is in the Details.
If anyone had told me that I would not only host a blog carnival, but that I would host two of them, and that they would be the TB and Medical Grand Rounds, I would have told them they were crazy. But I hosted the 23rd issue of TB, the issue that was published on PZ Myers' birthday (PZ started TB and writes his own high-traffic science blog, Pharyngula). I later wrote a story about my hosting experience that was also linked by the Panda's Thumb as well as by a later edition of TB and several other blog carnivals. I somehow managed to host the XXX issue of the Medical Grand Rounds even though I was quite ill at the time, and while I was also teaching anatomy and physiology as a part-time adjunct. Amusingly, thanks to the Medical Grand Rounds carnival, one of the most popular search terms that brings people to my blog is "XXX bird girl" or some permutation thereof. As of today, my essays have appeared in five different topical blog carnivals (listed in the left sideboard).
During this past year, I have written some essays that I am proud of (in addition to the ones linked above) that you might have missed. Because this already-published essay reveals a little of what I do as a scientist, I put it in my blog under its original title and publication date (2003). In this silly little essay, I describe the reasons I started blogging. I am also proud of my weekly feature, Birds in The News, that I started so you might grow to appreciate the importance of birds to people, and perhaps you might love them, too. This feature is so popular now that many of you, dear readers, have started sending me news story links and some of you send pictures that I can use for the special section in Birds in the News; "Reader Photoblog of the Week". (I am always looking for your pictures and stories, so send them in!).
I have had fun with my blog, too. I have participated in some memes, such as the "100 things about me" meme, the "Fahrenheit 451 Book Meme" (if I answered that particular meme today, my answers would be different answers from those that you see there) and the "Ten Things I've Never Done" meme. I also published one of my most popular essays with my under-50 readers (its popularity is solely due to subject matter); Hogwarts Overdose.
Of course, I would be disingenuous if I did not admit that this blog has been the site of plenty of job search angst, describing how frustrated, angry and devastated I was to be unemployed, describing my interview failures, and wondering whether I should pursue science as a career at all. I attempted to lighten my moods by writing several essays about my offbeat job ideas.
Of course, I'll never forget how you, dear readers, were there for me when I experienced terrible sadness. But I also used this blog as a place to share great joy with you, such as the publication of a book I contributed to, and the astonishing rediscovery of the ivory-billed woodpecker, an event that moved me to tears. A colleague generously forwarded behind-the-scenes email to me regarding the IBWO, which was followed by more such emails, all of which I shared with you here. As a result of this flurry of "secret emails" appearing on my blog, Houghton-Mifflin publishers noticed my blog and asked me if I'd like to interview Tim Gallagher, one of the IBWO search party members and author of the book detailing the search for this bird. I really enjoyed that interview, and I hope that Tim did, also. I now am looking to use this blog to publish more interviews with scientists and other "birdy" people on a variety of topics, including one big and coming surprise that I have the "scoop" on, so do check back.
I was not always writing about serious issues and topics, though. I did have fun with this blog, and you, dear readers, obviously enjoyed it, and do still. I am surprised to find that this linked essay, where I take a variety of online Harry Potter quizzes, is another one of my most popular blog entries.
Even though it has "only been one year", it has been a long journey. I went from being a happy and fully-employed scientist to being completely unemployed, and finally to part-time temporary employment as an adjunct professor. I've met many interesting people and learned a lot of fun and interesting things from you, and made a lot of friends I wouldn't have known otherwise. I hope that you can say the same thing about me. Thank you all, dear readers, for reading my blog. I appreciate you so very much.
© 2004, 2005, 2006 by GrrlScientist