I am scientist by training, inclination and temperament. However, this is a blog, not a lab. The title reflects my passion for hyperbole, so don't take me too seriously. I don't. I was a technician in a physiology lab, got my PhD in molecular genetics and neuroscience, was a postdoctoral fellow in biophysics and now am a Project Manager in a Clinical Science/Biomedical Informatics institute. I am a scientific jack-of-all-trades, and very happy because of it. I write about science that catches my eye, making the transition away from the lab bench, and the slightly odd and moist boundary where science culture meets the public. I am an Englishman by birth, an American by temperament and if I were you I wouldn't lend me money.
My posts are presented as opinion and commentary and do not represent the views of LabSpaces Productions, LLC, my employer, or my educational institution.
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Updated with less typos! And new correspondence! And a little less spleen...
Last year the Society for Neuroscience selected a few intrepid bloggers to be the blog-voices of the Annual Neuroscience conference. Yours truly was chosen but my plans derailed (almost literally) at the last minute and I wasn't able to go. I applied again this year, but offered to use my other blog...which then unfortunately lay dormant for several weeks after my application was submitted because I got locked out. So, needless-to-say your Most Belov'd Tideliar wasn't selected this year.
However, you know that Some Lies, and Fumbling Towards Tenure Track, by our own B'loved (albeit less so thanTideliar), Dr. Becca will be reporting intrepidly and steadily.
But what of this year's stable of SfN bloggers? Surely after last year's launch the Society will have grown and moved forward? DrugMonkey wrote some thoughts and suggestions in a nice post back when the call for bloggers went live. Well, follow the links below and see what you think. A couple of the blogs have been established for a while, but others...I am at a loss to define what the SfN committee that chose them was thinking. Let's have a look shall we
Note Added in Proof I didn't expect this post to be so full of fail. Half way through writing I got the 'thanks, but no thanks" form email from the Society for Neuroscience Meeting Coordinator. Below that I post my reply to her. As this evolves I'll the correspondence here...
Thank you for your application to be an SfN Neuroblogger for Neuroscience 2010. All applications were reviewed by the Program Committee and considered on the basis of theme coverage, writing samples, and appeal. We regret to inform you that you were not selected as an annual meeting Neuroblogger this time. However, you can still play an active role in SfN’s online community, and we encourage you to do so! SfN now has a Twitter feed, and we invite you to follow us (@Neurosci2010 and @SFNtweets) as well as on Facebook. Thank you again for your application, and we encourage you to apply again next year!
Hi [redacted], thanks for letting me know. Nature Blogs lately developed some serious infrastructure issues so I figured I wouldn’t get chosen this year. However, some active neuro-bloggers and I planning on blogging heavily from the conference anyway. We’re planning a blogger meet up and have a couple of extra Twitter feeds running.
I’m looking at the SfN blogger list now and I’m a little surprised at some of your choices. Can you explain why http://qscience.wordpress.com/ (a front for Vanderbilt university’s training programs) was chosen? Also, http://geneticexpressions.wordpress.com/ doesn’t exist, so what were their redeeming features?
In the interest of full disclosure I’m writing this up for my main blog at LabSpaces.net (where I consolidated my writing after Nature Blogs started to collapse) and I’d love to include your reply. I will admit that right now my post is fairly scathing. This is a great opportunity for SfN to reach out, but it seems to have been missed...
regards, Tideliar, Science Blogger since 2004
We are very happy that you and others will be blogging heavily at the meeting! We are eager to support your effort and to expand the official SfN blogging page in the coming years. Your feedback is very helpful and we hope we can count on continuing help from the community as we move forward with this effort.
I was not involved in the process of choosing any of the blogs that are representing SfN this year. A working group composed of members of the Program Committee reviewed all applicants and chose representatives from each theme according to their expert opinion. I know that earlier today some of the links were not working, which would account for a non-existent page (for example, the Genetic Expressions blog). I do apologize for that, and we do seem to have them up and functioning once again.
Thanks for touching base, and please let me know if you have any other inquiries or issues. My contact information is below.
Hi, thanks for replying so rapidly. I appreciate you weren’t on the committee that selected the blogs, but I might just throw a thought or two out there for you to pass on?
For the missing blog, I didn’t mean the deadlink from the internal redirect on the URL, I mean, the blog doesn’t exist. it’s a “place holder” with a title and a brief ‘bio’ but no content. It’s one of several zero-content blogs now highlighted on your your website and a growing number of active science blogs around the web, as well as drawing hits Twitter.
I can understand some bloggers wanting to maintain their anonymity and wanting a separate site for blogging about SfN2010, but I think that misses the point. A science blogger is a journalist of sorts but without the reputation of a newspaper/magazine behind them. A reputation is developed and built up over time, and with no background information, or indeed, any content of any kind on the blog, how do we know these are blogs worth following? I don’t think the imprimatur of the Society will work in this case, because they’re not hosted by SfN.
Finally, almost all of the “blogs” are run by students. Students necessarily often lack the expertise to critically evaluate the science they are exposed to. Therefore in many cases these bloggers will not be able to effectively report back on the main body of the Conference. A mixed stable of writers who weren’t afraid to blog publicly would have served far better for raising the profile of the conference and would have brought a ready-rapt readership to the SfN meeting.
I hope this doesn’t blow up in the Society’s face and more importantly, I hope these young scientists are ready for the possibly critical attention they might now receive.
Now, please bear in mind, I'm not pissed that I didn't get picked, there is no jealously here. I am just bitterly disappointed that SfN and the Science Blogosphere missed this opportunity. Once more 'mainstream' science proves it has no fucking clue how to adopt, adapt or move with the time. With all due respect to the bloggers chosen, SfN could have a 'start-up" career development stable and a decent science reportage stable. As Coturnix points out in the comments thread, and as I should have written initially, some students are excellent reporters of science. Indeed, a couple of the blogs below are very active Research Bloggers. However, this isn't always true. In many cases, simply through inexperience and lack of exposure, students cannot critically evaluate - at least to the levels one might expect of a Society highlighted blogger now standing under the international spotlight.
I am prepared to stand corrected on this if it pans out that way. But, SfN sent these blogs live today and most of them have no content, or at least no real content. We have no way of judging what the quality of the writing will be like. Far better to have either chosen writers with Pseuds already established, or at least timed the release of these bloggers to have given them time to publishing something.
Theme A: Development
Functional Neurogenesis This is an established neuroscience blog "started by Jason Snyder and Michael Drew – two neuroscientists currently researching the behavioral function of adult neurogenesis" and the slightly grandiose notion that they can influence "meetings, email, and the slow process of peer-review publishing." But they've been up and running for almost a year and have some decent science/research blogging.
Genetic Expressions On the other hand, this blog doesn't even fucking exist. It's a Word press place holder. Seriously. I assume that whomever they selected to blog from this site has history elsewhere and wants a specialized site. But this is beyond ridiculous - a science blogger is a journalist, offering opinion and reportage. or should be for the purposes of this experiment. One develops a reputation over months and years of solid writing. How can they select a blog that, to all intents and purposes, doesn't exist yet?
Theme B: Neural Excitability, Synapses, Glia: Cellular Mechanisms
Blogging on the Brain "This is a blog consisting of a neuroscientist’s thoughts on teaching, learning, and education [by] Hillary Blakeley...a graduate student at Baylor University working toward a PhD in neuroscience." Hillary is getting ready to postdoc and writes heavily about neuroscience, as well as the trials and tribulations of working in neuroscience. I can't tell how long she's been blogging, but I dug back to the beginning of this year at least. Her comment count is low (it took me a while to figure out how to leave a comment), and the site hard to navigate (no "Archive" that i could find), but she seems to be engaged and Tideliar approves this choice.
Qscience And once again we plummet to the depths of the blogosphere. Marquicia Pierce is a PhD candidate at Vanderbilt, and her blog looks like a plug for Vandy's career development program. Roger Chalkley at Vanderbilt is well renowned, and rightly so, for building up a truly excellent career development program for his junior scientists. but Qscience appears to be nothing but a front for this program. It's poorly designed, impossible to navigate except for random walks, and lacking in any real of content. Certainly there is neuroscience related except for a plug on the homepage. Epic Fail.
Theme C: Disorders of the Nervous System
Fresh eyes Again, I'm a little confused, because this isn't even a blog. It's a Tumblr site, a micro-blog or thought-aggregator. Also, it's only been active since October 23rd, yet the deadline for submitting applications to SfN was October 5th. So what's going on here? Vitally, given that we are supposed to follow these people, there is no information about the blogger, and just one poorly written low content post from the 23rd. Is this another case of someone wanted to write in anonymity from their main blog? Shit plan, because as I mentioned above, you need to know the blogger to trust the source.
House of Mind Another Tumblr site. Possibly the ugliest webpage I have seen since the late 90s, and a definition of what happens when a Web1.0 mindset and no idea how to graphically present yourself meet in a hurry. Oh yeah, and when you have a fetish for pop art and Courier fonts (Times New Roman, thanks to the FontNazis out there for correcting me) too. The "bio" is another student note, saying "Neuroscience/psych blog by a neuroscientist in training."
Theme D: Sensory and Motor Systems
Pascal's Pensees Dude. Fuck. Sigh. Another hello world blog from wordpress with one fucking post mentioning that they were just chosen to represent at SfN. It includes the prescient statement " I am also keenly aware that there is a dearth of posts on this still rather young blog. However, I intend to change this decisively in the coming weeks, as I will preview the meeting, then cover it." What is this? A 12th grade writing contest? Even an opening "hello world" should present the basics of grammar and sentence construction. Surely. I'm being asked to follow this blogger...wouldn't you want to do it right?
NeuroMusings YAWPB (yet another WordPress blog). Has been active since September as far as I can tell, with the tagline "Always keeping on eye on current neuroscience literature for interesting articles to bring to you each week". Dude. Fuck. Sigh. I don't need another student blogger telling me about teh cool new sciencez they found in journal club this week.
David Deriso Finally a real blogger (i.e., hasn't quickly cobbled together a WP or Tumblr page just for this event). David likes "to combine art, engineering, and medicine in my research as a student of neuroscience", and is currently working as a software developer for autism (lower case mate) research. According to his bio he is "preparing for a medical science program in neuroengineering (MD/PhD). Also his site either renders very poorly in Safari or I woudl suggest changing his layout (single narrow column of text with size 8 font is very hard to read).
Theme E: Homeostatic and Neuroendocrine Systems
Dormivigillia YASB (Yet Another STudent Blog), and one of last year's SfN bloggers. According to the bio a "Doctoral Candidate in Physiology at Kent State University specializing in sleep and circadian rhythms research. Needless to say, I was very intrigued by Freud’s Interpretation of Dreams as a jubilant eight year old, and though I presently have the knowledge to refute Freud’s work, I am increasingly enamored by a phenomenon humans spend 1/3 of their day undertaking." Dude. Fuck. Sigh. Did someone get a thesaurus for Christmas? However, despite the pretentious opening there is a lot of Research Blogging and very regular posting. Good show SfN, another blog I will follow at the meeting (see, not all negative).
Theme F: Cognition and Behavior
Blogging Behaviour Oh look! A student with a Tumblr account that actually has content! Oh wait, it's Tumblr...a bunch of 200 word comments and some links. From the bio-tag "Behavioural neuroscience PhD student specialising in cognition and the rodent frontal cortex, attentional set-shifting, and reversal learning." At least he/she is British and knows how to spell Behaviour correctly.
Stanford Neuroblog Does exactly what it says on the tin. It's a Neuroblog from Stanford University. Looks like it's run by students, but has lots of content. I'm not familiar with this blog, but I'll be keeping an eye on it.
Theme H: History, Teaching, Public Awareness, and Societal Impacts in Neuroscience
Society for Neuroscience, San Diego 2010 YASB. Dude.Fuck. Sigh.Again. Really SfN? One post about Brain Awareness Week. The title of the blog is the name of the conference. The dude has a grammatical error in his bio. This is the problem here - some of these blogs have been released as placeholders. This is an international science society, and they release a list of half-finished templates. I am genuinely at a loss for words.
There are a couple of blogs I'll keep an eye on (you can figure out which ones), but over all a bit of Fail from SfN. The Society really have failed at exploiting the blogosphere and social networking with this. Some of the blogs look like they'll be OK to follow, but there is a significant lack of range/depth in the writers and some of these releases are guinely dumbfounding.
I've edited this to remove the feeling that I'm railing at the bloggers because they're students. That is certainly not the case. I am angry at the Society, not the bloggers. I hope I am proven wrong and that the empty spaces and Tumblr accounts fill with engaging and talented writers bringing the conference to life to those who can't make it/make every session.
But from this initial launch I am not filled with hope that this will be the case.
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Sorry for typos etc., but this took a long time to write and I need lunch. And I am really to angry to edit right now.
Wow. Glad I'll have you and Dr. Becca to follow since I can't be at the conference this year. The selections are really odd this year!
"House of Mind" needs a visit from CPP. He'd be apoplectic. Can we direct him there somehow?
By the way, it's Courier, not Times New Roman.
SfN: Epic. Fail. Major.
Thanks for the plug, Tiddles, and though I feel compelled to feign indignation at the idea of being less b'loved than you, you're probably right about that :)
Also, I've been wondering if the Dormivigillia writer really meant "jubilant" there?
Ha! I'd love to sit back with a bowl of popcorn and watch that visit unfold!
What were the picks like last year, other than yourself, is it just a particularly bad year this year?
As an avid blogososphere watcher, I was equally surprised. There is a shitload of fantastic neurobloggers out there but from this list the only one I know (and read regularly and like a lot) is Dormivigilia. Who are these others?
I'm going to edit when I get a chance to emphasize that I have nothing against the bloggers chose. I very much support student bloggers (see Genomic Repairman's post to that effect). It's that the Society seems to have missed the point of having bloggers publicized on this.
Even if these are established writers elsewhere, why are you directing me to Placeholders and Tumblr accounts?!
@JaneDe, I know myself and Scicurious of ScienceBlogs/Scientopia were chosen last year. i don't recall the others of the top of my head...
@Coturnix: Thanks for commenting mate. I get the impression they're trying to reach out to the "youth", but that misses the point I'd say. I want the experience!
A good way to do this would be to have several groups of bloggers, each with a different view point. Highlight the student bloggers and give them exposure. Don't throw them to the wolves...this has the potential t be quite embarassing/painful. All is takes is one poorly written post lacking critical evaluation of something and it could get ugly.
Student bloggers are great, often better than senior researchers, both due to youth and familiarity with the blog form, and because they are themselves still learning, and through writing they teach both themselves and their readers. No problem there. My problem is that SfN could have had huge coverage if they picked bloggers who themselves already have large following, who can spread the word and get attention to their work, and thus to the meeting itself. This will be an uphill battle for them, getting eyes onto these unknown blogs.
A mix of young and senior bloggers would be the best, but having at least a few well known bloggers would have jumpstarted the traffic and attention.
I guess it all depends on their goals. If getting the word out about SfN was the goal, then they're doing it wrong. If the goal is to give complete unknowns a chance to blog, then I guess they hit it out of the park. The accounts with single posts or palceholders are pretty ridiculous though.
I highly doubt the goal was to give complete unknowns the chance to blog.
If they assumed that the established bloggers will be blogging anyway, and that this is an effort to start new people with blogging, they should have been clear about it....
Enthusiasm is not a good qualification for writing about the hard science presented at a conference. I've had lots of students who were really enthusiastic about science but couldn't tell their butts from a beaker.
Also, maybe there were a lot of student applicants, but there were surely enough higher tier bloggers to fill in the slots. It's not like they were filling 100 slots!
Hi Khalil, thanks for commenting. I'm not trying to say students can't be good science bloggers...I know for fact that there are many excellent student science bloggers.
And like I said, I'm prepared to eat my words if everyone of them turns out to be a super-talented blogger with excellent insight and understanding of the science behind what they're writing about it.
I thibnk a range of blogs from different perspectives would have been better though. And also, I like your comment,
"I admit that SfN chose a disproportionate number of students as their "official" bloggers. But can this be because they had a disproportionate number of applicants from student bloggers? Thus makes sense that the majority of the better/chosen bloggers were students."
However, should they not have chosen a blogger group to represent the make-up of the membership? One would assume that everyone going to SfN is a student at this rate. I find it hard to believe that no good non-student bloggers offered to blog for them. in fact i know that's not true...
Some of the best and most popular science bloggers are grad students, so I have no problem with that. I am specifically not talking about the academic hierarchy. I am talking about online visibility - who except for a few of us crazies wil ever find these blogs? A couple of these may be new blogs written by established bloggers who otherwise blog pseudonymously. But a new blog (Tumblr!) will be invisible to Google, part of no RSS feed, unknown on Twitter - what kind of penetrance are they expecting by not including at least a couple of megabloggers in this mix? Perhaps these people will do a great job blogging, but who will know? If great writing happens on an invisible blog, does it get read?
If great writing happens on an invisible blog, does it get read?
Quote of the day.
Of course, I will be watching them. And if I like some of them I will, as I often do with young talent, promote them to death. But did SfN count on that?
Hi Tideliar, glad to see I survived your review I fixed the capitalization on autism, thanks for pointing that out. I have been sweating bullets since the SFN committee notified me about being a blogger. Not because I don't understand the topic well, but because of the scrutiny I am about to face from the community. Imagine submitting a paper and having 20,000 reviewers. Its a scary thought. I think that at the end of the day, the actual posts written about the conference should be what is judged -not the current academic standing or state of the blog. Just like you, I am very curious to see how it all turns out.
Thanks for saving me the work of checking all of these track records myself.
Doesn't matter if you have a disproportionate number of student bloggers or not. If you have teams, all you really need is one blogger who has the experience (with blogging, and the field) required, and you can fill the rest of the slots with newbies. But it seems that they failed to do that, and I highly doubt that only a couple of qualified people approached SfN to blog the meeting.
Seriously we need to have a fuckin tutorial to teach commenters on how to properly insert their URL so we hope to their page from ours. This shit is getting downright annoying. I'm tired of mousing over a name and seeing www.labspaces.net/ICan'tFuckinProperlyLinkToMyDamnSite.
Tideliar, I do see the points you are putting forward. I suppose that SfN must really get transparent about it and tell us about their selection criteria. About BoraZ's comment about the visibility of the science bloggers though, I must say that I hope this was NOT a criteria for selection. There are a lot of bloggers and many many of them are virtually unknown. But blogging for SfN will most definitely increase their visibility. Good for them. Glad to hear that BoraZ will be promoting those he finds are good bloggers (in the making) but surely SfN will do a lot of promotion for their bloggers too.
I hope SfN will do a lot of promotion. They should. But do they know how? Do they have the right audience? Having a couple of well-known bloggers in the mix would reach thousands of readers who SfN would never reach with their promotions.
@ Dave: LOL, no worries mate. I am an awful pedant, sorry Anyway, you're certainly high profile now! However, you have a chance to really shine. You'll receive a lot of attention, and certainly, if the other blogs don't pan out you'll receive A LOT of attention. Find the things you know and go for it. My plan for last year if I'd have gotten the chance was to focus science "reporting" on my area of expertise, and anything would have a 'disclaimer' and hopefully quotes from someone!
@Dr. Zen: I'm nervous about you seeing my bloody poster though! I fear I shall be publicly hoisted if I don't get this right...
@TJ: I agree
Mouse over Dave Deriso's name and try to click his link. Normally this would take you to his blog but he like others can't seem to put the proper link in. He's not the only that has this issue but if they want to easily drive traffic back to their own site all they have to do is get the URL right.
@Khalil: "Glad to hear that BoraZ will be promoting those he finds are good bloggers (in the making) but surely SfN will do a lot of promotion for their bloggers too."
I hope so mate. DrugMionkey covered the need for SfN to get an expert on Board before they took the plunge and I guess they didn't do it. It's a lot of work to be a Site Manager/Community manager and it takes a lot of experience of the scene. Clearly from the launch they are already on the foot This could get worse before it gets better.
All SfN posters this year are safe! I'm not going (the Neuroethology meeting was my one brush with my brain colleagues this year).
Next year, I should put in the Better Posters blog as an official SfN blog candidate...
Being watched by the Better Posters blog will make more people scared than the toughest critic of their actual science ;-)
Although SfN is indeed hosting a network, I don't think they're planning much interaction between the bloggers are they? They are basically only giving the bloggers a platform to blog about SfN and that's about it. Although it might have been much cooler had they decided to do more (in which case a community manager would have been more than welcome) I don't think they are so. Therefore, a platform is enough in my view. BoraZ's concerns about SfN's ability to promote their bloggers is justifiable. But that's the editor/community manager/man above talking. From a blogger's perspective, this opportunity in itself is more than enough, methinks. Adding a couple of well-known bloggers just to get a bigger audience though does not seem fair. Perhaps, right now SfN is only hoping to attract readers who are actually interested in SfN per se. There won't be much need for marketing to attract them. Anyway, the network only spans a short period of time so I would think that most readers would be those initially interested in SfN (and by extrapolation neuroscience) itself. Not sure if I made myself clear!
Bora, SfN decided that applicants had to be members. For good or ill, that's what they did. Also, of course, bloggers had to actually...apply to do it.
Seriously House of Mind (intentionally not hyperlinking, you're welcome) is visually horrifying. I about shat out my central nervous system (I guess that falls under something they can blog about) when dogass blog. They might actually be a good blogger, I just can suffer another second of looking at the site.
Khalil, I'm not sure what you mean by "hosting a network," but SfN is explicitly NOT "hosting" the bloggers, they are merely providing links to the individual bloggers' blogs. Last year I could have forgiven SfN for not having their act together, but to me the whole thing remains incredibly poorly visualized and executed.
@Dr Zen: That's a great idea!In the teaching section it'd be hit! (might send you a proof anyway )
@Cotornix...then again...maybe I won't
@Kahlil: "They are basically only giving the bloggers a platform to blog about SfN and that's about it." Ugh, such a waste...
@GR: An that's a BIG problem. if your site s so visually poor bounce rate is 95%, or I can't even find what I'm looking for, then there's no point in doing apart of self-gratification, is there? And the point of this is raise awareness of SfN, or perhaps bloggers...just...
@Dr. Becca: Thanks for explaining that better than me:/ brain is starting to fry...
I get maybe give new bloggers the opportunity to get some publicity, but at least choose people who at least seemed serious about blogging before they got the gig!
I'd be interested to hear what they have to say for themselves if they do get back to you but I wouldn't hold my breath if I were you!
Oh, post fail. My bad.
If they (the bloggers) were serious they would have prepped their new site ready with an intro and a 'sample" post
If they (SfN) were serious they'd have given the bloggers a week under embargo to prep their new site with an intro and a 'sample" post
After reading your post, I must say that the list (for the most part) looks rather disappointing. I am all for giving newbies a chance to get experience and get their blog out there, but the blog should at least be up and running for some amount of time prior to the deadline as I would think ability to communicate using the written word would be required. I am actually quite curious to know what bloggers were turned down.
I saw that some of the blogs/tumblrs are starting to fill up with "I'll fix it soon, promise" posts.
SfN should have given them more warning. I'd love to know what their thinking is and that's something I'm going to see if I can pursue...[coda]
I know a couple of folks who applied, but I too would like to know others who tried and were rejected, and the Committee's reasons for that [D.C. al coda]
It seems like SfN kind of released the kraken on the noobs.
@Tideliar: Thanks for the advice. I'll practice restraint (and disclaimer the rest lol). What's this blogger meet-up you mentioned in the main post? I'd be cool to meet you and the other bloggers!
@GR: I did put the proper link in, but it seems like the labspaces site wants to make relative links out of things lackin an 'http://' prefix.
That settles it, I'm following 'House of Mind' just in the hope that the Comrade pays a visit.
Cause really can't imagine any other reason to do so.
@NatC: I dig the spleen, but it was a bit OTT for the topic this time :)
@DaveD: I'll drop you a line closer to the event. I expect most things will finalise over Twitter on the spur of the moment... LOL
@GR, You can partially blame the link mistake on me. I forgot to tell it to add http:// to the url if the user doesn't provide it. It does that on the news comments. I must have been dumb and not brought it over to the blog comment script.
Hang on there Tideliar - I just caught up with the updated post (yeah, I'm slow sometimes - bite me). I ain't no fontnazi. It's just that Times new Roman would look a hell of a lot better than that Courier crap.
@Odyssey, actually it wasn't just you mate! I even got freakin emails about it from some geeks (you know who you are).
As to biting you, did you get any of the unidentified organic stains on you after Genomic Repairman borrowed your shirt? If so i might wait till the swelling dies down...
Tideliar: Thanks for the feedback.
To be quite frank, I was surprised that i was selected myself. As you know, SfN decided based on having a previously established blog or on a writing sample. I guess they did like the sample. I can definitely see how that would irk someone with a well established blog like yourself.
I am the first to admit that there is not much on my blog as of yet. However, please realize that SfN pulled the trigger on all the bloggers less than a week before "launch time". This particular week was crazy busy as it was, so the final result was perhaps less than desirable.
Anyway: There is no excuse for subpar work and I intend to put up worthwhile posts. Any advice?
Hey Pascal, thanks for stopping by. Hope i was too mean in my post...
I heard from a couple o the other bloggers that they were surprised too and are now quite nervous! But like I said, I didn't apply from this blog and the place I did apply from has been effectively dead for ages in internet years, so i assumed I wouldn't get picked.
And TBH, i prefer being an unofficial conference blogger cos I'm kind of a dick sometimes... :)
So, advice...hmmm... (I like your first post BTW).
1. Right, I suck at doing this, but like you've started - picture with every post when you can. It draws in the eye and breaks up the text. Especially for longer posts you have to keep the reader engaged.
2. Try and keep to 1000 words or less if possible
3. Link, link, link. Provide the reader with suggested alternatives sources (even wikipedia) to help explain points. Saves you space and time too.
4. Read Orwell's 6 rules and apply them.
For sentences like,
"The meeting can perhaps be adequately characterized as the scientific equivalent of a blend between a marathon and a triathlon. In addition, it is actually also physically taxing."
try and refine exactly what you mean. What does "blend of a marathon and a triathlon mean"? Do you mean it's tiring? Do you mean there's swimming and bike riding? (I'm being silly, but you get my point right?). And because I think you mean it's tiring, you don't need the second sentence "In addition, it is actually also physically taxing".
(perhaps and adequately don't need to be together either; "perhaps" implies vagueness to your description, as does "adequately". It's verging on tautology.)
"The meeting can be described as the scientific equivalent of trying to run a marathon after winning a triathlon. It's exhausting, mentally and physically."
Then justify why one would want to attempt such an extraordinary feat:
"The meeting can be described as the scientific equivalent of trying to run a marathon after winning a triathlon. It's exhausting, mentally and physically. But for those of us who love Science, this is our Iron Man race and we fight to get there every year".
Shit. Fuck. Damn. Obviously that Was in the opening line is meant to be "wasn't"
so rule #5 - proof read
Freudian slip? ;)
No hard feelings. We improve by feedback. Longish sentences are my soft underbelly (I am originally German, actually. Trained in a Kantian/Heideggerian mindset (no excuse, but an explanation)).
Anyway. I'll be sure to follow your lead.
Ha ha you grumpy old fuck. It's really you who wrote Eats Shoots and Leaves ain't it?
Actually, I have a proposal for you. The more I think about it, the more I realize that most of this years Neurobloggers were kind of put on the spot by the short notice from SfN.
Given that you are English by birth and American by temperament, you should be down with the notion of sportsmanship (fairness) as well as that of the "second chance". ;)
So here is the proposal: Why don't you review the blogs again in a week from now (November 3rd) and see how they are doing and if there was any progress.
What do you think?
Sounds like a good plan. I've been seeing how some of the bloggers are updating finally. I wsa debating updating this post, but think re-doing it later is good idea.
But, like I said, I don't want to wrag on the bloggers. Y'all applied and won the slot; write well and prosper to misquote Mr. Spock. I'm happy to re-do this post and drive the publcity machine if I can, but I'm not out to hurt anyone.
Some of these cats are making their shit nice and pretty (good job folks) but House of Mind still looks like someone's old busted fucking Angelfire or Geocities page.
Some of them are. Considering these are the official bloggers and they will be posting once per day from the conference, now is when I'd expect to see a flutter of activity.
*tumbleweeds* on most of them.
Seems like you might have provided a rocket up a few people's arses and maybe the situation is salvageable after all. Pascal seems pretty on the ball too, good on you! I do feel a little bit for the students that have been picked, it's good that you pointed out you're not out to hate on anyone Tideliar.
I've heard from three of them now, so someone is paying attention. CPP over at DrugMonkey points out that only picking 13 bloggers for 20,000 presentations is rather shitty planning too :)
I hope to get meet everyone at SfN. And I hope one feels the need to take a swing at me LOL
Just make sure you take a picture of any black eyes you incur!
How could you get a black eye ... I thought you were a ninja!
Hey Tideliar - It's Marquicia (AKA Qscience)
This is great -- I definitely am glad I applied for this. I read your comments the first day you posted them and it took everything not to dive right to update my blog (I have a committee meeting soon – bad timing) but I appreciate your feedback. I am kind of nervous about it like the other “start-ups” but I like the advice and the slightly competitive atmosphere. Motivation to step up the game :)
@Nikkilina: Ninjas suck :p I'm a kickboxer. First thing you learn is "to learn not get hit, you're gonna get hit." That leads rapidly to lesson two, "You're gonna get hit"
You might win, but you still gonna eat a punch >:) that's why sparring is difficult to get used to at first. Someone is actually and deliberately trying to punch you in the face LOL.
@Marquicia: Hey! Thanks for stopping by! Yeah, committee work needs to be a priority. But...you also gotta a lot of people staring at your blog right now :) If you need a hand getting your format tidied shoot me an email (tideliar at gmail dot com).
either way, good luck with blogging and committee work. Hopefully we can all grab a beer in San Diego!
Kickboxer?? Dude you just got even cooler! I had no idea that was even possible!
Rather than fight, I second the idea of having a get-together of all the SfN bloggers. Official or unofficial. But I'm not sure how to organize that. I have a gmail draft with the email-addresses of those who provided it. But not everyone did, some want to remain anonymous, etc. - any suggestions?
Regarding layout, etc.: I was running 15 hour/day experimental shifts between the SfN pick and the SfN release. Part of the time I spent on deciding which blogging tools to use. I was strongly advised to use Wordpress. Now I hear that it is just too "run of the mill". A big problem?
@Nikkilina: LMAO, I also scuba dive, snowboard and ride a skateboard >:) Rennaisance man, me.
@Pascal: I think we can get a meet up organised easily - twitter and one blog should do. I know Functional Neurogenesis has started a list. Lemme have a think and speak to a couple of people. All we need is a venue and date after all. Tweetups happen fast and spontaneously. We all have/will have PhDs...surely we can do this :)
Regarding the blog, WordPress is great platform. More versatile than Blogger. If you're comfortable with the slightly more tech GUI it's great to use. And really, all you need is somewhere for text and pictures :)
OMG ... I think I'm in love (don't tell my husband)!
Given what else is going on, I suggest to aim for Tuesday evening or night.
Ah, plans are in the works my friend. Keepo your eye on #sfn10banter on twitter...
What a bunch of losers.
How do these people sleep at night?