Facebook announced last week that the service FriendFeed would be shut down in April. I was a FriendFeed user, I even used to have a link to it here on the Skeptic History page – for those who wanted to see the daily history posts using that service. But it’s been increasingly less useful as it has been supplanted by newer services like Twitter and Facebook itself.
As we use online tools to achieve specific goals, we must be mindful that they do disappear like this. It’s always wise to have a good idea what benefit you are getting from which tools, and which alternatives are available should one disappear.
Let’s take a moment to consider a few tools that have disappeared recently, why that happens and some good strategies for might replacing them.
Regular readers are aware of my Skeptic History calendar project. I’ve tried to research as many specific dates, birthdays, anniversaries and so on that relate to the history of skepticism. I then post them online.
I’ve learned some things myself in this research. And in posting the results online I hope to help connect newer skeptics with the long history of scientific skepticism.
As of this week, there are now seven different places online you can look for a little dose of skeptic history. And soon there might be more!
Update July 1: The “secret project” I allude to in this post has been revealed. Read about it here.
Those of you who use Twitter, Facebook or FriendFeed (and are connected to me) know that I post a “this day in history” style item called Skeptic History every morning. I started researching those somewhat on a lark and then later realized it would be an interesting educational project to post them daily, which I started in February 2009. About a year after that I approached Derek and Swoopy of the Skepticality podcast about doing an audio version of it, which I’ve been doing as a segment since Skepticality #123 last March. This year, Skeptic History is going to take off in a new direction as well. Unfortunately I can’t talk about the exact details yet, but I hope it will be very exciting and reach folks who don’t use social media or listen to podcasts. This new venue has got me thinking about the content. I do the research for it in my spare time, mostly using the Internet of course. As a result, I can’t always dig as deeply as I can for some dates to put in the calendar. And so I’ve accumulated a wish list of dates I was unable to locate in my searches. This is where I could use your help… Continue reading →
Those of you who follow me on Twitter or are friends with me on Facebook have seen my Skeptic History posts over the last 18 months or so. I started doing these out of a realization that we have a large number of younger skeptics who are just getting started, who need to be aware of the history of the movement. There is a long history of interesting personalities, lawsuits, failed predictions and more in skepticism. As the old adage tells us, those who are not aware of their past are condemned to repeat it.
And so, every day I post a historic event relating to skepticism that occurred on that day, usually with a link that supplies further details. I’ve been doing so since February of 2009. In the early days I didn’t have events researched for every single calendar day, but I kept researching. Now I have at least one event on every day, sometimes I have as many as nine events to choose from. I post one or two each day.
I recently discovered that we are about to reach #500 in this series of posts in the month of September. Since Dragon*Con is this weekend, I thought it would be fun to have a little contest to guess the date of the fateful post. I’ll give the details after the jump.