Happy third birthday Nature Network!

Nature Network turns 3 years old today, and it has been a very interesting ride. I wasn't around when Nature Network started, but posted by first Gobbledygook blog post (the blog had a different name back then) in August 2007. We passed the 50.000 comments milestone just a few weeks ago. And we were told that big changes to the blogging platform underneath are imminent.

Flickr image by Graham Steel.

I have had many, many positive experiences in these 2 1/2 years. I learned a lot about science publishing and met a large number of very nice and very clever people both online and offline. I wrote about 160 blog posts and an uncounted number of comments during that time, and writing blog posts is still a lot of fun and something I like doing on a regular basis (I decided a while ago to aim for one blog post per week). I am also excited about the upcoming Science Online London 2010 meeting, although the exact date and location have not yet been set.

Happy birthday.

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16 Responses to Happy third birthday Nature Network!

  1. Bob O'Hara says:

    Yaaay! Happy birthday us!
    I’m working on being an ‘old timer, having been here for just under 2 years.

  2. steffi suhr says:

    Hear, hear!
    Are you co-organising Science Online again?

  3. Maxine Clarke says:

    ooh, Happy Birthday to us! What a nice post, Martin. I do like reading your blog (and of course Steffi’s and Bob’s, who have commented above), and hope to be doing so for many years to come. One thing about NPG, it is very forward-looking and always trying out new things (eg the recent iPhone app) so there is always something stimulating going on, surprising, even.

  4. Martin Fenner says:

    Maxine, yes there really is no shortage of material to write and talk about. But I still wouldn’t call science blogging mainstream, the majority of scientists are probably not familiar with the concept.
    Richard Grant, Lou Woodley, Victor Henning and Jan Reichelt from Mendeley and myself are organizing Science Online London 2010. The Royal Institution has become to small for this event, and we are currently looking for a nice (and affordable) venue. More news to follow soon.

  5. Lou Woodley says:

    Happy Birthday Nature Network! and thanks for remembering, Martin. I was interested in the idea of Network right from the beginning (Matt may still have the letter to prove it!) and have long thought that a Cambridge hub seems like a good addition to the set, so it’s fitting (to me, at least) that we celebrated yesterday in Cambridge, and now have a new “Cambridge proto-hub”:http://network.nature.com/groups/cambridge/forum/topics too. However, it’s our regular contributors from all over the world that really make Network what it is, so thanks to anyone who’s ever written a blog, left a comment or participated in a group or forum in the last three years.
    Apparently, most three-year-olds start taking an exploratory interest in their surroundings, begin perfecting motor skills and asking searching questions in order to understand the world around them. I hope the improvements that we’ll be introducing this year will reflect our online equivalent of these stages.
    BTW, Matt Brown’s also involved in organising Science Online London and I suspect his London science knowledge will once again be invaluable in our planning.

  6. Martin Fenner says:

    Oops, I forgot to mention Matt. He also did two wonderful London science tours beofre the 2008 and 2009 conferences (“some pictures from 2008″:http://network.nature.com/people/mfenner/blog/2008/08/29/london-science-tour-in-pictures). And he is the first Nature Networker whom I met in person back in July 2008.

  7. Graham Steel says:

    Happy Third Birthday Nature Network !!
    _Lou, your comment appeared as I was writing this and it ties in rather nicely !!_
    In a similar manner to “this thread”:http://ff.im/fUSz8 over at The Life Scientists room on FriendFeed, *how and when did you find out about NN?*
    I think it would be equally useful and interesting for folks to -spill the beans- leave a comment here, so I’ll start.
    _Photograph of Matt Brown by Frank Baron_
    Towards the end of 2007, I spotted “this article”:http://www.guardian.co.uk/education/2007/jul/03/highereducation.elearning in the Guardian and signed up to NN to check it out. In less than a couple of weeks, I knew that I had found something of real interest. _(Whilst I’m not a scientist myself, I’ve been involved in science one way or the other for a decade now and pretty much straight away, knew that NPG were onto something good)_. As Matt and Timo know, I alerted roughly 450 of my scientist contacts about NN by email. I have no idea about the uptake, but I’m glad that I did this.
    Without question, the thing that I and indeed others found of significance, was getting to meet others in person in London in 2008 _(and then again last year)_ for the first of what is now an annual Conference meet-up.
    This was expanded upon in my match report “”Were Scientists””:http://mcblawg.blogspot.com/2008/08/were-scientists.html
    _(from L -> R, Victor, Mo, Attila and myself discussing science in a Moroccan restaurant in Soho in the wee small hours)_

    With some _”under the hood”_ changes to the blogging platform being imminent, onwards and upwards, I say !!

  8. Matt Brown says:

    Woo, happy birthday to us. I was there at the birth. It was difficult, and messy and left its scars, but the baby soon grew into a healthy little infant with only the occasional tendency to throw its toys out of the pram.
    For me, Nature Network has also involved a series of wonderful experiences that I’d not have got the chance to do otherwise. I found myself initiating, planning and hosting two conferences, having dinner with two Nobel Prize winners and standing awestruck as James Randi, Brian Cox and Phil Plait turned up to NN London drinks. I even met the Queen and Prince Philip during the reopening of the Royal Institution (she turned her nose up at Heston Blumenthal’s liquid nitrogen ice cream; I did not). But most of all, I’ve got to interact and meet with some of the finest people in science through connections made on these here blogs. What a spiffing three years.
    Graham – thanks for digging out the most sinister photo of me ever taken. I thought it had been expunged from the internets.
    Lou – I recall that letter. You were asking for a Cambridge hub even before I started. I’m not sure what happened to it, but there’s a chance it’s in the draw of my old desk.

  9. Martin Fenner says:

    Graham, to answer your question: I started science blogging in May 2007 with a blog hosted on my own (*in a nutshell*) after reading an article about science blogging in _Cell_ (Laura Bonetta: “Scientists Enter the Blogosphere”:http://dx.doi.org10.1016/j.cell.2007.04.032). At that time I didn’t know anybody involved in science blogging. But I soon discovered Nature Network and in July asked Matt whether I could blog here.

  10. Graham Steel says:

    _Graham – thanks for digging out the most sinister photo of me ever taken. I thought it had been expunged from the internets._
    I hadn’t seen that photo since 2007. Bearing in mind “this official photo”:http://www.guardian.co.uk/profile/jamesmeikle of my good friend, James Meikle from the Guardian:-
    _A sinister photo of James Meikle_
    I think their photographers are to blame !!

    Is this any better?
    _A not sinister photo of M@ from 2009_ “via the Flickr #solo09 pool”:http://www.flickr.com/photos/tags/solo09/

  11. Heather Etchevers says:

    _Apparently, most three-year-olds start taking an exploratory interest in their surroundings, begin perfecting motor skills and asking searching questions in order to understand the world around them. I hope the improvements that we’ll be introducing this year will reflect our online equivalent of these stages._
    Lou – I’m sure you are right, and you will be one of the skilled foster parents teaching this infant all sorts of new things.
    Thanks, Martin, for a lovely tribute to our hosts!
    To answer Graham, I was -drug- -drugged- dragged into it by “rpg”:http://network.nature.com/people/rpg/profile, who had been reading my blog elsewhere on a “site”::http://www.scienceboard.net/ where he had once been a highly active contributor and thought that, like “he did”:http://network.nature.com/people/rpg/blog, I might benefit from a different and somewhat more focused and participatory readership. At “Science Online London 2008″:http://network.nature.com/groups/sciblog2008/forum/topics/1904, during which I had the enormous pleasure of meeting all of you who have contributed to the comments so far, “Anna”:http://network.nature.com/people/U2929A0EA/profile cornered me after a drink, got a promise out of me, and made sure it happened by September, 2008. I had previously been blogging since November, 2004.
    No way. My goodness. No _wonder_ I want to stop, sometimes. But I’ll wait until you all beg me to. :-) Inertia, perhaps.
    I have not had cause to regret that transition, and thanks to you all for that. And to the quiet readership who doesn’t comment, too.

  12. Henry Gee says:

    Seems I started here mere days after NN began. Good times, good times.
    When I started, this -blog- dog had yet to be pupped

    and girrafes had yet to encounter a unicycle.

  13. Alejandro Correa says:

    Happy birthday NN. I wish you every success. My gift for NN:
    _Pteranodon_ without parachute!

  14. Ken Doyle says:

    Happy birthday! I don’t recall exactly how I -got sucked in- found out about NN, but I think it was through another science-type forum.

  15. GrrlScientist says:

    happy (belated) birthday from a scienceblogger who is will be added to your line-up soon. (waiting for MT4 whilst trying to think of a name for my NN blog — yes, i am open to suggestions)

  16. Gobbledygook says:

    Movable Type Test

    This post will be rather boring for regular Movable Type or WordPress users. But we Nature Network bloggers are new to this stuff. Create and edit blog posts from standalone applications * Windows: BlogJet * Macintosh: MarsEdit * iPhone: BlogPress…