Oh yes – it’s that time again. As difficult as it is for me to believe, today officially makes it three years I’ve been writing for Daylight Atheism.
This past year has been the most eventful one yet. I finished writing my first book; met a fellow freethinker in an unlikely setting; was attacked by a sitting member of the U.S. Senate (still a proud moment); and more. As well, I continue to be encouraged by the thriving, friendly community here. It’s the commenters that make a site what it is, more so than the author. There are blogs much bigger than mine, much more heavily trafficked; but in terms of the number and especially the quality of the comments, I couldn’t be happier. To be honest, I prefer getting a number of comments where I can read every one!
What lies ahead in the coming year for Daylight Atheism? I have a few ideas:
• First off, I’d like to do more pure-science posts. Many of the essays in the Observatory have been aimed at debunking popular superstitions or laying out principles of critical thinking, but I’d like to devote more time to the glories of real science. These new posts will be similar to past essays like “Hello, Beautiful” or “Other Shores“. Expect the first of these to start appearing soon.
• I want to stir the pot and get some good debates going. Let’s face it, as encouraging as it is to sing the praises of atheism, it would be boring if that was all I did. (In much the same way, a site of nothing but debate and argument would get tedious; I like to have a balance.) I don’t just mean debating religious apologetics – I’m confident most of us know those claims and counterclaims in our sleep – but genuinely interesting issues where atheists don’t all find common ground.
• In line with the last point, I also want to move in the direction of more guest essays, including some from authors whose positions I don’t necessarily agree with – possibly even some from theists. For three years, save for a few exceptions, I’ve been the sole author – and DA is and always will be my platform first and foremost – but I think any conversation is enriched by a diversity of voices, and I plan to seek out some good ones.
Lastly, there’s one more point I want to touch on. These past few months have been a time of consolidation, and now I’m aiming for growth. I remain convinced that there’s a huge potential audience of atheists and freethinkers who could stand to hear a friendly voice in the wilderness of superstition, and I want to be the one to reach them.
In terms of traffic, October 2008 was my best month ever, and I want that to be the new baseline. My intent, by the end of this year, is to be routinely surpassing 200,000 hits per month. That’s about one-fifth of PZ’s traffic, which doesn’t sound unreasonable to me.
But if I’m going to reach that milestone, I’m going to need some help from the wisdom of the crowd. I put it to you, readers: What can be done to get Daylight Atheism’s name out there? Weekly dissections of the Left Behind books? Live chats? Podcasts and video? More cephalopods? (The first person to suggest Twitter will be taken out and shot.) What say ye?