2023 Year in Review

Hi there readers! It's nearly the end of another year, crazy to think about isn't it? I always get this weird sense of time dilation towards the new year. On one hand, the previous year feels like it could've been my whole life. It's been long enough that I'm probably never going to even think about 80% of it ever again. But on the other hand, I can picture myself at this desk about a year ago writing the 2022 wrap up like it was yesterday. Something about the end of the year is just so memorable to me. 
Anyway, you're not here to hear me rant about time, you're here for a recap of all the zooey things that happened in 2023! This year was a year of growth. We're in our zoosexual early spring. Blossoms are starting to bloom, the temperature is starting to get warmer. There's still absolutely a bit of that winter chill in the air, but it's clear that summer days are on their way. Here's the thing. We didn't, in this last year, suddenly convince the entire world that zoos are awesome. But these years are really important in building up the foundation to get there. Every step we take is a step closer to our goal, and even though that goal feels far away now, so long as we don't stop moving it's only going to get closer.
That's not to say that nothing interesting happened though! There are some notable standouts this year that I wanted to mention. Some of them are good, some bad. But to start off with, let's be a little braggadocious and talk about ourselves! 
This was a great year for Zooey Dot Pub. At time of writing, this is going to be our 160th article! That's a whole lot of reading! We also have had over 40 unique writers for the magazine at this point. My goal with this was always to make it less of a blog for me and a few friends, and more of a community soap box, where anyone with ideas could come and present them to the community. I'm happy to say that it feels more and more like we're getting to that place. There's still a lot of articles signed by Tarro or Alissa, but we've been having a lot of people tell us that they want to write a piece or two over the holidays as well, so hopefully with the start of the new year you're going to get to see even more fresh faces! There's a lot of other fun number crunching to do with the magazine, but this isn't about that, it's about the community as a whole. So if you're interested in learning what our best articles this year were, or how long the magazine would be if you put every article back to back, keep an eye out for our anniversary article in the summer! 
We're not done talking about ourselves quite yet though! There's also the Zooey Dot Pub Discord server! In this year we officially passed the 1000 member mark! That's a whole lot of zoos! At time of writing, we're currently at 1227 members, which puts us a whole three members behind ZooFursUnity sitting at 1230. By the time that you're reading this, we might officially be the largest zoo group out there. Or at least that I've heard of! Thank you all so much for all of your support! This year was the year that I finally stopped being terrified that we were going to just be nuked off the platform. We applied for partner status when we hit 1000 knowing that they were going to say no. The important part is that they were forced to acknowledge us. They saw a (safe for work) zoosexual server up and running and said "We're not going to put you on a pedestal or anything, but do your thing I guess!" And that meant a lot. I can't tell you what a lungful of air that was. 
But enough about us! Our growth is far from the only growth that happened this year! Let's talk about other projects! First of all, Toggle got a vacation! For the first time in its many years of production, Zooier Than Thou went on a bit of a holiday. They still put out a new episode every month, but they were a lot more relaxed. But, they came back strong with season 5, which is currently ongoing. They aren't the only podcast in town though! Zoo & Me has officially been around for a full year as well! Keeping a project alive is so hard. You might think it's as easy as just turning on the mics, talking for an hour, and then hitting publish, but even for a show that's so proud of being low effort there's still way more that happens behind the scenes than you could ever imagine. So hats off to Brass and Akito for coming together every week! 
This year was also the launch of two other projects. We've yet to see anything from our first one, but I'm incredibly excited to sometime next year. It's Zeta Unleashed! Our very first zooey game development studio! Creating anything in the scope of video games is extremely complicated. Modeling, programming, writing, designing. There's a million steps to every small thing. But, the teams over there are hard at work looking to design up some awesome zooey touches to a game that you might already love. I should mention as well, if you like video game design, definitely check them out! They're always looking for more help! 
There was also another writing project, To Thine Own Self Be Zoo. Releasing in monthly installments, the zoo writer Eggshell Ghosthearth has been serving up amazing literature of all kinds. Poems, short stories, random zooey ephemera. Not all of it is entirely PG-13, but it's certainly worth taking a look at if you're a reader. There's also a whole ass text adventure game that she made about shapeshifting into various forms in order to solve a mystery kind of! It's very charming, very quirky, very fun. It even has some puzzles that as far as I'm aware have only been solved by two people, so if you're looking to get your name in the annals of history, check it out! 
Anyway, let's talk about Twitter. Or are we calling it X now? I think I'm just going to stick to the former until it's weird. I'm holding out hope for a miracle at this point, but what can I say, I'm an optimist! We had a few notable things happen this year, but to start off with WOW are zoo accounts starting to get large. The current front runner for biggest zoo account goes to Vex at 8750 followers! Wow that's a lot! Shout out to them! That said, they're far from the only big account. This year saw a ton of people pass the 5000 mark, and even a few more getting over 7500. By this time next year, assuming that Twitter doesn't decide to un-free speech us all, we're going to have quite a few accounts over 10k. Which is crazy to think about! I feel like when I joined if you had two thousand you were huge, and now we're going to be 5x that! 
I do want to give a special shoutout to one person on Twitter however, and that's Jdonk. He doesn't necessarily post a ton of zoo community content, but you sure as hell can't say that he's not a zoo account. If you're not familiar, don't look him up unless you're over the age of 18. That said, in a conversation about followers he NEEDS to be brought up. He's certainly over the 10k mark. In fact, he's over the 40k mark! There sure are a lot of people out there that like pictures of horses from underneath, that's all I'm saying.
But that's all old blood, let's talk about some new zoos that exploded onto the scene this year! There's a new zoo account made every minute, so I can't get to everyone, but there are a few people that I wanted to highlight. First, of course, is the wonderful @Zoeyzetadog. Teeechnically she's been around on another account for longer than a year, but the current one was made January 2023 so I say it counts! She's a hilarious person with some amazing tweets and blends in a lot of positivity as well. It's been awesome seeing her grow. There's also Kracc! She joined the community in June of this year, and it already feels like she's been around forever. From starting Zeta Unleashed, to becoming a mod in ZDPD, to just in general being very cool to be around, I'm so so so happy that she found her way to our community. And, last but not least is 
@fillthymutt. They only found their way to the Twitter scene as of October, but they've been a delight to see around. They've really tried to position themselves as a data collector. From polls to just learning about people's experiences, to a lot of adjacent scientific understanding. I'm very excited to see what they do in the future. 
Unfortunately, not everything was all good. One thing that we felt was worth mentioning is that e621 started banning zoos, even if they were being zooey off platform. Which is hilarious considering that they also have both feral and bestiality tags that you can search for, and people posting content there are totally fine. It shows the level of absolute hypocrisy that exists amongst the furry fandom, where they love to get off to it, but they don't want to try and think about it past that point. That said, it also goes to show that they're scared. That they feel like our message is getting so loud that they have to try and limit it in whatever way they can. Not to mention the fact that there are still plenty of zoos that use their site every day. 
In the legal world, the only country to really talk much about zoos this year was Spain. For a while there, it seemed as though they were legalizing bestiality full stop, but in reality it was a little bit more complicated than that. To sum up a very complicated piece of legislature in a language that I do not speak, essentially bestiality was already legal in Spain, but due to a policy change that made that position clear it was re-brought up in the media, and Spain began looking into criminalizing it for real. That axe hasn't come down yet, and maybe it never will, so for now enjoy your legal animal sex all you Spaniards and we'll keep our fingers crossed for tomorrow.
Last but not least, I want to talk about something special to me. And that's furry conventions. This year featured two conventions that had fairly large and fairly open zoo meets. The one at Eurofurence had somewhere around 25 people, and the one at MFF even more. It wasn't anything official, it wasn't like we we tweeting room numbers or running a panel. But it was amazing to see that we can find others like ourselves, and with some time and trust even get together and be open. The experience that I had at Eurofurence was as close to magic as I've felt, and it's something I both hope and expect to continue to grow in the upcoming years. I hope you all get to experience it as well.
And that's it! That's our 2023 year in review. I hope that on a personal level it was a good one for you. It certainly was for me! Zooey Dot Pub is taking our annual holiday break for the next two weeks (December 23/24 and 30/31), so we'll be back January 6th with more articles from awesome zoos all around the community. And hey, if you're sitting around sipping your apple cider this holiday season wishing you had more to do, consider writing an article yourself! This magazine is a platform to publish your ideas, all you need to do is write them down! 
From all of us here at Zooey Dot Pub, we wish you a happy holidays, and we'll see you in 2024! 
Article written by Tarro (December 2023)
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