May 29, 2024

I should have promoted this event better than I did

I very much enjoyed the Secular Rally this weekend in Tallahassee, Florida.  I thought it was very well arranged.  There were plenty of good presenters, several tents and tables representing secularism, atheism, and aspects thereof.  They provided porta-potties, two food wagons, lots of amplification and recording equipment, and everything one should have considered to put on a fine event, and it was a very good event.

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The only thing they didn’t have was a crowd; very few people turned up.  Now part of that is that it was Tallahassee.  Northern Florida is the really red part -where the Hovinds and their ilk are.  Southern Florida is much more blue.  Many of the folks who did show up came in from out-of-state.  The locals who would normally have supported us might have been distracted by Bill Clinton’s appearance at another rally on the same weekend.  Tallahassee apparently isn’t big enough to host the both of us.  Another problem was likely a lack of promotion.  On Sunday I looked for the sites advertising the event, and found one that -at the time when I saw it- said it had been posted 19 hours ago, but was advertising what was ‘going to happen’ 27 hours ago.  That probably wasn’t the most effective way to get the word out.

Skepchick blogged about it, as did I, Jessica Ahlquist tweeted about it, and I know one person who drove over three hours on that notice alone.  It was the first time Zinnia Jones had ever spoken in a live venue before, and she may be the only speaker who made a promo video.  I should have done that too, because I reach a lot more people that way than I do on this blog.  So I may as well blame myself and take it as a lesson for next time.  I will personally promote whatever future events I intend to attend, and assume responsibility myself when the turnout is poor.

By the way, Skepticon 5 is this coming weekend, November 9th – 11th in Springfield Missouri.  It’s always a good event, and it’s free, but they run on donations, and they need some right now.  So try to help out if you can, and I’ll see you there.



11 thoughts on “I should have promoted this event better than I did

  1. Spent 4 years in Tallahassee. This is one of those places where there are no such thing as atheists. (Though that could’ve been my psycho Pentecostal, Faith-healing, Tongue-speaking ex-girlfriend brainwashing me.) Other than that, it’s actually one of my 2 favorite places in America.

  2. Never be shy about advertizing events that you attend. Everyone and their granny does it, and if you don’t nobody else will either. It’s not only for your benefit either. All the speakers at the events you visit benefits from the presence of your loyal audience. It’s a win win for all.

    I would really love to see one of your speeches live one day, but unfortunately there is a rather sizeable ocean between where i live and where you operate.

    If you ever where to visit a skeptics convention in Norway i would be certain to try to move mountains to be there tho.

    Keep up the good fight. It’s much apreciated even from over here.

  3. I wasn’t blaming you for the lack of promotion. Word just wasn’t out there so much for it in general. Truth is, it’s pretty slim pickings in Florida anyway. One of those states where you don’t always want people knowing you’re an atheist.

    You’re right about Hovind country too. Not that far of a drive, about 3 and a half hours from Tallahassee (no need to shake my hand a second time), you’ll come to Pensacola, where Kent Hovind’s little creationist place operated before his conviction for tax evasion and conspiracy to evade taxes. Turns out you can’t claim all your workers as missionaries and your house as a church, but you will have people show up to court saying you’re just being persecuted for your beliefs. There’s also Pensacola Christian College, Pensacola Christian Academy, and Pensacola Christian High (same time as the Hovind trial they also had a trial where one of the teachers from the high school was caught biblically knowing her student).

    Keep the Thor in Thursday, dude.

  4. And Amendments 6 and 8 failed! They both had about 44% of the vote, but it looks like there were plenty of people who knew where their towels were at.

  5. Well, the other issue is that you were speaking on the last day for early voting, and the lines for that were just slightly horrendous. I found one of the shorter ones and still took about two hours.

    Barring that, you’d have probably had better attendance. Yes, Tally is in a nosepicker kind of area, but you have two largeish universities, one an actual center for scientific research, and, a fairly decent sized community college, which is a significant chunk of the local population.

    In addition, the state government brings in a lot of folks from all over the state, so the true locals are not as much a majority of the population as you might think. I doubt you’d have *filled* tom brown, it is, as you probably noticed, a rather large park, but you’d have probably gotten better attendance.

  6. Even if half of the policy points that AronRa describes here are Republican positions, then, to the civilised values we hold in Britain, the situation in the US is utterly shocking. Americans really do seem to be living on the verge of an authoritarian, backward theocracy in which education and critical thinking is shunned. There is nothing like this barbaric medieval outlook anywhere in the most backward of Europe, you would have to go to the middle east to find such attitudes.

    This is all very very scary.

    1. Thank you very much for sharing this sentiment. Many Americans are so insular, and so deluded, they have no idea how the rest of the world really sees us.

  7. Very good written article. It will be supportive to anyone who usess it, as well as me. Keep doing what you are doing – looking forward to more posts.

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