SayAnythingBlog.com Turns Nine Years Old
It’s a little hard for me to believe it, but today marks the 9 year anniversary for this blog. It was nine years ago today that, with news of the war in Iraq playing in the background, I decided to stop just reading blogs like Instapundit and others and start one of my own. It was nine years ago today that, while going through the Blogger.com registration process, I put “Anything” in the field for the title of the blog because I couldn’t think of anything better (it eventually because Say Anything).
I was 23 years old at the time, and feeling like I needed an outlet for some of the political thoughts and opinions I was developing. I also felt like I wanted to write, but I didn’t want to just send an occasional letter to the editor, so I thought a blog might fit the bill where my audience would probably be no more than my mom, my girlfriend at the time (now, I’m happy to say, my wife) and the occasional random internet passer-by.
For the first few years it was pretty much just me sending posts into the void. I remember the first moment when I thought this could be something bigger than that. I had sent an email to NDGOP executive director Jason Stverak asking if there might be a corner at the party’s 2006 state convention (which was being held in my hometown of Minot that year) for a blogger to set up and observe. Stverak responded saying he would get me media credentials.
I was taken aback. I was…media? Later I learned that Stverak and others in the state had already been reading the blog and considered it important. I was floored at the idea that this hobby, that this outlet that I’d never considered to be more than just a comfort to myself, could be something larger. From that point on I began to take things a bit more seriously.
Traffic began to rise. Ad revenue from the blog started to become something more than a pittance – just enough to pay hosting expenses (I didn’t stay with Blogger for long) – and I began to think that this could be a substantial source of income. I began to put a lot of hours in. I would work at my day job, then come home and work all evening on the blog writing posts late at night and setting them to appear the next day so that it would appear as though there were live updates during the day even as I spent my time elsewhere. Today this blog, which started as nothing more than a running digest of my thoughts and opinions, is my full-time job.
There have been some amazing moments – I remember my phone blowing up with calls and text messages when Rush Limbaugh references one of my posts – and some low points. One of the hardest lessons I’ve learned from blogging is that putting your thoughts out into the public invites a lot of backlash. Five years ago I was banished from the Turtle Mountain Indian Reservation for writing a column critical of the social and economic conditions there. Along with the banishment I got death threats. People tried to find out where I lived and worked. It was scary, for both myself and my family, but it was also awe-inspiring that something I wrote could evoke such a strong response.
Today I like to think that Say Anything has become a media outlet unto itself. We break original news stories here. We provide unique perspective on current events. Some working in the traditional media in the state hate this blog. I see that posted on social media all the time, even as they link to posts here. “I hate this guy, but this post is interesting.” It makes me laugh.
What is written here matters. What is written here makes a difference. And I built it. It is one of the proudest achievements of my life, but I would be remiss if I didn’t thank all of you readers and commenters who make Say Anything what it is. This blog would not be the success that it is without you. I’ve learned about as much from my interaction with the SAB audience, through comments and emails and the like, as I’ve informed that same audience. That’s one of the best things about blogging. It is a two-way communication. I like to think that I’ve made a difference with all of you, but you have all definitely made a difference with me.
I get asked often why I tolerate all the commenters who come on here and rail against me and what I write. I tell people that they keep me on my toes. I know that if I make a mistake, my critics will find it and lambaste me about it. I think I’m better at what I do because of that.
Blogging is mainstream now. Once upon a time the “mainstream media” mocked bloggers for being pajama-clad basement dwellers (I write this, fittingly, while sitting in my basement in my pajamas), but now everyone has a blog. The importance of the medium has become self-evident. Some have said that in the age of Twitter and Facebook that there is no need for blogging, but I disagree. Social media are great for disseminating information, but for producing original content they’re not that great. Blogging still serves the niche of the self-publisher, and that’s not going to change any time soon.
And I’m not resting on my laurels either. I have big things planned for SAB down the road. In the mean time stay tuned, and know that I’m thankful for each and every one of you (even those of you who never seem to have anything nice to say to me) who come here and read.Tags: North Dakota News