To everyone who posts or has posted in our comment sections: Thank you. I appreciate your visits, your reading, and your participation. You have entertained me, informed me, and helped establish that sanity, particularly on the political side of things, still exists in this world.
Now I’m asking more.
It has been nearly a year since TNB launched, and during that time we have, in my mind, established ourselves fairly well. We have been able to maintain a fairly rigorous schedule and we have an unusually sharp group of posters who like to join in with our stories.
We have had some problems. For the most part, the views of the writers here tend to mesh and some people have walked away when they found their opinions weren’t being represented. One of our founders, Lenny, left to focus his energies on creating a different sort of site. We had the great cookie blackout and the discussion forums have gone down. Overall, however, everything has run fairly smoothly.
We’ve also had, since the beginning, participation from others. A few of our regular contributors started as readers and stepped in to help. Halodoc is the most obvious with her daily pieces, but there’s also TheStig, Thomas, Annie, Don, Gretchen and many more. MsMaryLou, my wife, writes for us on weekends and occasionally in other time slots, for which I am thankful – I met her while arguing politics online, so this is an extension of our daily private discussions. Shadowman was our first guest writer, and he’s provided another editorial recently. Everyone from Lyin’ Don through August West that I didn’t mention directly? I didn’t forget them, and I do thank them as well, but I’m moving toward my point…
Over the course of this almost-year, we’ve developed into a community and that community is growing. Every week, there are one or two new faces who pop in to comment. Some of them then disappear and some remain. I am convinced that there are yet more people who read through but do not comment. The reasons for that likely vary; some feel they don’t have anything to contribute. Some feel that they would get “piled on” by the comment section participants for having differing viewpoints. Some are likely overwhelmed by the relative information levels on display.
I want the community to grow more. We don’t have a national talk radio figure to drive traffic to our site, though; nor do we have a billionaire – or even millionaire – staking us with thousands to purchase an ad blitz. We rely primarily on posts to social media and word-of-mouth.
There was a television show, Mystery Science Theater 3000, which recognized the value of word-of-mouth in the early days of dedicated cable channels. At the end of each episode a message would appear: “Keep circulating the tapes!” This was a request to their fans, who were generating interest in the show by videotaping the broadcasts and then giving the tapes to friends. Their fan base slowly but exponentially increased and it remains fairly large to this day.
That’s what we’re trying to do, and one of the reasons why we try to present news reports and opinion pieces, humor and non-news articles: so that there is always something available for people to share with others. If people read those articles and then peruse the rest of the site, maybe bookmarking it for return? That’s another person who we may be able to someday reach, even if they are firmly against us at the moment because of political team or because they run away from all political discussions.
I’m not asking you to repost everything we produce. Especially for those people who have fractious family situations, that could cause problems. What I am asking is that when you see a post which you think others might find interesting, pass it along… even if it’s just to one person.
The way that activists have power is when they can influence others. It’s a reason why we encourage people to contribute articles, and it’s a reason why we’re writing. Getting information and opinions to others is the only way we’re ever going to grow – not grow as a website, but grow away from the thoughtless, reflexive hate that we are seeing nationally.
Keep Circulating The Posts!