Friday, May 30, 2008

Annual Report/2

My Blogosophy, such as it is.

When I first started writing, I did so because I wanted to write about issues that were not being addressed in the science blogosphere and/or that were not being addressed from the perspective of a (somewhat angry) senior female science professor. I knew little of blog culture except what I had picked up by reading other blogs, and had no idea whether anyone would read what I wrote. And if anyone did read what I wrote, I had no idea whether what I wrote would resonate with anyone, be helpful, be infuriating, be entertaining, be reviled, or be met with a loud thud of indifference.

I am pleased and surprised by the number of daily readers of this blog. In fact, I am blown away at how many people read this, not because the numbers are so huge but because the number is > 2 or 3.

Not surprisingly then, given that more than 2 people read this blog, the response is mixed, especially when I use the s-word (sexism).

So, my philosophy at the moment:

- I accept all comments except the obscene, the irrelevant advertisements, and the random attempts to guess who I am in real life.

- I try to respond to comments that have questions or requests in them, but I don't always succeed, mostly because I don't have a lot of time for that, but also because I sometimes forget. I apologize for this, but am unlikely to become significantly more diligent at responding to comments/questions.

- There is no obvious email address attached to this blog because I can't think of a reason why I would want to get off-blog email. I am willing to listen to suggestions/reasons, though. Since I moderate comments, some people who want to write to me privately send a comment and include the statement "Please don't post this", and in some cases this has led to further correspondence. This system seems to work pretty well.

- I don't do memes, don't respond if tagged, and generally have not participated in the reindeer games of the blogosphere. Perhaps I am too old, curmudgeonly, and anti-social for such things.

- Blog roll: Mine is relatively short, and I know I should increase it out of courtesy and because there are other blogs that I read intermittently. I have resolved to work on this sometime this summer.

- Comments.. how do I feel about comments..? I have mixed feelings, of course, though not because some comments are positive and some are negative. The mixed feelings relate more to the fact that past comments or the anticipation of future comments affect how and what I write.

In some ways, this is good. Anticipating comments helps me to write more clearly and to think carefully about what details are necessary to include so as to avoid misinterpretation of what I write. Anticipating comments can also affect what and how I write in negative ways; e.g., for some topics I struggle with an urge to include proactive defensive statements. I try not to do that (too much), as I prefer that my anecdotes and musings speak for themselves, and not end up all twisted around by what I think people are going to think.

Although this blog can at times be 'preachy', the comments I dislike the most are the ones that give forceful but useless or irrelevant advice about what I should do about a particular situation. But then some other comments contain useful and thoughtful advice and/or interesting perspectives I had not previously considered, so it all balances out.

How long will I keep writing this blog? Will I always post 5 days/week? Should I write so much or try a more limited writing schedule? Will I run out of things to say about being an FSP? Will I always be anonymous? I don't know the answers to any of these questions, so at least for now, I will keep writing as I have.

25 comments:

Sean Carroll said...

Blog comments can be great, but they run the risk of giving the impression that you are blogging for someone else's pleasure/interest. You have to do it for yourself, or there's no point, unless you're getting paid serious cash, which most of us are not. So keep writing what you care about, and those of us who care will keep reading. You have one of the best blogs out there.

Squeaky Wipers said...

I enjoy reading your blog because of your eloquent presentation and reasoning of hardships you face. This has a therapeutic effect for me as it inspires me to reason through my own hardships. Emotions often get the best of me. Your inspiration for me to write out my frustrations has helped me get through some rough patches. Thanks.

PhysioProf said...

I don't do memes, don't respond if tagged, and generally have not participated in the reindeer games of the blogosphere.

I mostly haven't either. And I find reading that shit on other people's blogs to be boring. I enjoy blogs and blogging because I enjoy reading and writing substantial original writing. (And by the way, reading the word "meme" just makes me want to find cute little kittens and strangle them with my bare hands.)

Although this blog can at times be 'preachy', the comments I dislike the most are the ones that give forceful but useless or irrelevant advice about what I should do about a particular situation. But then some other comments contain useful and thoughtful advice and/or interesting perspectives I had not previously considered, so it all balances out.

As a "preachy" blogger myself, I hope more of my comments here have been in the latter category than the former. As I said yesterday, your blogging was (and remains) an inspiration to me, and I like to think my comments here are a net benefit. (So if they aren't, please allow me to persist in my delusion.)

C said...

2 or 3? There are 126 of us subscribed to you via Bloglines alone...

Academic said...

As an undergrad, I frequently wanted other women in science as role models. The blogosphere does not fill this desire, but it is good to know that other women are trying to do the whole science academic thing.

sandyshoes said...

This is as good a time as any for a comment just to say I'm glad I found your blog (though I can't remember how that happened), and I enjoy reading it, however rarely I comment.

I was never a good or dedicated enough scientist to make an FSP career the right fit for me. Still, having the M.S., and being married to an SP, I speak a bit of the language, and I truly enjoy your perspective.

Thanks for writing.

female grad student said...

I hope you keep blogging as long as you feel the enthusiasm to do so, because I get so much out of your insights, as I plod through the end of my (science) PhD and move on the the next step...

Anonymous said...

Hello. I'm a student, about to start my Master's this coming September. I forget when it was that I started reading your blog, but I really enjoy it. Sometimes I just skim an entry; other times, you present interesting issues, and I may refer my friends, graduate students I know, and professors to get their opinion as well. I find reading the personal blogs of scientists gives me a lot of insight into what my future might be like, and I very much enjoy yours for that reason.

I'd like to add that your anonymity is both a good and a bad thing. It's a good thing for obvious reasons, but it's bad in the sense that you are restricted to being vague about specific issues -- issues that I would like to know more about. But that's obviously necessary, too. In any case, please continue blogging!

Lisa said...

oh no! Your blogroll = list of blogs I check regularly. If you increase it I will have to develop a new system or will read blogs all day . . . not that it's your problem I have trouble self-regulating :)

Female Science Professor said...

Thanks for all the nice comments, both today and yesterday.

PhysioProf - Tempting as it is to encourage persistence of delusions, I must say that I like your comments. Even if I disagree with some of them, what you say is interesting, or at least entertaining.

River Tam said...

In line with the other comments, please continue this blog! I read your blog every morning and tell my husband about it on the way to work. We have both gotten a lot out of your entries. Sometimes we get great insights from you (e.g., how editors view requests to have someone NOT review your paper) and sometimes it's just that we feel better knowing that someone else is dealing with the same absurdity we are and we're not alone in thinking it's absurd! THANK YOU!

Anonymous said...

I can't remember how I came across your blog, but I enjoy reading it. I'm not a scientist, but I wanted to be one as a child. (I ended up being a math teacher for a few years.) Thank you for letting me live vicariously through your posts.

Michelle

Helen said...

I think what I like best about your blog is that it's what you want to say, not driven by memes and the like.

My eyes light up when a new FSP post shows up in my rss reader.

Anonymous said...

"How long will I keep writing this blog? Will I always post 5 days/week? Should I write so much or try a more limited writing schedule? Will I run out of things to say about being an FSP? Will I always be anonymous? I don't know the answers to any of these questions, so at least for now, I will keep writing as I have."

From reading a blog by a person with a similar disciplinary mindset who started blogging in 2002 or something like that, the answers to the questions are:

This blog will live for at least another few years, possibly longer.

It will fluctuate but be always at least two posts a week, often five a week since posting regularly is a disciplined habit, and once you develop it, it's hard to drop.

No, you won't run out of things to talk about.

About a 95% chance that anonymity will persist for the lifetime of this blog.

P.S. I like the posts that result from comments. There were about five that arose as a response to my comments and all were very interesting and educational (for me).

Anonymous said...

Congratulations, FSP! Two years of blogging on a regular schedule is an accomplishment.

Sexism is alive and well in science, but not always in ways that are readily recognizable. Few have taken the time, or have the skill, to document what sexism in science actually looks like. You have done so with great clarity, and for that I thank you!

Ψ*Ψ said...

I agree with the above comments--your blog is pretty insightful.
The lack of meme participation is a definite plus--it allows you to focus on content.
The lack of pictures, though...don't know about that. ;)

okham said...

Happy Blogiversary !
I have been a regular reader of yours for about a year. I am impressed by a number of things about your blog, but what I find most remarkable is the ease with which you generate interesting posts about academic life. I consistently find myself reading and thinking "That's right, I had never thought about that...".

I don't always agree with your take on some subjects (well, actually just one), as you know, but I always enjoy reading what you have to say. So, keep up with the good... eh, it's not really "work", is it...

juglark said...

I will just say "Thanks".

I enjoy your writing skills, your wit and turn of phrase. Even though I am not a scientist, I appreciate good, intelligent writing.

Yay for smart observant women!

Drugmonkey said...

oh jeeez, don't encourage the PP! it was bad enough when you put us up on your blogroll!

which may, perhaps, have led to a round of virtual backslapping and the like, as PP sez, your blogging is an inspiration.

and I might add, good therapy. anytime one of my hall trolls is annoying me I have but to stop by here to find a bigger idiot described...and all seems better :-)

stepwise girl said...

I will also just say Thanks for your blog. In the blogosphere, I have been mostly looking for people sharing my daily experience of being a female scientist and also on how people deal with various situations they face. Your blog has become a reference for me as a first-year FSP.

So it seems that even anonymous bloggers can become role models...

Anonymous said...

Thanks for blogging! I think you are very brave and bold.

On another note, I noticed that the stat counter is gone.
Being the nerd that I am, I have been making histograms of blog activity. It is fun (I love numbers). Can you put it back up?

Non-US FSP said...

Wanted to join many others in thanking you for your eloquent, perceptive and witty posts.
What's amazing is how truthful they are, epsecially to anyone with academic experience.

mentaer said...

I wonder how you are able to post 5 entries a week If I am not even able to read them all ;) So I am glad to have the weekend for catching up

(probably I "need" to read too many field related blogs to be up-date in the tech-world)

Anonymous said...

I am a female chemistry student and I just became aware of your blog about a month ago. Please don't stop! I not only enjoy reading your blogs but many of the topics have provoked thoughtful discussions with colleagues and friends.

Doctor Pion said...

I enjoy your blog because it gives me a greater insight into the challenges my female colleagues face. Female faculty slightly outnumber male faculty at a CC (even in the sciences), but that does not eliminate the problems encountered with students (who reject actions by female profs that they accept from a male prof) and some faculty.

I am still learning, after all these years.

It is one thing to be supportive and pro-feminist, and quite another to understand what the challenges really are for women in science. Your blog, along with others, has raised issues that have opened lines of communication that I think help several of us at our CC be more effective.