The boy who knew too much: a child prodigy

This is the true story of scientific child prodigy, and former baby genius, Ainan Celeste Cawley, written by his father. It is the true story, too, of his gifted brothers and of all the Cawley family. I write also of child prodigy and genius in general: what it is, and how it is so often neglected in the modern world. As a society, we so often fail those we should most hope to see succeed: our gifted children and the gifted adults they become. Site Copyright: Valentine Cawley, 2006 +

Saturday, September 20, 2008

The second anniversary of Prodigy Blog.

I've done it. I have actually written my way to my second year of blogging. Yesterday, September 19th 2008, was the second year, to the day, since I began this blog.

At the end of the first year, I had had 33,095 visitors, who had read 105,687 pages (which consist of up to a week of the real number of pages is approximately seven times that number). I considered the first year a success given that, at that time, there were over 70 million blogs in the world and only about 700 million internet connections - so that, all being average, I would only have a maximum of 10 readers a day, assuming that people distribute their reading efforts equally and that everyone actually reads a blog every day (just one). I was rather more successful than that, averaging about 100 readers a day, after the initial start-up period.

At the end of the first year, I set myself a target for my future blogging success. It seemed, at that time, an ambitious but achievable one: I aimed to secure a total of 100,000 visitors to my site by the second anniversary of my blog. It makes me happy to write that I have met my target - in fact, I exceeded it (or should I say you, the reader, exceeded it by reading my blog). By the stroke before midnight on September 19th 2008, I had received 105,716 visitors to my blog, in total, since the day it began. That means I received 72,621 new visits in the period September 19th 2007 to the same day in 2008. Essentially, I doubled my daily visit average to about 200 per day.

My readers have been busy looking around the site and totted up 265,856 page views. Remember that a page is counting a whole week of entries. So, basically that means that around 1.8 million posts have been read around the world. Were that books, I would be a best selling author, so that puts that into perspective. New page views for the year stand at 160,169, indicating that over a million posts would have been read, in the year.

Those numbers are quite staggering, in a way, for they indicate the power of blogging to reach out, across the world, into people's minds. What other immediately accessible way is there, in the world, of enabling 1.8 million posts to be read by people in all nations of the world? None.

As it was in the first year, my readers have come from all over the world. What is noticeable this year, however, is that they - or should say you - have become much more geographically dispersed with the numbers outside of the main English speaking countries of the UK, USA, Ireland, Canada, Australia and Singapore increasing dramatically. It is odd to see that I even get people in the most far flung parts of the world searching for my blog using either my name, or that of my son, Ainan, in their search terms. This shows that word of mouth is spreading knowledge of the blog quite far afield. People know of us, before they search for us. This is a new development since, mainly in the first year, searches were for terms relating to giftedness and prodigiousness. The second year still had plenty of such searches - but there was a strong growth in more specific searches using names of the family. It is odd to think that people in countries I have never visited and may never visit, have actually heard of us, and my blog and are interested enough to search for it.

I write on giftedness and this is very much a niche interest. The people who tend to be interested are often gifted themselves, particularly the parents of gifted children, in search of answers, background, and support in their situation. Many interesting people have corresponded, through comment posts, over the two year period. I value their comments and personal tales of raising gifted children - and I am sure that my readers do, too, as they provide further tales of the gifted.

The growth of a blog is, I feel, a gradual thing. Word gradually spreads around the world and the accidental reader becomes, in time, a dedicated one. My second year was twice as successful as my first. It is my aim that my third year should be as successful as the first two years combined. This means that I hope to have as many visits in my third year, as the blog received in the first two years in total. That means that the total should be 211,432 visitors by the end of the third year. Now, that is a high aim for one reason: the number of random visitors from the search engines who are looking for giftedness is NOT going to increase. There is a typical background level of search in that area, some of which naturally comes to me, since my blog generally appears on page one of related search terms in Google. Unless the world suddenly becomes fascinated by all things gifted, that background level is not going to change much. What has to change, therefore, for me to reach my new target, is two things: the number of specific searchers who are searching for members of the Cawley family specifically - and the number of return visitors. Word of mouth will help the growth in the first area - and the second area is up to the level of richness of what I write. If I write so as to interest you, my readers, then many of you will return to read another day.

This analysis leads one to conclude that there is only one element really within the control of the blogger - and that is the blogging itself. A blogger must write, regularly, in an absorbing way, so that others who chance upon it may find it nourishing or interesting in some way. That is all. If people appreciate the writing, the blog will grow, over time, as my blog has done this past year.

I would like to thank you all for taking the time to read what I write. I would further like to thank those who actually took the time to write a comment post. Most of these comments have been rewarding to read and stimulating to receive. Commenters generally have wished to contribute in a positive way to the discussion on the matters I have raised. Some have shared personal details of their life situation, anonymously, in illustration of some point - and these comments are particularly valued since I know how hard it is to address such issues sometimes. Thank you for taking that effort.

Some of you have recommended my blog to others, by linking to it. I would particularly like to thank those who have done this since it helps spread word about the blog, and build a readership. A blog only really comes alive when there is an active, responsive readership out there - and I have that, now. Those who have linked to me, have greatly helped that growth in readership and it is much appreciated. If you, reading this, have a site, a link to my blog or any of its posts would be most welcome. If you find a post of interest or value, a link to it will ensure that others that you know will get the chance to benefit from it, too.

At the end of my second year, I am resolved to continue writing. Yet, I don't know what that writing will be. Blogging is a very spontaneous task. The blog of the day arises from my thoughts and concerns at the time and is utterly unpredictable as a result. I shall continue to write of giftedness, prodigy and related matters. I shall also write of matters relating to life in Singapore and education in general. Sometimes, I shall write of more general matters that catch my attention, for sometimes, something must be said that others might not say. That is the role of any social commentator: to be a voice to the voiceless - and, at times, I have been, and shall continue to be, that.

Some blogs have millions of visitors - or so I hear. They are always in very mainstream areas, though. I do not know how successful a blog about giftedness can become. The limit on its success is very much determined by how many people care about human excellence. In an ideal world, everyone would be concerned about excellence, but in our world, most people are more concerned about "good enough"...there is no striving to be or wish to be, great. This places an upper limit on the number of people who might seek out a blog on giftedness. Yet, that is not a terrible thing. I would rather be read by people who are interested, specifically, in giftedness, than not to be read at all.

Giftedness is not as widely understood as it should be. By definition, few experience the state personally - and so few can relate directly to it. Yet, I feel that it is important that more people understand giftedness, for gifted children can grow up to become vital contributors to their respective societies. If more people understood gifted people and their lives, perhaps the life journeys of the gifted might be made somewhat easier and more successful. I feel it is an important aim, to strive for: the understanding of the gifted. If you would like more people to understand about giftedness, please let them know about this blog, please link to it and spread the word. I will in turn share my experience and understanding of giftedness and related issues.

Thank you for reading. I hope you enjoy it, as much as I have enjoyed writing.

(If you would like to learn more of Ainan Celeste Cawley, a scientific child prodigy, aged eight years and seven months, or his gifted brothers, Fintan, five years exactly, and Tiarnan, twenty-eight months, please go to: I also write of gifted education, IQ, intelligence, the Irish, the Malays, Singapore, College, University, Chemistry, Science, genetics, left-handedness, precocity, child prodigy, child genius, baby genius, adult genius, savant, wunderkind, wonderkind, genio, гений ребенок prodigy, genie, μεγαλοφυία θαύμα παιδιών, bambino, kind.

We are the founders of Genghis Can, a copywriting, editing and proofreading agency, that handles all kinds of work, including technical and scientific material. If you need such services, or know someone who does, please go to: Thanks.)

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posted by Valentine Cawley @ 10:50 AM 


Blogger Shannon said...

I wish you continued success in your blogging. Happy Anniversary!

12:48 PM  
Blogger Miao said...

Keep on writing! I believe that your blog attracts so many readers because you write about so many different things in general with an astute eye - someone who may not be interested in giftedness would still choose to continue reading because he is interested in other things you write about.

I hope your blog will grow more and more successful, until one day your readership can finally rival the amount of attention Xiaxue gets. Our reading habits show a lot about the kind of persons we are.

1:34 PM  
Blogger Valentine Cawley said...

Thank you Shannon and Miao - and thanks for your comments over the past year. They have proven interesting and rewarding to receive.

Yes, Miao, I do write about many things and you are right that many might be interested in my subsidiary subjects, who might not be primarily interested in giftedness. I shall continue to be diverse in my writing and, therefore, thinking.

As for Xiaxue...I only wish that my more considered writing might find as many readers of her "S** and shopping" does. It is a pity that mine does not, presently - a pity for what it means people think is important.


2:10 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I like your blog but I would like to read more about Ainan and how he's doing in school.

3:28 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Congratulations for the success of your blog.

Do not forget also that many other blogs and foums like ours have indexed your blog to drive your traffic.

You are most welcome to post your articles in Singapore Kopitiam to make it more prominent:

4:12 AM  
Blogger Valentine Cawley said...


School is not where Ainan learns: home is and Singapore Polytechnic is. The Polytechnic is now out of term so there is nothing to report there.

For children like Ainan, I think school is not a particularly fruitful environment because lessons will always be pitched too low.

Best wishes

11:42 AM  
Blogger Valentine Cawley said...

Thank you, Delphi Forums, for linking to some of my articles. It is appreciated.

Best wishes on your new site location.

11:43 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

congratz n good luck!! :)
anyway,how's ainan left hand?

5:18 PM  
Blogger Valentine Cawley said...

Thanks. You are right, I should have posted about it: Ainan's cast is off and his arm is OK (with a little discomfort sometimes). Thank you for asking.

Best wishes.

7:23 PM  

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