Seasons greetings and some holiday reading!



Dear Readers,

The summer/winter holidays are upon us and we have come to the end of yet another year of posts!

This year I published 50 posts, which have travelled far and wide. There have been 1.3 million views from 780,000 unique visitors. Measuring engagement precisely is tricky, but by my calculations there have been around 3 million individual reading experiences on the blog just this year. There’s been potentially 9.6 million reading experiences over the life of the blog which just blows my mind – especially when you compare it to how many people have read my ‘real’ academic work (as a comparison, my most popular journal paper, with the fabulous Pat Thomson, has almost reached just 10,000 views).

In addition to the blog I maintain a few social media channels. There are now nearly 30,000 followers on Twitter and over 20,000 followers on Facebook. I’m also grateful that just over 1000 are interested enough to follow my pictures of academic lunches on Instagram????

The top 10 most popular posts written in 2016 were:

For those of you who are new to the blog this year, here are the top 10 most popular posts of all time:

Don’t forget, you can also read a curated selection of my posts, organised to follow the timeline of a PhD, in my ebook “How to Tame your PhD” which is available through Amazon (there is no digital rights management, so that you can convert the Amazon book to any format you want). There is also a paper copy available through Lulu.

During the holiday I hope to get the long promised second ebook collection edited and released. I also continue to work on my book “How to be an academic”, which I hope will be published through New South Press late next year. If you are looking for some stocking stuffers – or just a present for yourself – I have a curated list on my Amazon Affiliates store.

In case you weren’t aware, all purchases via these links support my work. Your purchases support various hosting costs and I give the rest in selected donations to charity.

This year I contributed $400 to the Peter MacCallum cancer researchers (in memory of my mother, who was so well cared for there), $100 to Wikipedia and $300 to projects by UN Women (their latest campaign to crowdfund a new bus in PNG is so close to achieving its goal! If you have a few dollars to spare they would be so grateful).

If you get some money for Christmas (and who doesn’t love that – the ultimate gift voucher!), Readers can get a discount off the new “Research impact handbook” by Mark Read for a short time in 2017. I haven’t read this book yet (it’s on my holiday list), but it seems to have a practical approach to generating research impact that resonates with the philosophy of this blog. You can read a review on the LSE impact blog if you are interested in learning more. To redeeem the voucher, visit the site, click buy and enter the code “THESIS15” between the 2nd and 31st of January.

This blog will turn 7 in June 2017: not bad for an idea dreamed up in the shower. The end of the year inevitably provokes some reflection. Sometimes I do wonder how long this blog will continue… Blogging is fun, but it takes constant creativity and attention to detail to keep publishing, week after week. Sometimes both these qualities are in short supply while I attend to my own teaching and research.

No one works in a vacuum, so I want to take this opportunity to thank some people in particular.

I couldn’t carry on without the constant, generous offers of guest posts that continue to roll in from around the world. Extra special thank you to all the wonderful contributors who have done guest posts this year – these make the blog sustainable and bring an important diversity of voice and views.

Thanks to my lovely colleagues at ANU (some are pictured below), in particular Victoria Firth-Smith, my ‘chief of staff’, who joined at the start of the year and has made herself indispensable in so many ways. As just one example of her great work this year, Victoria art directed and produced a new series of videos about our work at ANU. Some videos feature me:

Others feature our wonderful PhD students:

Thank you for your hard work, creative companionship and good cheer V – I deeply appreciate you.

Whisperer business can take me far and wide. I spent a fair amount of time away from Canberra this year. Luckily Mr Thesiswhisperer is my biggest fan and is endlessly supportive (thanks honey). Thesiswhisper Jnr puts up with it all because he honestly can’t remember a time without the blog. He mostly regards my strange internet fame with amusement, but he was slightly impressed when I pointed out I was cited on the Wikipedia page for Doctor of Philosophy.

Finally, ANU provides a supportive and nurturing environment for academics who blog. As recent events at Latrobe University and other places have shown, this is not something we can take for granted. It takes strong leadership from the top to create this kind of open and tolerant culture. So special thanks to ANU senior management, in particular DVC-R Margaret Harding, DVC-A Marnie Hughes Warrington and VC Brian Schmidt for showing interest and enthusiasm for my work here.

Whenever I am tired and contemplate life without this blog I know I continue to blog for one very good reason: you. Without your willingness to read and comment – and, more importantly, form a supportive online community for each other – the blog would not exist. So thank you from the bottom of my heart. Over the years many people have told me that my work here makes a difference. I always reply that the blog runs on this love and I really mean it. Thank you to everyone who has taken time to give me a little bit of love, it makes it easy to commit to another year of blogging with a glad heart.

Happy holidays everyone!