happy weirday! weird things officially turns two.
Two years ago, in a dark, secluded castle filled with beakers with boiling chemicals, a team of mad scientists pulled the switch to activate their creation. They cackled maniacally as lightning bolts flashed overhead and as the electrical circuits overloaded and beakers burst, the monstrous invention they had assembled in their fit of mad humor roared to life and… Oh wait. Sorry, wrong story. What I actually meant to say is that two years ago, the first few posts that would become Weird Things were published in a far-away corner of WordPress.com to an audience of, oh, about twenty people, focusing primarily on skepticism as it examined popular conspiracy theories with a critical eye. Over the next two years, there have been a few changes and today, Weird Things is a pop sci blog tackling offbeat science stories and verbally tearing into quacks and cranks on a regular basis, injecting critical thinking and scientific facts into news about physics, astrobiology, politics, and space travel.
As the editorial focus honed in on a good mix of topics, traffic grew from an average of about twelve hits a day to today’s 1,700 to 2,000 daily views, and recently surpassed 1,000,000 views since inception. On the social media front, it has over 800 subscribers on Facebook, and 375 followers on Twitter. And yes I know, these are not the kind of numbers that a professional media group could brag about, but for a personal blog that began as an exercise in making a post just about every day and seeing what would happen, I think that’s pretty good. Along the way, Weird Things was picked up for syndication by Time Warner, had its brief stint in a major blog network, was featured on Bad Astronomy, Discovery News, io9, and in SEED Magazine, and even made it to a radio show not once, not twice, but three times, two of which were a lively back and forth with a prominent and highly noted transhumanist to talk about cyborgs, artificial intelligence, and all the other exciting high tech stuff that’s slowly but surely making its way into the real world. Oh and just to make things easy on myself, I kept up a mandatory schedule of daily updates since my last blogging day off, 08.27.2009.
So after two years of being at this blogging thing, I feel that all the time, effort, and the occasional frustration of writer’s block invested in Weird Things, or WoWT as it’s often known to the outside world, have all been worth it. Thanks to this blog, I’ve been able to meet and talk to great people, put my writing skills to the test, and do a whole lot of learning in the process. And if you pursue some of the nearly 4,300 comments left so far, you will WoWT’s community of regular readers, high brow debates and discussions, lively, and sometimes very bitter arguments, and all the other trappings of a place to talk about science and skepticism while freely skewering sacred cows. And though being in grad school while having a day job mean that I’m somewhat limited in how much media experimentation I could do in the near future, I intend to do everything I can to keep Weird Things going strong into its third year and I sincerely hope that you’ll stay tuned to see another year worth of posts as well as join the debates around them. So happy Weirday everybody and thanks for reading.
[ happy Weirday concept borrowed with permission from Dr. Ian O’Neill ]