2013 was a big — no, a HUGE — year for Eclectablog. Although we had more visitors in 2012 thanks to the presidential election, we experienced tremendous growth in 2013. In May, we brought on the extraordinarily gifted writer Amy Lynn Smith. Her coverage of health care issues and women’s issues has been stellar and she’s brought a new voice to the team that we were lacking.
In October, Michigan 2013-2014 Teacher of the Year Gary Abud, Jr. joined our team, too. His perspectives on education and education policy are invaluable and I’m thrilled that we’re able to give him a wider platform so that his ideas can be seen by more people than would otherwise.
2013 saw us continue to receive more national recognition. Our work was referenced on the Rachel Maddow Show, we were added to the Daily Kos blogroll, and I appeared on Sam Seder’s Majority Report radio show as well as on Aljazeera English TV. This past month, AFSCME flew me to Washington, D.C. to talk to their national commnications team members about working with bloggers along with Joe Mismas from Ohio’s Plunderbund blog. In addition, Anne and I have been invited to speak at numerous County Democratic Party meetings where we talk about the blog, show a slideshow of Anne’s images, and discuss the Michigan politics, in general.
Here are some Eclectablog stats from 2013:
- 1,323,341 pageviews
- 778,129 unique visitors (almost exactly two-thirds of which were new visitors)
- 90.1% of our 1,112,100 visits were from the United States of America, 2.9% from Canada, and 2.0% from the UK.
- Most of our visitors used the Chrome browser (299,454) or Safari (239,008)
- Most of you viewed the site on desktop computers (655,215), followed by mobile devices (340,353 – almost two-thirds of which were iPhones), and then tablets (116,537)
- Most of you are on Windows (477,021) followed by iOS mobile devices (318,581), and Macs (156,108). We’ve even had people visit from Nintendo Wii and Playstation 3 consoles!
- Most popular cities: New York (35,812), Ann Arbor (28,217 a lot of which are probably me), Detroit (24,084), and Chicago (22,597)
The Top Five search terms that brought folks to Eclectablog were:
- Michelle Obama
- Hogweed in Michigan
- America’s worst charities
Early in the year we considered changing the name of the blog because of the frequent confusion with “Electablog”, a site which redirects to another site and probably enjoys some extra traffic thanks to people typing in the wrong name. I have approached the owner of Electablog.com and offered to buy it from him but he has never returned my emails. However, over the past year, there has been a dramatic reduction in the number of people making the mistake suggesting that our brand is becoming more recognizable. That, coupled with the fact that we simply couldn’t come up with a name that made us happy, led us to keep the Eclectablog name and we’re now pretty happy with that decision. One thing that’s helped out is that if you type “Electablog” into Google, you now get this:
All told, there were 911 Eclectablog posts (including this one) in 2013. Our Top Ten posts were these:
- Starving Michigan schools: Capital City Lansing schools eliminate ALL art, music and phys. ed. teachers – 35,364 pageviews
- Michigan about to require women to buy “rape insurance” based on petition signed by 4.2% of voters – 25,311 pageviews
- Until we restore Glass-Steagall, more big bank bailouts are inevitable (by LOLGOP) – 23,219 pageviews
- Snyder admits making Michigan a Right to Work state was never about creating jobs – 23,012 pageviews
- Fox “reporter” has new rear excretory orifice installed by Obama State Department – 19,225 pageviews
- Michigan Attorney General Schuette: Marriage is for regulating sexual relationships to make babies – 18,830 pageviews
- The carried interest loophole for millionaire traders is the perfect example of the tax breaks the GOP is risking recession to protect (by LOLGOP) – 17,726 pageviews
- Now Michigan’s Republicans want forced transvaginal ultrasounds (by LOLGOP) – 17,544 pageviews
- INTERVIEW: Teacher of the Year used by StudentsFirst & Mackinac Center to promote teacher pay bill he doesn’t support – 15,418 pageviews
- 2 new studies prove conservative policies are destroying the middle class (by LOLGOP) – 14,481 pageviews
Of these, my personal favorite is my interview with Gary Abud, Jr. That post was a serious blow to the propaganda machine of the Mackinac Center for Public Policy, a Koch brothers-funded corporatist front group that has the destruction of labor unions, the privatization of public services, and the dismantling of our public education system as its top priorities. That post generated a lot of blowback for them, blowback that was sorely needed.
One post that didn’t get nearly the attention it should have in my opinion was my interview with State Representative Ellen Cogen-Lipton where we talked extensively about her efforts to bring some sanitizing sunlight onto the performance — or lack thereof — of the state-run Education Achievement Authority. There was some essential information in that post that every Michigander needs to hear.
I’m also particularly proud of the other interviews we posted over the year, many of which featured Anne’s remarkable photographs:
- Former Michigan Democratic Party Chair Mark Brewer
- Michigan Democratic Party Chair Lon Johnson
- Former Vermont Governor Howard Dean
- Journalist Lee Fang
- Equality Michigan Managing Director Emily Dievendorf
- Detroit activist and leader Rev. David Alexander Bullock
- Arbor Brewing Company’s Matt and Rene Greff
- Comedienne Lizz Winstead
- Candidate for Congress (MI-07) Pam Byrnes
- Michigan Association of Justice executive board member and attorney Dan O’Neil
- Move to Amend activist David Cobb
- Democratic candidate for governor Mark Schauer
- Democratic candidate for U.S. Senate Gary Peters
- Gordon Soderberg from the Veterans Green Bus
- Flint Mayor Dayne Walling (and HERE)
- April DeBoer and Jayne Rowse who are challenging Michigan’s discriminatory same-sex marriage ban
Our top commenter was “judyms9” who left 168 very insightful comments on Eclectablog posts. She was followed by “kirke123” with 152 comments, Eclectablogger Amy Lynn Smith with 92 comments, my good friend “TeacherPattiS” with 45 comments, and another good friend “la58” with 40 comments.
With your help, we raised enough money that all of the writers on Eclectablog were paid. It’s not as much as I would like to pay them and definitely not as much as they deserve. However, given that most sites don’t pay their writers anything, I’m feeling good about this and see it as a blow against the Huffington Post’s exploitative model of generating lots of revenue based on the free content provided to them by others.
In addition to paying the writers, we also spent some of the money to hire the inestimable DonkeyHotey to do some carcicatures of Rick Snyder for us. Using photos taken by Eclectablog photographer (and my soul mate) Anne Savage, he put together some terrific pieces for us like this one:
This year, we also ran our first radio spot thanks to the generosity of (former?) radio show host Tony Trupiano. You can listen to it here:
Speaking of Tony Trupiano, his Night Shift radio show became a new outlet for the voices of this blog. All four writers “appeared” on his show at some point or another. Jason became a regular, alternating weeks with me on the Blog Role segment, and Amy started doing occasional segments as well, as did Gary Abud. All four of us have recorded podcasts since his radio show has been off the air, the most recent of which was LOLGOP’s this morning:
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Eclectabloggers have received some significant national recognition outside of the blog, too. Our webhost and occasional contributor Charles Gaba has been tracking the number of people gaining coverage under the Affordable Care Act at ACASignups.net. His work which goes far beyond anything being done by members of the traditional media has been referenced by the Washington Post, Forbes magazine, Daily Kos, and, this morning, by Senior White House Advisor Phil Schiliro on MSNBC, among others.
At the Netroots Nation conference in San Jose, I was privileged to be asked to announce Detroit as the location for the 2014 event:
Finally, Anne’s photography has gotten national attention as well. An interview with her was featured in the first edition of the American Journalism Review’s newly-launched web-only publication in a piece titled “Anne Savage: ‘Visual Journalists Are As Important As Ever’”. Anne’s photos from Rand Paul’s opening of a Michigan Republican Party campaign office in Detroit were used by Amanda Terkel for a Huffington Post piece and were featured in a segment on The Rachel Maddow Show.
Anne’s photography has become so well-known and respected that the Michigan Democratic Party has hired her and you can see her photos featured regularly on their Facebook page. Even more of her photos are available on her website, Anne Savage Photography.
To finish up, here are a selection of Anne’s finest photos from 2013. Most of them appeared on Eclectablog but some of them never made into a post and are being seen here for the first time.
Thank you all so much for your support in 2013. We’re looking forward to a rocking 2014 where we’ll be on the front lines of helping Democrats regain the Governor and Lt. Governor offices, the Secretary of State and Attorney General’s offices, and, of course, the state legislature.
If you’d like to help us with our efforts, please consider making a donation today: