Friday, June 05, 2009

FSP to FSP

Something that I find very funny but kind of bizarre is when someone sends me a link to FSP or a copy of a post or even part of The FSP Book with a note saying that I might find this relevant, interesting, or funny. Fortunately for me, so far the sending of FSP to FSP has been accompanied by a nice comment and not "Look at the garbage written by this raving moron"... or worse.

In most cases the emailed FSP has been sent to me somewhat indirectly -- e.g., from person to person and eventually to me, or to me as part of a group email.

In all but one of these cases the person forwarding (or re-re-re-forwarding) FSP to FSP was not someone I knew well, but in one case I was truly shocked. How could this person not know that I wrote the thing he was sending to me?

I have assumed that anyone reading FSP who didn't know in advance that this was me would immediately figure it out, but this does not always seem to be the case. Do I sound different as FSP than I do as me?

Apparently so, but I am quite confident that 2/3 of my cats would recognize me (and themselves) if they read this blog.

There are some bloggers who used to be anonymous but who now are not, and it has fascinated me that their non-anonymous blogging voice is different from their anonymous blogging voice -- not just the topics, but the writing style and tone. Perhaps it is this way with me, though I haven't yet run the experiment of non-anonymous blogging to test the idea.

I checked with the FSP Editorial Board about this issue. I asked whether I sound different as FSP and whether my FSP 'voice' is inconsistent in any way with me in real life. The answer is no, FSP sounds exactly like me.

Another possibility for why I have escaped detection by readers who do in fact know me in real life is that people who know me just can't imagine that I -- a middle-aged science professor -- am a blogger. I am kind of entertained by that.

And no, it doesn't bother me that people who download The FSP Book send copies along to others. Even though this might deprive me of minor profits that would otherwise be used to support my cats' catnip habits, I consider sharing e-versions of FSP The Book to be like lending a book you like to a friend. It's not as if it's a pirated song or a DVD.. and I wrote the book for people to read and use and discuss, and, apparently, to send back to me to (re)read.

22 comments:

Anonymous said...

You get referred to yourself! hilarious.

Gingerale said...

Well my dear I certainly hope you take your own advice! Ha!

geomom said...

you're a BLOGGER? who knew?

anon said...

If I knew who you were in real life (but in a distant sort of way where I only interact with you once a month max), I probably would treat the blog persona as separate. I try to separate the author and the narrator from my experience in reading lots of literature. Probably, I shouldn't do this for non-fiction however, but I just don't seem to want to connect the online personality to the person I know personally.

I do know another popular blogger in person who is anonymous, and once when I tried to remember his real name, I couldn't for a few hours, simply because a lot more of our interaction is through the blog. If a person wants to remain anonymous, I consciously and unconsciously try to respect that decision.

Greg said...

How very interesting. Say, I came across a similar blog that you may want to check out. I find it rather interesting and enlightening.

http://science-professor.blogspot.com/

:)

Tinkering Theorist said...

Perhaps they suspect you are FSP but don't want to ask and are secretly hoping you will reveal yourself if they send you FSP links.

Anonymous said...

Anonymous blogging is something that's on my mind. I blogged for a while last year and found it very useful. I came ot depend on the real-time feedback I was getting to make decisions. But my writing was no good. FSP you write very well for a researcher. A lot of the good bloggers on the web have careers more focused on writing about science than doing science. So I want to resume my blog but I doubt I'll do anything anonymously. The writing still may be no good.

Anonymous said...

I once recommended your blog to a FSP friend, and then briefly wondered if she was you. But her bio doesn't match what you've written. So I must not be who you are writing about.

DrDoyenne said...

"FSP you write very well for a researcher"

Perhaps anonymous science bloggers are not recognized because coworkers don't think we can write anything other than dry, technical (boring) stuff?

When people at my lab find out that I write short stories and can also paint/draw well, they seem inordinately surprised....as if this artistic image conflicts with their perception of me, the scientist.

anonymous commenter said...

On a smaller scale, I was in a similar situation when someone relayed to me a comment that I have left anonymously on some blog post.

It felt strange...

tideliar said...

I sent the URLs of your postdoc mentoring posts to some colleagues, and then I logged on to find this post. My first thought: "My God xxx is FSP!", then I did a reality check and realised there are an almost inconceivable number of logical disconnects between FSP and xxx, except for the one fact that xxx *is* an FSP :)

tideliar said...

-Sorry for the double post; I should have read the comments before commenting!

@Anon: 6/05/2009 03:23:00 AM
When I played in bands back in the NE USA we interacted a lot via a web-forum. One night was a meet n greet and it was weird trying to address everyone *not* as their avatar. I bumped into one guy and introduced myself; he looked at me blankly until I said, "y'know, Tideliar?". Then we were friends. Very strange.

@DrDoyenne: This always surprises me too, that "others" should be surprised that we have gifts other than our basic science skills. Most scientists are incredibly gifted people with muliplte talents!

EliRabett said...

As to the cat thing, don't bet on it.

Anonymous said...

do any of your students know your identity? do you ever worry about getting outed by a student?

dunelady said...

Once in grad school a *career counselor* expressed surprise that I was interested in some of the fine arts (I'd taken a personality test that matched up interests with potential careers). I did/do ballroom dance in my spare time and I'm still surprised she of all people thought I was so narrowly focused. You'd think she'd see lots of people with varying interests, especially since she gave out that test routinely!

Ms.PhD said...

I would be amused by that if it ever happened to me.

I don't know of any bloggers who switched from anonymous to using their real names and their writing styles changed, but that's a really interesting point.

I would be a little concerned, if I were you, that some people think you don't always practice what you preach? Is that why they're sending your blog back to you? Because you have to admit, sometimes the things you say on here make you sound like something not of this world, better than any real PI could possibly be. I guess it depends if it is colleagues sending the book to you, or trainees.

I often wish that, if I were to send my adivsor your book, it would actually get read. But I sincerely doubt that it would.

Anonymous said...

On the flip side, I am not FSP (clearly!), but there are many similarities between us. I have had a number of people ask me if I am FSP when you make a post that is very similar to what is going on in my life at the time.

Candid Engineer said...

Maybe the person who knows you and referred you to yourself only read the one post? Maybe they'd be clued in if they had read more.

All in all, pretty funny.

joanium said...

I came across the phrase 'female science professor' on an article unrelated to your blog. You might find it interesting.

Slate highlights research by economists that looks at statistics of female student performance in the US Air Force Academy. The study suggested that female students do better in science courses when taught by female science professors. Article here -- A Formula for Success: Want more women to study science? Hire more female professors.

Rev Matt said...

There are some of us who have no sense of writing style who can be presented with the prose of someone we know well but without attribution, even someone whose writing we know well, and have not the faintest inkling that it was in fact our spouse who had written it.

I've encountered this 'uncover the identity of the mystery blogger' in many different online social circles over the years and have found myself to be remarkably bad at it. So when you're surprised that someone whom you think should instantly recognize your writing on this site based on knowing other writing of yours, consider they may be like me and simply not be very good at making those connections.

Anonymous said...

so... I guess one of your cats is significantly dumber than the other two? :)

Anonymous said...

I would have thought that people could identify you in real life from the pics of your cats that you post on here!