A few weeks back, Tim Farley wrote a piece chronicling the explosion of skeptical podcasting over the last six years. In the time since the launch of Skepticality and Skeptics Guide to the Universe, skeptical podcasting has grown from 0 to well over 1000 episodes a year. More than 2 hours of new skeptical podcasts are produced every day – far more than the average person can listen to.
A similar trend is surely true in the blogosphere, where new sites crop up every day. Which is why I was so pleased to hear about the launch last week of Skeptics on the .Net, a new blog directory that aims to be the definitive catalog of skeptical blogging and podcasting on the internet.
What I didn’t realize initially is that the site was, from the start, a Canada-US collaboration – its co-founders are Eric Weiss of Austin, Texas and Brad Leclerc, a member of CFI Ottawa and frequent commenter here on Skeptic North. This is what Eric had to say on how it all got started:
Skeptics On The .Net came from some brainstorming I had with Brad Leclerc online while I was attending SXSW in March. We were trying to think of what we could do for the skeptical community without adding to the growing number of blogs and podcasts already out there. I had been working on a directory website that never got off the ground, so I thought maybe cataloging the blogs and podcasts themselves would be a good idea. I remember getting a DM on Twitter from Brad saying “The domain skepticsonthe.net is available” and I wrote back no more than 10 minutes later, “Not any more!” after registering it. It was just so perfect.
I quickly enlisted Katy Alvarado (aka: SkeptiKat) who is the only person I know who listens to more skeptical podcasts than I do. I then talked Alicia Shelton who is a skeptic here in Austin who was finishing up her studies to be a nurse, and got her interested. It wasn’t until a few weeks ago that I was introduced to Jill Powell on Twitter. I really wanted to have a cool 404 page like Twitter and Reddit so I asked her to do a Mount Rushmore of Skepticism (yes I get the irony of asking a Canadian to do a Mount Rushmore). When she sent me the image of it, I thought it was too good to hide on a 404 page. And we will definitely be asking her to do some more drawings and paintings for us. Keep in mind, as far as I know, no one involved has ever met face to face.
It’s a great story that illustrates the power of social media to bring far-flung skeptics together to do something important for our community. The launch garnered much attention online, including plugs from Bad Astronomer Phil Plait, Token Skeptic Kylie Sturgess and the James Randi Educational Foundation.
The number of blogs and podcasts on the site has already more than doubled since launch and is growing fast. You’ll see the Canadian content continue to grow as well, as I’ve recently signed on to help fill that section with the seemingly endless array of great Canadian skeptical blogs produced here in the Great White North.
If any of our readers would like to lend a hand, Skeptics on the .Net is looking for additional contributors, especially guest bloggers – just email Eric Weiss at email@example.com. I’d also highly recommend subscribing to the RSS feed and Twitter stream to get updated as new blogs and podcasts are added.