One of the early posts on this blog was about the long tail of skepticism. In that post I talked about how skeptics should be looking for an interesting niche within skepticism, and create projects like blogs and podcasts that cater to that niche. There are several good reasons for this strategy you can read at that post.
I still believe there are many opportunities for online skeptic projects that have not yet been built. In the past on this blog I have successfully exhorted skeptics to get involved online in one way or another. Most notably Susan Gerbic has created an entire blog and Wikipedia project based around the ideas I originally championed here. There are others too.
With that in mind, I’m going to start a series of shorter posts in which I toss out an idea, partially flesh out why it might be useful to skeptics, and encourage skeptics to build it. I’m going to do one per week. It’s called Wishlist Wednesday, and my first idea is the “Skeptic Podcast Sampler”.
Fittingly, this post about history was sparked by a rash of anniversaries. Today I mark five years on Twitter. March 3rd marked two years since I began my regular Skeptic History segment on Skepticality. And February 16th was three years since I began posting daily Skeptic History facts on Twitter and Facebook. All told, my skeptic history facts are available in several different locations and formats now.
It occurred to me that someone coming across this project now might wonder how I put together this multimedia empire. Like many hobby projects, it evolved significantly over time – I certainly didn’t plan on it being what it is now. So I thought it might be interesting to recount the history of the project. It may be illustrative of how such projects start small, grow and mutate.
In late 2008 I was toying around with some ideas for a new skeptic project. What’s the Harm was a success, but updating it was fairly mechanical and I was looking for a new challenge to go in a new direction. I’ve always been interested in trivia, and was reading all I could about skepticism at that time.
The Skepchick Calendar was a popular skeptic project at that time and I was friends with several people who worked on it. So I started thinking about the idea of a calendar and historic dates. In hindsight I may have also had a vague memory of a non-skeptic publishing project I had done over two decades ago, back when I was in college. It had little to do with skepticism.
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!