January 14, 2008

This blog is 4 years old today.

And this is the 10,792nd post. I have posted every single day these past 4 years, averaging over 7 posts a day. It started like this, on January 14, 2004:
This blog is called Marginalia, because I'm writing from Madison, Wisconsin, and Marginalia is a fictionalized name for Madison that I thought up a long time ago when I seriously believed I would write a fictionalized account of my life in Madison, Wisconsin. There is nothing terribly marginal about Madison, really, but I do like writing in the margins of books, something I once caused a librarian to gasp by saying. Writing in a blog is both less and more permanent than writing in the margin of a book.
But the blog didn't stay named Marginalia. I changed the name to Althouse on day 2. Despite the name change, I really did see myself as writing marginalia that maybe somebody would run across one day on some dusty back page of the internet.

I remember when I started blogging, my across the hall colleague Gordon Smith told me his blog had about 60 readers a day, and I wondered how one could accumulate 60 readers. How I would love to have 60 readers! He told me of another law blogger who had 400 readers, and that seemed amazing. How do you get even 1 person to show up in the first place and read, and then how would you get them to come back and read every day?

I didn't know, but I loved the writing and found it truly intrinsically rewarding from that first post. Just the idea that people — anywhere — could read it was thrilling. To be here, now, 4 years later, still writing — with readers — is an immense joy.

Thanks to everyone for stopping by.

66 comments:

Ron said...

Any regrets? Anything you would have done differently than you did?

If you go back and read the older posts, do you feel a lot of change in yourself as a writer?

Happy 4th!

Middle Class Guy said...

Congrats. Break out the wine. Hope you keep writing for years to come.

Positroll said...

Happy birthday ...

rhhardin said...

I write on the fly leaves, not the margins ; except for little ``['' marks where I left off each day.

Fly leaf comments serve as an index later.

goesh said...

Congrats Ms. Ann and the 11.8 million 'hits' - wow!

althouse too said...

Thank you for the forum. By the way, do you ever sleep?

George said...

I have particularly enjoyed your reportage on the rebuilding of the dome of the Wisconsin state capitol due to that natural gas explosion.

Keep up the good work.

You are upholding the highest and best traditions of American journalism.

Simon said...

Congratulations - and a terrific four years it has been. Thanks for all of it. :)

. said...

what exactly is a dusty back page of the internet.
?
it sounds poetic, but what the hell is it supposed to mean?
...and what's up with that ugly blue picture?

AJ Lynch said...

Marginalia? Ann next time -get an agent and let the agent choose the title :).

Thanks for all you do - I am glad I found your blog.

Ann Althouse said...

I know, "marginalia"... just reminds people of "genitalia."

Synova said...

Congratulations, Ann.

Well done.

Middle Class Guy said...

And matriculate and masticate remind one of...

MadisonMan said...

studying and eating?

Wurly said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Kit Pollard said...

Congratulations, Ann!

I've never commented, but have been reading almost since the beginning - this is one of the few blogs I've stuck with over such a long time.

And I always enjoy. Thanks!

Der Hahn said...

Congrats!

Theo Boehm said...

Like Kit Pollard, I've also read this blog since almost the beginning.

Thank you for an extraordinary effort. This is truly one of the most fascinating and intelligent blogs around, and a perennial must-read. Congratulations on your blogiversary!

Ann Althouse said...

I got my first readers when Gordon Smith linked to me. Things took off when Instapundit linked to "Kerry's wrong about DNA and the death penalty." That was the first post that I wrote that I thought deserved that kind of attention, and I sent Glenn an email, which is something I've done only a handful of times in these 4 years. After that, Glenn started linking to me regularly, every few days if not every day. That attention gets other attention, but Instapundit links have been the main source of big traffic, though I still get close to 10,000 of daily readers who don't need pointing this way (I think!).

Cedarford said...

Congratulations, Ann!

Your blog is great because your tastes are so varied in subject and you are unafraid to throw in lowbrow cultural topics amidst your interesting take and legal perspective on more demanding topics.
You add silly little contests that are fun, the occasional social get-together with your fans, and use your national rep and exposure from all the links and the NYTimes gig to access some good blogosphere meetings and sessions with leaders and wannabe leaders.

Everyday for 4 straight years is an achievement. Glad you have such passion for one of your hobbies...and I will add one of the nicest elements of your Blog is your photography and the real talent you you show in arrangement and selection and times of whimsy in conjecturing what the photos mean about you, the subject, what mood they evoke.

Quite fun. A blog of excellence I recommend to friends as a near-daily must-read.

4 More Years! 4 More Years!!

peter hoh said...

Congratulations are in order.

I wish I could remember what brought me here in the first place. I know it was before June of 2005.

Ann, when did you first guest for Instapundit? That might have been how I found your blog.

Trooper York said...

Congratulations on being 4 years old today. When I was 4 years old I was still throwing up my oatmeal and peeing in my pants...what...That happened this weekend...well never mind. Congratulations again and keep the posts coming.

Ricardo said...

By looking at life (and the law) through the eyes of an artist, you enhance the experience for all of us. This is a delightful blog!

Ger said...

Happy birthday or anniversary or whateva!!

While I don't usually agree with your opinions I almost always find my visits to your site to be worth my time. I do, however, totally enjoy your photography - you have a good eye!

I hope you find the interest and energy to continue on with your blog for many years to come.

mcg said...

Congratulations!

Simon said...

Re sources of readers, to echo Peter's comment, I actually have no idea how I found my way here, but I'm pretty sure it was sometime in 2005, before becoming a regular fixture in 2006.

Trooper York said...

There was a girl who used to hang out in the Last Exit on Atlantic Avenue who was obsessed with trivialities. I mean she really concerned herself with insignificant meaningless details. So the guys at the bar loved to taunt her with crazy factoids that would send her into frenzy. I guess we were stimulating her marginalia

TexasPatrick said...

Yep, came from insta-p, stayed for the coffee . . . and pictures, and interesting observations. Thanks!

Bumsurf said...

Your blog and your fans help start my day. Thanks!

Roger said...

Congratulations on your success, Ann. My wife keeps asking me why I read blogs. It simple--its like writing a letter to the editor, and the editor writes back!

nina said...

Is there ever a day when you did "just" one post? I don't think so. You're tireless, you really are. Which is a good thing. Congratulations!

reader_iam said...

Congrats, Ann.

The first post of yours that I read was this one--and, yes, it was via an Instapundit link (on March 10, 9:10 p.m.).

It was the reference to T.S. Eliot that got me.

Blake said...

57 & 4... Any significance to that combination of numbers?

It's definitely the variety. Both in topic and commenters.

The variety and the style.

And, of course, the hostess.

Jennifer said...

I'm almost positive that I found you when you were guestblogging on InstaPundit, which is odd because I don't read InstaPundit. Like ever... But, I think Megan McArdle was also guestblogging and I followed her to Instapundit and then you back here. That would have been 2004 or 2005. Wow.

Thanks!

Ann Althouse said...

Nina: "Is there ever a day when you did "just" one post? I don't think so. You're tireless, you really are. Which is a good thing. Congratulations!"

This is my most minimal day, in its entirety:

Saturday, August 07, 2004
Now I'm never going to Iqaluit.
I'm having none of it until they rehire Polar Penny! (Via Metafilter.) Here's the blog.


The first post on the following day explains my absence, and funnily enough, your name comes up.

Ann Althouse said...

It's great to hear from

1. people who are commenting for the first time

2. people who've been reading since nearly the beginning

3. people who remember how they first found their way here

reader_iam said...

So I blame Instapundit for my presence here, but as for my commenting: that's all Ann's fault, for, after receiving some e-mails of reaction back in summer 2005, pointing out that I could get a Blogger ID without having to start a blog. And so I did and posted my first comment on Sept. 5. My second comment, also on that thread, is still one of my all-time favorites of its type. And see what Ann wrote right after that one?

See, all her fault: unleashed the beast, she did.

(LMAO: And right after THAT one you can see me go all rueful for the very first time over my tendency to commit typos. Jeez. Some things NEVER change.)

Trooper York said...

Even then her interest in marginalia revolved around breasts.

John Stodder said...

It was your guest-hosting of Instapundit that brought you to my attention. His previous links to you were written in cryptic Glenn-code (who knew "HEH" could be such a meaningful clue to the cosmos?) so I wasn't moved to make the leap. Your posts on his site were so...flavorful, that I got intrigued.

But what made me start checking in almost every day was
this post from almost exactly two years ago, ranting about biopics:

Why can't we just see actual footage of Ray Charles? It's disconcerting to imitate his mannerisms. Since there's plenty of film of the man, why not make a documentary? Is this acting stunt worth doing? I seriously do not understand why they make so many biopics, especially of people there's plenty of film of, especially when they are singers and we've got innumerable filmed recordings of their concert performances.

Is it because the actor can show us the actual consumption of drugs and alcohol, and we can drag in an actress for him to have big, loud fights with? Those awful domestic disputes! I'm never interested in seeing a man and a woman just yelling at each other about their relationship! I think Elizabeth Taylor and Richard Burton are interesting in "Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf," but, after that, I really don't need any more. Husband and wife squabbles! Why not just live in an apartment building with thin walls?


How could you not fall in love with that?

LonelyDonutMan said...

O! That I could'st but grovel at her feet
her hand with pat my head to meet
but Nay! her viewing elite Woe! deny'th me my treat
LDM

Meade said...

Congratulations, Ms. Althouse!

My path: September 11 - article in the NYTs by Andrew Sullivan - Sullivan's blog - InstaPundit - Althouse - everywhere.

Hoosier Daddy said...

Congrats. I might have to toast with a beer tonight.

An Edjamikated Redneck said...

My path here was kind of convoluted- I read a Lexis blurb about a law blog called Opinionistas, who lead me to a blogger called Drunklaw, who lead me to another law school blogger, whose moniker I can’t recall, (or the last two could be reversed; it was a couple of years ago and all three of them have since ceased blogging) who was a student of Ms. Althouse. One day he mentioned an Althouse post and I started reading. I have missed a few days since; that was December ‘05/February ’06.

Ruth Anne Adams said...

I knew you before the blog [Federal Jurisdictions, Spring semester 1987], but found your blog through Glenn Reynolds' link. And thank you for leading me to, among others: Reader, Victoria, Amba, Meade, Simon, RLC and Sippican. I am blessed seven-fold.

Trooper York said...

Grusinskaya: Oh, Baron. You have returned. Do you know that this is my anniversary? It has been four years since I first began composing messages and placing them in bottles to float down the Danube.
Baron Felix von Geigern: I know my dear. I will never forget your first missive. You spoke about your breasts and how tender they were in the morning and included a saucy woodcut of a squirrel and rat in coitus. It was quite stimulating. Ever since that fateful day, I have waited for your correspondence to float its way to me.
Grusinskaya: But Baron that is not the gist of my meaning. I converse about myriad issues. I am an artist. A dancer. A photographer. Look at my tintype of the windows of Duke Leopold’s castle. Look what you can see in the reflection in the glass. Can you see me in the glass? My breasts were very swollen that day. You can see my nipples protruding from my shift. And look at the squirrel perched on my shoulder. Tee hee.
Baron Felix von Geigern: Why you saucy minx. Why must you torment me so? Why must you be so coy? This flirtatious banter is only meant to elicit a frenzied response from your many correspondents. I know this must be so.
Grusinskaya: Sadly those who write to me are lonely shut-ins and social misanthropes. Most of them are either preening fops or argumentative lightweights who are more concerned with fighting with each other instead of worshiping me. The fools.
Baron Felix von Geigern: Well I will worship you my little dumpling. Come let me show my family crest. I had it tattooed in a most intimate place. Right next to the staff of my office. So to speak.
Grusinskaya: Please Baron, you are so forward. I am a lady of refined sensibility. To be so rudely accosted on this my anniversary is enough to make me weep.
Baron Felix von Geigern: Lesbian.
(Grand Hotel, 1932)

Blake said...

I've seen Grand Hotel seventeen times and I've don't recall that dialogue....

VietPundit said...

Congrats, Prof Althouse! Thanks for this great blog; it's been a real pleasure (and very educational) to read this blog. " I have posted every single day these past 4 years ". Wow! Is that a record? Are you the Carl Ripken of blogging? (Oops, sorry for the sports metaphor (or is it simile?). I know that's a cardinal sin in the Alt-house, but can't think of any other comparison.) Have there been days when you did not want to post (or simply just had no time for it), but then posted something just to keep the streak going? (Not that there's anything wrong with that ...)

Pogo said...

Congrats, Ann.

One day I opened a door, and there you were, or rather, there was the Althouse blog. A constant reader thereafter, for the commentary and art and singular vision, and for the ever-shifting cast of characters.

This is a blogiversity.

reader_iam said...

Ruth Anne's gracious post (thanks) reminds I should have noted the people I originally "met" through this blog whom I no doubt would not have run across otherwise. I'd be afraid of missing anyone, so I won't list them; but I realize that there are at least 10 with whom I've communicated offblog via e-mail or chat, and four whom I've had the privilege of speaking via telephone at least once.

Thanks for that, too, Ann!

ZPS said...

I don't remember how, but I first came here because you had posted a vlog on American Idol.

You were watching it on tivo with a glass of wine and said something along the lines of "Well, they're all bad!"...in regards to the contestants. I thought that you were funny and charming and sophisticated. But I didn't read your blog or know what you were all about until later...

My T.A. at UC Irvine linked to one of your Sopranos posts (not the onion ring one...an earlier one about the Yeats episode, maybe?) because he thought your were brilliant or something.

So as it turns out, I was originally drawn to your blog for the pop culture and fun...not the Hillary! and law posts. Then, when you announced your move to Brooklyn (about a month after I moved to Brooklyn from California) I became a daily, dedicated reader.

I think your success is a testament to the fact that personality and diversity of content is imperative to a good blog. You're clever and attractive, and I'm drawn to you probably because gay guys like a sassy female with brains...but I think the main reason I come back is to see whether or not I'm going to agree with what you're writing.

In the end, I disagree with you about 50% of the time, and that is why I come back. I'd much rather read someone who is unpredictable than the same old left/right rhetoric.

Thanks!

-Zach

s1c said...

Thanks to everyone for stopping by.

Nope, thank you for being funny, outrageous, exasperating and so forth. By you not being dull you make every visit a new experience.

Eli Blake said...

Happy birthday!

I love coming here because it is possible to have an above-board discussion with people from the other side, without anybody getting really awful.

I get bored only hanging out with people who agree with me, and when I wander over the right side of the blogsphere I generally get banned for posting a dissenting viewpoint, or otherwise the discussion degenerates (including the time I was accused on a righty blog, in all seriousness, of practicing witchcraft and black magic.)

The first time I came here was about August or September of 2005 when I linked to a post here. But I'm not sure exactly when it was. It was during the Roberts nomination (pre-Harriet Miers) though.

The Drill SGT said...

Grats Ann,

I tried to figure out when I started posting here (and I lurked for a long time before posting). However after finding 1600 google hits for drill+sgt+althouse I have no idea when it was.

Likely it was a link from Glenn Reynolds in 2004 during the election but I can't pinpoint what or when.

again, congrats

Maxine Weiss said...

What Althouse won't tell anyone, is that she wants readers and commenters who are on her level.

One of her biggest regrets is that she can't cherry-pick who comes here, and that she hasn't managed to cultivate the exact type of community that shares her taste and worldview.

Simon said...

Ann, what do you think would most surprise the Ann Althouse who started this blog about what's happened either with or related to the Althouse blog in the last four years?

From Inwood said...

Prof A

I ignored your personal birthday, but gongrats on your blog's birthday.

Eli Blake said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Eli Blake said...

Maxine:

One of her biggest regrets is that she can't cherry-pick who comes here, and that she hasn't managed to cultivate the exact type of community that shares her taste and worldview.

That's not my perception of Ann at all. If she wanted a bunch of clones, that would be easy to accomplish. For starters, she could cherry pick who she wanted to comment on her blog, it's called 'registration required.' D'oh.

Beyond that, I'd venture to say that about 98% of what is out there in the way of political blogs are either full of people who do have the same worldview, of people who spend most of their time engaging in flame-wars with each other, taking their debating tips from Ann Coulter. I was honored not long ago to be asked to begin posting on Coldheartedtruth, which is a major promotion for me, but way down the totem pole overall. It's more typical of 'eclectic' blogs. There is rational debate, but more flaming than I would like.

It's far harder to maintain a community where people who disagree can discuss their differences rationally and still be in a mood at the end of the day to come back and do the same thing tomorrow.

My only regret about this blog is that I do miss Victoria. :(

Ruth Anne Adams said...

Eli Blake: Take heart. She's baaaaaaack. Pssst. Wish Victoria a happy blogiversary, too.

Ann Althouse said...

Simon: "Ann, what do you think would most surprise the Ann Althouse who started this blog about what's happened either with or related to the Althouse blog in the last four years?"

That MSM like the NYT and the WaPo would pick up and quote stray lines that I typed out casually in bed late at night or before dawn. (And, more generally, that anyone gives a damn.)

Maxine Weiss said...

SUCCESS:

A blogger who manages to hide the fact that she thinks she's smarter than her readers; one who thinks she's more clever than her readers.

Congratulations!

howzerdo said...

I first visited here in 2004 when you guest blogged on Instapundit - which, as Jennifer wrote, is surprising because I rarely read Instapundit. Aside from the great variety of posts, I appreciate that you have comments, that the threads are not too long, and that the comments are usually civil.

Blake said...

I don't recall when or how I started reading.

I do recall early on (May 7th, 2005), that I wrote to Althouse on the subject of a Dylan song. (And she wrote back!)

Ruth Anne Adams said...

Congratulations. You have more commenters in one post than you hoped to have as daily readers.

Simon said...

Ann Althouse said...
"That MSM like the NYT and the WaPo would pick up and quote stray lines that I typed out casually in bed late at night or before dawn."

Has that ever led you to think "dang, I'd have thought more carefully about that if I'd known it was going to be quoted in the MSM"?

"(And, more generally, that anyone gives a damn.)"

But of course we do. You do have a certain je ne sais quoi that grabs on by the lapels and compels one to give a damn.

Robert said...

Well done! I've barely been blogging at www.bobhayes.net for two months, and I'm so proud of myself for doing at least one post a day since January 1. Your achievement puts it in perspective!