TalkLeft Turns Five Today: Anatomy of a Blog

It's our 5th blogiversary today. (Yes, as Skippy would say, we coined that phrase.) I'm really amazed. I had no idea when I sat at the computer one weekend in June, 2002 to create TalkLeft that I'd still be doing this five years later. There's no turning back now.

Thanks to all of you who read TalkLeft. You've made the time investment so worthwhile.

A little TalkLeft history for those who are interested, below the fold:

  • January, 2006, our Man in Hollywood, CL, who wishes to remain anyonymous, begins making exclusive graphics for TalkLeft.

Along the way, I got to cover the 2004 Democratic Convention in Boston and the Republican convention in New York; live-blog the Scooter Libby trial in Washington, DC; meet great people and make great friends in the blogosphere and the policy world.

The most exciting day I've had as a blogger: when Bill Clinton brings a bunch of us into New York for a get-together with him at his Harlem office.

As of today, TalkLeft has had more than 18 million visitors and 35 million page views. The average length of each visit to TalkLeft is over 3 minutes.

Thanks to every one of you who have read a page, posted a comment, given me a news tip, linked to TalkLeft, donated dollars (and two laptops and a scanner) and befriended me. You've made it all worthwhile.

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    CONGRATULATIONS! (5.00 / 2) (#2)
    by johntully on Fri Jun 15, 2007 at 02:50:34 AM EST
    I'm so proud of you even though we haven't met yet. You and Marcy and Jane and the rest of your posse have changed the Political Dialog and as a true patriot I thank you so very much for all the time that you put in.
    Scooter Libby will be muttering about "those women" for the rest of his disgraced life.


    Open letter to you all (5.00 / 1) (#16)
    by Aaron on Fri Jun 15, 2007 at 11:27:16 AM EST
    Thanks Jeralyn and T Chris, Last Night in Little Rock, Big Tent D. and all the other writers who contribute to TalkLeft, and thanks to the IT people who keep it all working smoothly.  Special thanks as well to all the people who take the time out of their lives to add their questions, opinions, ideas and information in the comments section.  All of you have helped to revive what was once a dying art, the genuine dialogue and discourse of the written word.  It's a medium that the telephone seem to rendered rather superfluous and cumbersome when it was invented, and people largely stopped writing letters to each other.  The Internet and the blogging world has almost single-handedly resurrected the realm of text communications. What was old and archaic for a time, is new again, for a new generation.  That in itself is a worthwhile accomplishment.

    I think that anyone who engages in the blogging world and actually takes the time to carefully read what people have written, gains an insight which perhaps can't be gained anywhere else. Or if it can, it takes a great deal more reading and research.  Speaking as a layperson, I appreciate being given a window into the attorney's perspective on the questions of the day.  It's the kind of perspective that we who do not move in this world seldom see.

    Having been immersed in the blogging world since 2003, let me just say that this is one of the best blogs around, with a nice balance of legal, political, criminal and entertainment issues making it accessible to most everyone.  If you've read TalkLeft long enough, you're almost sure to find a number of topics which will spark your interest on a regular basis.

    On a personal note let me say, I know I've given you guys plenty of sh-t over the years, and I thank the blog moderators for their patients, tolerance and for indulging me even when I have engaged in what some might describe as rude or even criminal behavior, what can I say I've always been bad, bad to the bone. :-)

    But if you been paying attention you'll know that it's just because I feel passionately about things and I don't have any problem expressing that passion with my words, in the hopes of conveying the depth of my feeling.  I'm not shy about this, or ashamed of provoking people into doing the same.  Provocation is one of my specialties, and I often see the need to maintain an adversarial stance otherwise people spend too much time being polite, fearful of offending anyone. But just so you know, it's not personal and I'm almost always writing with a smile on my face.  I apologize if my sense of humor is lost on some of you, I chalk that up as a failure on my part as a writer.  It's all just part of my unique communication style, which on occasion engenders anger and laughter, admiration and disdain, sometimes within the space of same paragraph. So don't hate me because I'm beautiful and ugly, I'm certainly have no qualms about showing all aspects of my personality.  Or maybe I'm just an abusive SOB, you be the judge, I accept the sentence of the court, with no plans for appeal.  :-)

    So thanks everybody for your contributions, happy birthday to TalkLeft, and keep on blogging people, because even if you only reach just one person, it makes a difference, I know it does.


    A. B. Brown

    Thank you Aaron (5.00 / 1) (#19)
    by Jeralyn on Fri Jun 15, 2007 at 11:56:52 AM EST
    for taking the time to write that.  You have made a great effort in recent months to keep your language and tone within the parameters I set for the site, and it is much appreciated.

    happy blogiversary (5.00 / 1) (#24)
    by skippybkroo on Fri Jun 15, 2007 at 03:11:52 PM EST
    talkleft is one of the best-written, more balanced and most interesting blogs in blogtopia and yes, i coined that phrase!

    the additions of the three co-bloggers has only helped make talkleft better.  and the ratio of facts to snark on talkleft approaches infinite proportions, something not found on most other blogs (including my own).

    i want to thank on a personal level for your support of my blog from the beginning, and on a macro level for maintaining the level of discussion amongst blogs to an adult, erudite and reasoned level.

    happy 5 years, and here's to 5 years more!

    Happy Anniversary (5.00 / 1) (#32)
    by jimakaPPJ on Sun Jun 17, 2007 at 11:05:25 AM EST
    Been waiting a while, trying to think of something to say that was better than my usual blather..

    I'll just say it has been an interesting and informative four years.

    When I started blogging I discovered that many on the Right would normally delete my comments because of my social positions and so would many on the Left because of my war position. I suspect nothing has changed, although I almost never comment outside TL.

    As for the blogs, I think they reflect the country. A huge rift that will take years to close.

    To those on the Right who have come and gone, sorry to see you leave. To those on the Left, I enjoy you very much, so stick around.

    So thanks, good luck and may God's grace be with you.

    congrats jeralyn, and the entire (none / 0) (#1)
    by cpinva on Fri Jun 15, 2007 at 02:25:27 AM EST
    TL "gang o' posters"! i don't always agree, but it's always been a learning experience for me.

    what more could i ask for?

    I didnt realize (none / 0) (#3)
    by roger on Fri Jun 15, 2007 at 08:38:56 AM EST
    That I was there so early! It's been great!

    Congrats Jeralyn, (none / 0) (#4)
    by andgarden on Fri Jun 15, 2007 at 08:47:38 AM EST
    You've got a nice little operation over here.

    Congrats (none / 0) (#5)
    by rdandrea on Fri Jun 15, 2007 at 08:51:35 AM EST
    I am starting to get a feel for how difficult it is.  Mine is only a year and a half old, but writing every day sometimes seems like an albatross around my neck.

    Your blog is a real resource.  I'm looking forward to the next five.

    Congratulations! (none / 0) (#6)
    by Jen M on Fri Jun 15, 2007 at 09:06:51 AM EST
    Happy Blogiversary!

    Thank you for all your hard work in bringing us this place we can come to read, comment and argue. :)

    good luck (none / 0) (#7)
    by msobel on Fri Jun 15, 2007 at 09:23:47 AM EST
    A glick ahf dir!

    Happy Blogiversary!! (none / 0) (#8)
    by jrod on Fri Jun 15, 2007 at 09:34:52 AM EST
    I have enjoyed the views and insights presented on Talk Left. Keep up the good work and I hope to be able to say "Happy Blogiversary" for your tenth!!

    Wow. Congratulations!! (none / 0) (#9)
    by Edger on Fri Jun 15, 2007 at 09:44:11 AM EST
    This baby is sure to turn into something!

    Once again... (none / 0) (#10)
    by desertswine on Fri Jun 15, 2007 at 09:48:52 AM EST
    Time do fly. Congratulations!

    Time flies.... (none / 0) (#11)
    by kdog on Fri Jun 15, 2007 at 10:11:16 AM EST
    when you're having fun thinking.

    Thanks to the hostess with the mostest, the contributors and all my fellow knucklehead commenters.  I've learned a lot, yet am more confused than ever.

    It will all become clear just as soon as (none / 0) (#14)
    by oculus on Fri Jun 15, 2007 at 11:22:55 AM EST
    we finally decipher that Reid comment.  

    ...and many more (none / 0) (#12)
    by roy on Fri Jun 15, 2007 at 10:32:32 AM EST
    Congratulations on a job well done.

    Stopped by (none / 0) (#13)
    by Che's Lounge on Fri Jun 15, 2007 at 10:52:03 AM EST
    to wish you continued success. I was here as "TK" almost at the inception.  I still lurk for legal backup and occaisionally comment on articles, but cannot tolerate your continued acceptance of donations from an embedded, repetitious troll just for your (and supposedly your readers') entertainment.

    they are not here for entertainment (5.00 / 1) (#18)
    by Jeralyn on Fri Jun 15, 2007 at 11:55:40 AM EST
    but because they have been loyal readers of the site since the beginning. All points of view are welcome here. Personal attacks and insults are not.

    I have no problem with input from those outside the choir.  

    Don't forget, there are some issues on which I don't share the traditional liberal view -- gun control for one, passing laws to increase criminal penalties for hate crimes is  another. Too much of the Libertarian in me. But, let's leave that for another today.


    Thanks, Jeralyn. Nice job. (none / 0) (#15)
    by oculus on Fri Jun 15, 2007 at 11:24:09 AM EST
    P.S.  I'm having trouble with thinking of Talk Left as a "single issue blog," but--that's a good thing.  

    Wonderful stuff, J. (none / 0) (#17)
    by sarcastic unnamed one on Fri Jun 15, 2007 at 11:39:22 AM EST
    Keep on keepin' on!

    Happy Fifth Blogiversary (none / 0) (#21)
    by squeaky on Fri Jun 15, 2007 at 02:29:16 PM EST
    TL is the best. What a great team!  

    Many, many, many more.....

    Only one thing missing..... (none / 0) (#22)
    by kdog on Fri Jun 15, 2007 at 02:32:15 PM EST
    Fred Dawes should be here.

    Where have you gone Fred?  Let us know you're alive will ya?

    Congratulations, TL! (none / 0) (#23)
    by scribe on Fri Jun 15, 2007 at 02:51:55 PM EST
    It's a real accomplishment to get a blog off the (virtual) ground and keep it going for more than a year, and (if statistics are to be believed) to get anyone to read a blog, let alone millions time and again.

    So, keep up the good work, and many more happy blogiversaries, too!

    PS:  I like the trolls.  They live under the bridge (they're not much to look at, so we keep 'em there) and make the most entertaining noises*.  And, if you poke 'em (right in the ideas) with a (pointed) stick (of logic or rationality), they make even funnier noises*.  Great fun!

    warmest regards

    * Like this - Over at Trentlott.com, well, someone didn't keep their registration current, I guess, so now it redirects to moveon.org.  Funny!

    *  Like this - claiming the Free Flow of Information (a federal reporters' privilege) would jeopardize national security.  No, it'll only jeopardize the retirement security of those government flunkies who would rather bury their wrongdoing.

    Truth will out - even when the government tries to bury it, it works its way to the surface.

    Congrats (none / 0) (#25)
    by Sumner on Fri Jun 15, 2007 at 05:52:19 PM EST
    It seems fitting that TL shares a June 15th origin with the Magna Carta, upon which this day in the year 1215, King John of England, put his seal to.

    Congratulations! (none / 0) (#26)
    by JHFarr on Fri Jun 15, 2007 at 06:06:37 PM EST
    This is one of only five blogs I read now. You're performing a valuable service and making a great contribution to sanity and decency.

    There's really nothing left to defend vis-a-vis America or any other nation-state, however. I expect something entirely new will take their place, and I have the strongest intuition that this will not be a bad thing. Stay loose, and best wishes from northern New Mexico.

    (BTW,  I've been away from the Internet for almost a week. Jumping back in solidly supports the thesis of the above paragraph, IMHO.)

    Your on my short list... (none / 0) (#27)
    by FaulknA on Fri Jun 15, 2007 at 11:13:19 PM EST
    ...of blogs that I read every day. Thank you for 5 years of great work.

    TL shares June 15th with Magna Carta (none / 0) (#28)
    by Sumner on Sat Jun 16, 2007 at 02:10:44 PM EST
    cf. Magna Carta

    Happy Blogiversary! (none / 0) (#29)
    by Sailor on Sat Jun 16, 2007 at 02:24:04 PM EST
    I really enjoyed the capsule history. One can always learn something new here, sometimes it's what to do, sometimes it's what not to do;-)

    Jeralyn will always have a soft spot in my heart for her support when my co-blogger had a soft spot in her head.

    Good luck... (none / 0) (#30)
    by Aaron on Sat Jun 16, 2007 at 10:24:40 PM EST
    ...and feel better Sailor.

    A community. (none / 0) (#31)
    by Gabriel Malor on Sat Jun 16, 2007 at 11:05:52 PM EST
    Happy Blogiversary, Jeralyn (a few days late). You've got a great thing going here. I've enjoyed your posts and many of the posts of the other main-page authors.

    More than that I've enjoyed the community that has developed here among the commenters. It was already firmly established when I started reading back in winter 2006, but they take all comers, thanks in no small part to your comment policies and firm hand. I know it takes some effort to police our occasional excesses and I thank you for it.

    Thank you also for the headaches associated with the switch to Scoop. The new digs have been awesome for commenters and have only added to the sense of community around here. We benefit because of your hard work.

    After tomorrow, I will be out of the country and away from regular internet access for four weeks. I'm going to miss my daily doses from you and the commenters here. But I know that ths community of people--most of whom I don't actually know as anything except pseudonyms--will be here sharing and analysing the issues of the day when I get back. What will happen while I'm gone? What issue will be consuming our attention when I get back? I don't know, but I do know I can't wait to see what you and the gang here think about it.