The Clinton Library fifth anniversary events remind me that the Arkansas Blog is just a few days older. We got started in October 2004 (I can't pin down the precise date) and Warwick Sabin and I were up and running for library opening events. The blog busily tracked celebrity sightings during that rainy week.
The Blog shifted to a new website operating system in April 2006. Since then, we've posted more than 15,000 items of news, opinion and silliness. We've had 208,000 or so comments from readers. Crash Davis, congratulations. You were one of the first commenters on our new system in 2006 and I see you're still holding our feet to the fire as of yesterday.
Readership has grown through word-of-'net. Our Google-based counting system puts the number of unique visitors in the 130,000 range monthly, though it sometimes spikes much higher when stories get passed along. The West Fork pledge protestor jumped web numbers by tens of thousands, for example. Urchin says we've had 218,000 unique visitors to our website through the first 16 days of November. Facebook and Twitter accounts for the blog also seem to have increased readership. There was a huge amount of linkage from those sites yesterday to a certain bit of local political talk.
We have some improvements in mind, but mindful of Gov. Mike Beebe's exhortation not to overpromise I'll keep quiet on specifics until I'm sure we can roll them out.
Thanks to all, the pros and the cons. Each one is a unique visitor. Contributions of news tips, interesting e-mail, photos, suggestions and criticism continue to be welcome.