January 17, 2009

Good Names for Atheist Blogs?

Hello my name is sticker

There is no reason to limit our efforts to help other atheist bloggers to those who already have blogs. We can also help out those who are planning to start new atheist blogs. In the increasingly crowded field of atheist blogs, it has to be tough to think of an original name for one's new blog. I remember agonizing over this decision when there were no more than a handful of atheist blogs. I can't imagine being in that position now. If you were going to start a new atheist blog, what would be some names you'd consider?

After reading a recent post about blasphemy at Proud Atheists (update: blog no longer active), I think that an ideal array of possible blog names includes those disparaging the "holy" ghost. If you remember the blasphemy challenge, you'll realize that this is hardly an original idea. Still, I think that this could be a fruitful domain of atheist blog names. Remember, some Christians consider rejecting their "holy" ghost to be the one unforgivable sin. Don't worry, I've never understood this either.

Aside from that, I've always been partial to names that convey power and project sort of a "we're not going to take it anymore" vibe. I think this is because I tend to be impatient when it comes to things like equality and civil rights. The harm caused by religion continues to be a clear and present danger, and we ignore it at our peril. Then again, this is a good time to remember that whatever name one ultimately chooses ought to reflect the sort of audience one hopes to attract. If one was writing a blog primarily to persuade religious believers to abandon their religion, a very different sort of name could be more effective.

The name one chooses should also say something about the blogger and his or her voice (or at least a guess as to the sort of voice that would emerge). Friendly Atheist works well for Hemant because it describes him. It wouldn't work for me. Still, I would not get too bogged down in this consideration because few of us are going to be able to accurately anticipate our blogging voice before we have been doing it for a while.

The last thing I'll mention is that whatever name you select should be short. I'm not going to claim that having more than three or four words in the title of your blog is fatal. I am aware of at least a few atheist blogs with four or more words in their names, but I'd encourage you not to go past four if at all possible. Why? It gets unwieldy and can be somewhat limiting when using social media for blog promotion. It also usually means that you have some unnecessary and unhelpful words in there (e.g., the, an, and).

My final suggestion is one of those that should go without saying, but it doesn't. If you are planning to start a new atheist blog where you will write mostly about atheism and closely-related topics, consider including "atheist" or "atheism" in the title. And if you have a good reason for not doing so, then at least ask yourself whether someone who came across your title would guess that it had anything to do with atheism. I know this probably seems obvious, but you'd be surprised by how many atheist blogs selected names that provide little idea that they are atheist blogs.