Wednesday, January 27, 2016

How do you celebrate 10 years of an anonymous blog?

Today, The Neurocritic celebrates ten years as a blog. Given the ongoing use of a pseudonym, how should I commemorate the occasion?

1. Should I finally update my blog template? (“Hey, 2004 wants their Blogger template back”).

2. Should I throw a party? Popular London-based blogs Mind Hacks and BPS Research Digest held big public bashes in November 2014 and December 2015, respectively. My audience is only a fraction of theirs, however.  I doubt a local gathering of fans would fill more than a broom closet.

3. How about a Happy Hour, where I privately invite social media folks who live nearby? I know where many of you live, but not vice versa.

4. Or I could publicly announce the location of an informal gathering or night on the town with an open invitation to readers. In either of those scenarios, you'd get to meet me in person. Other pseudonymous bloggers appear in public all the time, why shouldn't I?

5. Another idea was inspired by the cooking competition show Top Chef, which is celebrating its 10th Anniversary this season. In the most recent elimination challenge, the contestants were asked to recall what they were like 10 years ago. The goal was to prepare a dish that represents themselves, professionally and emotionally, at that stage of their lives.
Top Chef 13: The chefs must create a dish that tells the story of who they were 10 years ago.
This was not a pleasant experience for some of the contestants. Chef Isaac, from New Orleans, had to remember the devastation after Hurricane Katrina. He prepared duck gumbo with roasted jalapeno andouille sausage, crispy rice cake and duck cracklings the type of a dish he made for large numbers of displaced people 10 years ago.

Front runner Chef Kwame was quite upset by recalling his estranged relationship with his father. He made jerk broccoli with corn bread pudding and smokey blue cheese as an homage to his Jamaican father. This wasn't a wise decision, however. He ended up at the bottom.

I thought about how I might write a post based on a similar theme: to tell the story of who I was 10 years ago and why I started to blog. I remembered some of the major things in my life at the time, and decided it would be too personal. For 10 years, I've avoided revealing anything about myself.

“I tried my best to stay under the radar and hoped that no one would think of me as a real person,” I said two years ago.

Why did I decide to start a neuroscience blog?

It was out of sheer frustration. I was facing some rejection of my own work, and felt I didn't have much of a voice in the neuroscience community. I was annoyed by flawed journal articles and overblown press coverage, and decided that blogging would be a cathartic outlet for my complaints. I didn't expect that many people would actually read it, but at least writing might make me feel a bit better.

6. I could do a retrospective of my most popular and commented-on posts, but that would be boring. Nobody cares, no one would read it.

7. Perhaps a look back at how the science blogosphere has evolved would have broader appeal? Or not. I wrote an opinion piece in 2013 during a time of #scicomm upheaval, that was enough. Although lifestyle pieces on the rise of social media and the decline of blogs are ever-popular...

8. Should I write a personal reflection on the greatest advances in Human Brain Imaging, Cognitive Neuroscience, and Psychopharmacology since 2006? Such a piece would be time consuming, and needs no special ties to a 10 year blogiversary celebration. Any specific requests for this type of post?

9. Or I could mention other neuro/psych blogs that have been around for 8-10 years, like Neurophilosophy (Mo Costandi soon celebrates his 10th), BPS Research Digest, SciCurious, Neuroskeptic, Neuron Culture (now here), Providentia (now nine), Addiction Inbox, Talking Brains, NeuroDojo (established in 2002), BrainBlog, Deric's MindBlog, and of course Shrink Rap. I could also recognize some influential legacy blogs of the era, including Neurofuture, Developing Intelligence, Mixing Memory, Cognitive Daily, and Omni Brain. Finally, I could credit major influences like Bad Neuro-Journalism (which dates back to 1998) and Mind Hacks.

10. Finally, I may announce a new occasional feature in the coming days or weeks.

Thank you for reading!

More Navel Gazing

Eight Years of Neurocriticism

The Decline of Neurocriticism

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At January 27, 2016 2:53 AM, Anonymous SomePerson said...

As one of the blogs on my 'must read' list, I think you're selling yourself short. I've no idea what your readership or stats look like, but you were highly influential in shaping my perspective during my psychology degree, and from what I've seen, had an influence on the psychology field. That's more than I can say for most of the blogs I follow.

At January 27, 2016 3:16 AM, Blogger The Neurocritic said...

Thank you for reading! (and for your kind words).

At January 27, 2016 5:15 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

just thank you : )

At January 27, 2016 6:02 AM, Blogger Juan said...

You do an awesome job!!! Greetings from Argentina and, please, keep your mind (or brain) sharp!!! ;-)

At January 27, 2016 9:44 AM, Blogger Bernard Carroll said...

As someone who occasionally comments here, I appreciate the heft of your blog - so, thank you!

At January 27, 2016 10:12 AM, Blogger scicurious said...

I would totally go to a meet up, should you ever choose to have one. Happy blogday! You're always one of the bloggers I look up to.

At January 27, 2016 10:26 AM, Anonymous Sandra said...

Happy Blogoversary! You've consistently been writing top notch work, and I've learned a lot from you.

At January 27, 2016 1:59 PM, Anonymous Pepe said...

Happy blogirthday !! I enjoy your blog and look forward to more insights!

At January 27, 2016 7:18 PM, Blogger Michelle Dawson said...

"Should I finally update my blog template?" Don't you dare.

Many many thanks for 10 years of brainy blogging at its very best. Hat's off and here's to another 10 (then another 10, then...)

At January 28, 2016 12:23 AM, Blogger The Neurocritic said...

Thanks to all for your comments, I really appreciate it.

At January 28, 2016 7:48 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Thank you for writing the blog, I've been reading for years. A bunch of the math is over my head because I don't know statistical testing. Your style is not boring befuddling academic mumbo jumbo but clear worthwhile and to the point.
Placebo Blocker

At January 29, 2016 1:54 AM, Anonymous Björn Brembs said...

Thanks for continuing to write on your blog!
When mine turned 10 in 2013, I moved it to wordpress:
I have a lot more functionalities since then and a much easier way of writing the posts, but I have also had numerous security/hacking issues. A mixed bag.

At January 29, 2016 10:27 AM, Blogger The Neurocritic said...

Thanks, Björn! How can I forget? You were among the first pioneers of science blogging. Your entire site had a unique, personalized look (very green)! For old times sake, I found an example on

At February 02, 2016 6:31 PM, Blogger Unknown said...

for 10 years of a great blog - and here's to 10 more!

At February 17, 2016 12:06 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

What should you do after 10 years, which update? Well, you could start with a "bio" that in any way resembles the truth.

At February 18, 2016 1:02 AM, Blogger The Neurocritic said...

'Well, you could start with a "bio" that in any way resembles the truth,' said the Anonymous commenter.

What, you don't believe my bio?


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