WordPressers Making a Splash


We read hundreds of blogs and websites every day, from up-and-coming voices and established pros alike. We love visiting those sites on WordPress.com, but it’s just as rewarding to see other platforms embrace the work of writers, journalists, and artists who regularly publish here, introducing it to new audiences.

Here’s a selection of WordPress.com bloggers who recently made a splash.

A mathematician at work

Terry Tao is a veteran blogger, publishing prolifically on his site since 2007. He also happens to be a Fields Medal recipient and one of the leading mathematicians working today. The New York Times Magazine just ran a fascinating profile of Tao and his work by Gareth Cook. Cook follows Tao around the UCLA campus as he explains his most important contributions to the field.

Even those who experience great success through their college years may turn out not to have what it takes. The ancient art of mathematics, Tao has discovered, does not reward speed so much as patience, cunning and, perhaps most surprising of all, the sort of gift for collaboration and improvisation that characterizes the best jazz musicians.

Tao has earned a reputation for being a gregarious, generous colleague — and the piece is studded with testimonies of his collaborative spirit (including a cameo appearance by Izabella Laba, a fellow mathematician and WordPress.com blogger).

Highbrow laughs

The Toast, a humor site with a literary, feminist bent (and a self-hosted WordPress site to boot) has been one of the web’s favorite destinations for satire and witty writing since its inception. And just in the past few weeks, two WordPress.com bloggers had pieces in the site’s lineup.

Author Lauren James, a young adult writer with a physics and chemistry background, recently wrote The Hogwarts Houses of the Periodic Elements: A Critical Analysis,” a post as full of unrepentant geeky fun as its title suggests. And last month, linguist, internet language specialist, and blogger Gretchen McCulloch published her most recent essay, “A Linguist Explains How We Write Sarcasm on the Internet” (essential reading for all bloggers, naturally).

Via Gretchen McCulloch's essay at The Toast, a proposed early-20th-century "irony mark."

Via Gretchen McCulloch’s essay at The Toast, a proposed early-20th-century “irony mark.”

You should visit Gretchen’s earlier contributions to The Toast, as well as her frequent articles at Mental Floss.

Beyond hot takes

Bloggers share writing in a variety of genres and tones on their sites, from short, impassioned reaction pieces to probing longreads. The same versatility is easy to discern in the pieces we highlight here.

Tressie McMillan Cottom, a sociologist and blogger renowned for her powerful prose, recently reviewed Ta-Nehisi Coates’ Between the World and Me, one of the season’s most talked-about titles, at the Atlantic.

My mother once told me that black progress meant fighting for your children to never know you. Coates knows his son’s body is vulnerable but he worries first here about his son forgetting.  He is afraid of losing his son to the “new black” of multiculturalism that absorbs blackness and spits out beige history, beige politics and beige faiths.

“On Manliness and Joan Didion,” a thought-provoking blog post by writer and teacher Frank Strong, patiently explores the murky boundaries of gender in Didion’s writing voice, as well as in discussions of her work. Frank’s essay was picked up last month by The Millions, a prestigious online literary magazine.

Lastly, just this past weekend Rebecca Schuman, who blogs frequently at pan kisses kafka, scored a viral hit with her Slate column, “I Am Terrified of Taking My Child Literally Anywhere.” It’s a raucous, absorbing piece on parents, misbehaving kids, and the people who mistreat the latter — and especially on our dangerous tendency to react to these stories online with unnecessarily extreme rhetoric. It’s a great read for anyone who ever sat behind a crying baby on a flight (or for anyone who was ever the parent of such a baby).

Was your blog just featured in the media? Has a recent post generated a healthy dose of buzz? We’d love to know about it — share your story with us in a comment.

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