Third Blogoversary!

It’s official! My blog is now exactly three years old. I’m excited! I still have a lot of ideas for things to write about and there are always new entomological discoveries and adventures to feature. I feel like the blog is going strong! So, today please indulge me as I take a moment to review where I’ve been and where I’d like to go with this whole blogging thing.

When I started this blog, I was excited when I got 30 views a day.  Getting 100 views made me ecstatic!  I get more than that now, but it still seems crazy to me that people actually want to read what I write.  I am around so many entomologists that I sometimes forget that many other people do in fact enjoy learning about insects, that we’re not always strange outsiders that no one understands.  I love that so many of you enjoy hearing about the things that get me excited.  It makes the blogging experience fun and I keep at it because it warms my heart to think that so many people are interested in learning about the insects I love.  Yay for the many bug lovers of the world!  You guys rock.  You rock hard.

I think the most exciting part of my blogging experience has been the success of my dragonfly swarm project.  I’ve said it before, but I had absolutely no idea that so many people would participate in this project and I am beyond thrilled at how well it has worked!  I’ve started presenting the results of the project to other scientists and the project has gained the attention of several writers and scientific organizations.  Thank you all, from the depths of my heart, for making my quest for knowledge such a huge success!

One of my goals last year was to have several contests.  I had 3 when I intended to have 4, so I’m feeling pretty good about that.  I haven’t had a contest for a while, and I sadly don’t have time to do one now, but I have a plan for the next one! I’m getting close to 400 posts, so I’ll do another contest when I reach that milestone in about a month.  Don’t know what it will entail just yet, but there’s definitely another contest coming soon.  You’ve all rewarded me with your comments and support, so I want to give something back.

The one goal that I didn’t accomplish at all from last year was moving my blog onto my own website.  I had wanted to do it largely because collecting my dragonfly swarm data was taking so long as I manually moved the data from blog comments or e mailed forms to my database.  Happily, WordPress offered Google Docs support last summer right when I needed it. Problem solved!  Now all the data is magically dumped into a database for me.  That means I’m spending more time doing data analysis and developing new blog posts/educational materials than I spend copying and pasting data.  Woo!  That’s exactly what I needed and it didn’t even involve moving my blog to a new site.  Gotta love it when things just work like that.

My goals for next year are simple.  I’d like to get back to a regular four days a week posting schedule.  It’s not going to happen right away as it’s about all I can do to keep up with my three post per week schedule recently, but I think I can manage four a week after all the craziness dies down.  I also want to review more papers because it gives me an excuse to read them, but it (more importantly) fulfills my goal of spreading the joy of science with non-scientists.  It seems like I get a lot of good feedback when I review papers, so it’s definitely on my to-do list for the coming year because you all seem to like it.  I might also add another semi-regular feature, but I’m going to keep that to myself for now and reveal it if and when it happens.

All in all, I feel like it’s been a good year and I can’t thank you all enough for the support you’ve all shown me.  Hopefully I can keep you entertained for another year – and beyond!

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Unless otherwise stated, all text, images, and video are copyright © C. L. Goforth

Changes to The Dragonfly Woman

I finally took the plunge and made some of the updates to my blog that I’ve been putting off.  If you’ve been keeping up with my posts, you should immediately notice that I changed the theme.  Although I loved my previous theme’s color scheme and I’m a huge sucker for walling things off in boxes with rounded edges (it is my preferred design for conference posters!), it just wasn’t functional enough.  The theme didn’t allow for anything but parent pages to appear at the top of the website, which meant a lot of extra work if I wanted to include subpages.  This irritated me more than I can possibly say and I’ve wanted to change the theme for a while.  It was only a matter of time before a theme came along that had the functionality I craved without sacrificing too much in the way of the design.  This is the result!  I hope it will work well, though there’s a good chance I will change it again if a theme that better fits my design preferences comes along.

The other thing I’ve updated is the gallery page.  There’s actually a gallery there now!  The gallery will contain all of the images you see on my blog that I have taken myself, i.e. those that I have the right to distribute as I wish.  The gallery is in part a tool for myself (so I can easily see which photos I’ve used – slogging through my media gallery is an incredibly slow and painful experience), but I think it will be handy for people who wish to look at photos of a whole group of insects or easily find a photo without having to remember the name or the date of the post on which it was featured.  The main gallery page (the one you’ll arrive at if you click Gallery above) is arranged by taxonomic order in order of ascending evolution according to Grimaldi and Engel.  The galleries for individual orders are arranged alphabetically by family.  For those of you who have no idea what this means, not to worry!  I have also included the common names of the orders and families for your convenience.  I’ll be adding images to the gallery as I create posts, so it will serve as a repository for all of the photos that I’ve made available on my blog.  I think it will be a useful tool and will improve the educational value of my blog.

I continue to be very busy with research projects and these changes took quite a bit of time to make, but I hope to have a new post up in the next few days.  Thank you all for your continued readership and support!

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Unless otherwise stated, all text, images, and video are copyright © 2010 DragonflyWoman.wordpress.com