by Max Brantley
It just happened to cross my mind this morning that the Arkansas Blog came to life three years ago, in January 2005. I wish I could tell you how many posts and comments have been published since then, but a change in blogging software in April 2006 makes a full count impossible.
I can tell you that since April 2006, we've posted more than 7,000 entries (more than 10 a day) on the Arkansas Blog, and hundreds more on community blogs and our Rock Candy and Eat Arkansas house blogs. This month, we topped 101,000 comments to the Arkansas Blog in 21 months, or almost 5,000 per month. We have about 1,500 people who've gone through the registration process so that their comments may be posted. Death by Inches, our reliable correspondent in "Fort Baptist," is the busiest commenter by far, with more than 3,000 since April 2006.
Registration remains a sticky subject. There's no doubt that it has reduced, if not wholly eliminated, the over-the-top vitriol that sometimes came with open posting. I've deleted fewer than 10 posts in the last two years for excessive bad taste. The registration probably has reduced dialogue somewhat, however.
We have many passive observers who don't register but drop by looking for enlightenment, or maybe car wrecks. Unique visitors to our website (all pages, not just the Arkansas Blog) run from 5,000 to 9,000 most weekdays, sometimes higher in the event of big news. When we broke the Frank Broyles retirement story, it brought nearly 20,000 unique visitors to our site in one day. The presidential season has brought a marked increase in daily page views.
For the future: I hope still for more audio and video. I vow to liven things up with more photography, but competition for my time from the print newspaper and other obligations often gets in the way.
I hope, still, for more news tips and more community-based reporting from our readership. Photos are also welcome. We've had some success at that on Eat Arkansas, but less here.
Body and spirit willing, we plan to keep on keeping on.
Oh, you say you have tips, news, photos, etc.? firstname.lastname@example.org