Throwback Thursday: The Birth of @WhySharksMatter

Today we celebrate the 30th birthday of David Shiffman, but the entity known as WhySharksMatter was born on an entirely different day. On January 26, 2009, David officially joined Southern Fried Science and assumed the handle that would soon become the most prolific shark conservation activist online. Here, for posterity, is the original chatlog where we discussed his future handle.

David: I’m still working on a clever handle name

me: you don’t have to have one
it just makes thinks more fun
and gives you a little anonymity

David: It would definitely be helpful
I could also go with the title of the book I’m writing and what will be the name of the nonprofit I create to go along with it… It’s not too snappy as a handle, though. “WhySharksMatter”

me: i like that a lot actually

David: Ok
I can do that

me: or just Sharks Matter

David: Ok
Sharks Matter
Not really southern
But otherwise I like it

me: it says it all
i said southern in the broadest possible way
and sharks are found in only two places on earth
the northern and southern hemisphere

David: Fair enough
Just “Sharks Matter” then?

me: if you like it

David: I do, and it is related to my other work
But it isn’t really a noun like “Scientist” is

me: what about Shark Matters?

David: Still not really a noun and less related to my earlier work
The Shark Shall Rise Again?
conservationist and southern

me: may not want to invoke that particular brand of the south

David: Ok

me: hmmm

David: Something about palmettos?

me: maybe
it’ll be something that as soon as you hear it you’ll know


  1. David Shiffman · August 28, 2014

    I still sometimes regret not going with “Grits White Shark”

  2. Alex Bea · August 28, 2014

    How did Sharkleston not win? I immediately think of Carlton Banks for some reason–that’s a plus.

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