On the second anniversary of my first post on the site, I take a look at the best bits from the last year and what to expect next year!
Two years ago I created Marine Madness from scratch and began posting my first articles on here, which in all likelihood not more than a handful of people ever read. Throughout the first year people started to find what I was writing and to my surprise, they started to stick around. Today the site has thousands of weekly visitors from around the world (167 countries and counting) and has developed a strong online following across social media. Now when I post new articles I take comfort in knowing that I am no longer just writing words in the wind, but sharing my work with a growing community of like-minded ocean enthusiasts. Over the last year in particular, I have really been blown away with the level of support and recognition Marine Madness is starting to receive. To celebrate this I would like to share my personal review of the last year, taking a look at what’s changed, my favourite parts and what to expect over the next year.
The first and perhaps biggest change to the site over the last year is the number of people visiting it. Over the last 12 months Marine Madness has received over 53,000 views, which is an over 600% increase from last year! This was a big landmark for me and it gives me great pleasure to have my work enjoyed by so many people. But visitors aren’t the only thing that has increased this year, with 102 new articles being published on the site, over 30 more than last year. In addition to more articles, I have also varied the types of content on the site as well. Including a new monthly book club, video playlists and a new ocean artwork page. All of which have been successful additions to the site. This has allowed Marine Madness to progress from a blog to more of a multi-media platform which is something I am very proud of.
Picking my personal highlights over the last year has been something of a dilemma, because the entire experience of running the site and writing articles is something I enjoy greatly. However, there were a couple of articles this year that were especially fun to write for me. The first was an interview I did early in the year with the fantastic Debby Mason. I talked to Debby, who is a Plymouth-based artist who specialises in prints of marine life, about the role art can play in conservation and I found her perspective to be enlightening. Another personal favourite was my first videogame review, which I did for the amazing Beyond Blue game. The developers of the game were kind enough to provide me with a free copy (which I played for far longer than the review required) and it was all-round a great experience for me.
As always another highlight of this year has been working with more fantastic guest writers. In total there have been 15 articles submitted by other writers this year, which have all been excellent and helped take the pressure of my shoulders. A massive thank you to Zuzanna Dusza, Rhodri Irranca-Davies, Janey Sellars, Louise-Océane Delion, Jenny Hickman, Eleanor Gilbert, Lorraine Aldridge, Rebecca Greatorex, Joe Baker, Miranda Atlice, Owen Harris, Alicia Shephard and Charlie Greogory for their submissions. Each one was a pleasure to work with and their work reflected each of their knowledge and commitment towards their chosen subjects. If you would like to contribute an article to the site, then be sure to check out the guidelines here.
Finally, another highlight for me this year has been trying out different types of content on the site. The book club in particular has been very enjoyable and reading the books that have been featured has been entertaining and educational. My personal favourite was ‘One Breath’ by Adam Skolnick, based on the world of competitive freediving, which I personally knew very little about. Other popular books included ‘The Deep’, ‘Other Minds’ and ‘Vast Expanses’. As well as the book club, the ocean artwork page has been very popular. It now showcases works of art from nine artists and each one is both unique and well crafted. Again if you would like to contribute, then be sure to check out the guidelines here.
Over the next year I look forward to continuing to run and grow Marine Madness as I have over the last few years. There may be some short-term changes as I have recently secured my first full-time writing job. This may mean that there are less articles published each month at the start of the year. However, I am determined to keep working on the site and with the help of more guest writers and artists, there should still be plenty of content for you to enjoy. I will also constantly be on the lookout for important conservation news and exciting research developments to share with followers of the site on social media.
I would like to end this review by again thanking everyone who continues to read the articles I and others write on the site. I really appreciate the support and without anyone to read what I am putting out on here it wouldn’t be worth doing. I am proud of how far we have managed to come together and excited by how far we can still go.