BibViz: Week One
BibViz launched exactly one week ago and has been a huge success! I'd like to take this opportunity to write a little bit about the project and how it was able to grow to hundreds of thousands of views so quickly, as well as to thank everyone who participated by blogging about the project, sharing with their friends on social networks, or just visiting and exploring the site.
Who, What and Why
The idea for BibViz formed in early August 2013 while browsing around for the Reason Project's biblical contradictions poster after a heated religious debate about biblical literalism and public policy / school programs. I was able to find it, but once again saw that it hadn't been updated to remove duplicate entries and was difficult to navigate or do much with. When a friend suggested that I could do better the thought nagged at the back of my mind for the next few days.
From start to finish it took about a week to get a decent looking site, with some final touches for social media markup and a few minor fixes after launch. This included research time, time learning some Node.js libraries, time learning D3.js, etc. Today I continue to work on the site, adding features and fixing issues that people find and bring to my attention. I'm working on adding more content (like this blog) and setting up a framework for translations into various languages through static site generators.
Some people have asked why I wasted time creating such a site. I believe that there is value in having useful resources for people to easily explore and learn. Given that 46% of Americans believe in a literal interpretation of a creation myth and other stories in a very old book with such a colorful past it seems worthwhile to provide a resource for exploring the issues with taking that book literally. These 46% of Americans are voting in elections, making choices in their communities and driving grassroots campaigns around the nation based on their arguably false beliefs. I believe that education is the answer, and I hope that this project helps toward that goal.
Many other people have asked about my own personal beliefs, but I want to reiterate that what I believe does not matter. Take a look at the evidence, think for yourself, and come to your own conclusions.
The project has gotten a lot of great coverage from many sources, but I'd like to highlight a few of the larger ones here.
Before I had even publicly announced the site, but after reaching out to Steve Wells, Hemant Mehta of Friendly Atheist emailed me asking about the project - apparently one of his readers had found the site. Hemant had this to say on his blog the next day:
Now, computer programmer Daniel G. Taylor has taken all that data and turned it into a visual masterpiece...
The whole site is seriously an incredible resource. Go there and just play around with it.
After this post was a big surge of traffic from Facebook, but due to the nature of sharing only with friends I'm not able to easily find who shared what there. To my anonymous supporters I say thanks.
Now, one designer has built a handy map to help us navigate the text.
Using data from the Skeptic's Annotated Bible, programmer Daniel G. Taylor created this encyclopedic visualization of 463 of the Bible's major contradictions.
It also hit Misterios Domundo and with it a slew of Spanish-language tweets flew by.
Usando dados do próprio livro, o programador e designer Daniel G. Taylor criou este site que contem 463 das principais contradições da Bíblia.
Slate also released a brief tweet about the site, causing a spike in traffic:
Charting the Bible's contradictions: http://slate.me/154lv1M
Aside from the larger sources above many, many smaller sources shared the site as well, and tweets have been flying in at least half a dozen languages around the clock.
In the past week, BibViz has gotten over 370,000 page views from over 160,000 unique visitors. These visitors came from over 190 different countries in the world, from all kinds of ages and backgrounds. The vast majority of traffic came from the United States with the UK in second. Brazil, Canada, Austria, Hungary, the Netherlands, Spain and Romania also had a good number of visitors.
I'm not sure if this qualifies as "going viral" but I have to say I'm struck with awe at how popular BibViz has become in so little time.
Facebook provides a nifty tool they call Insights to let the owner of a website track anonymous shares, likes and demographics. BibViz had over 6,250 likes and shares which in turn meant almost two million impressions on people's walls. Interestingly, most sharing was performed by men by a wide margin. BibViz was shared in posts using six different languages.
As for the server hosting the website, it is hosted by Digital Ocean and held up fantastically. I don't want this to turn into a review or ad for their service, but I will say that my entire experience so far with Digital Ocean has been wonderful. Signing up was painless (use OMGSSD10 for $10 free credit) and I had a virtual server up and running in minutes. Then it was just a matter of setting up DNS to point to the server, setting up Nginx and we're ready to rock.
The service saw short-term (5-minute average) spikes of over 10 Mbps network traffic and around 20% CPU use with around 100 requests per second. Here are the 30-minute averages for the week for network and CPU use (disk usage was so low that the graph showed almost nothing):
Note: these graphs are for the lowest tier virtual server!
As for donations and referal sales, I have gotten a small number of each. Very few people seem to have clicked the donate button (bottom right of this page), but I am eternally thankful to those that have. Your donations will help to cover server costs and future development of this website.
I want to take this opportunity to thank everyone that shared and visited BibViz over the past week again. You have made this project come alive.
Let's see what we can do in the coming months!