The first part of this statement was once the proud motto of the now deceased and unlamented News of the World. In a friendlier vein, compared with many of the ignorant witch hunts they pursued and the dirt they used to dish, I would like to think Occam’s Typewriter – and my own personal microcosm within it – similarly covers much of the Life Scientific (as Jim Al Khalili would describe it). We happy band of bloggers cover everything from the unidentifiable object/stain malingering at the bottom of the lab freezer to the aspirations of postdocs; from animals and birds living in our back yards to the creatures that populate high level committees and departments; from the joys of working in interdisciplinary science to the shortage of women in all our fields. Happy birthday OccamT, it has been a fun year!
For myself I have learnt a lot about the readership as well as my fellow bloggers. I have learnt the most read posts are often those which provoke fewest comments; that the ones dashed off in a mild alcoholic haze have (so far, on the statistically meaningless count of one) been rather more successful than ones which I have laboured long and hard over; these latter don’t necessarily generate much interest. It is clear that if I raise issues around gender, or personal experiences in which gender has played a part, there is much more likelihood of getting my posts retweeted than if I stay with a purely professional bent. And the couple of times my argument has been sloppily presented I have been hammered in the comments for apparently implying things that were far from my intent.
So, as I enter into OccamT’s 2nd year with my fellow bloggers, I can perhaps pause to think if I want to change my style, my persona or the content. I could choose to use more photos if I were more adept with either camera or software, but as I’m not I think that one is out. I could devote myself entirely to gender issues, but then that would be very narrow and negate a lot of my other experiences. Furthermore, I’ve never considered myself a feminist in the way I was reared to understand the meaning of the word which – to one of my generation – smacks too strongly of bra-burning, even if it generally conveys something rather different now, so I doubt I’ll do that either. As I get sucked up into the maw that is the REF I could write exclusively about impact, but in that case I suspect my readership would dwindle to single figures and I’ll be thinking enough about that during the working day to warrant clearing my brain when ‘off duty’ as it were, so that too I’ll give a miss. In fact, I suspect my blog will continue to be the same sort of random pot pourri stimulated by whatever I’ve read, participated in or been vexed by recently. As a compliment from a reader, I rather liked the tweet I received recently, which stated one of my posts had ‘provoked thinking+giggles as ever.’ If I’m managing that, I think I’ve probably achieved as much, no actually a great deal more, than I ever anticipated when I set out in this good company last December (strictly speaking I joined a day or two after OccamT’s birth, but I’m not going to split hairs).
So, here’s to our 2nd year. I raise a metaphorical glass to all of us and am delighted to find myself in such convivial company.