Balloon Juice at 20
John Cole's blog is older than dirt.
I don’t spend nearly as much time as I once did reading other blogs, so missed the news that John Cole’s Balloon Juice had its 20th anniversary a week ago, which it celebrated with a weeklong series of posts and remembrances.
My initial thought upon seeing the news was that can’t possibly be right! How in the hell can any blog be that old? But, alas, OTB turns 19 at the end of this month. Time marches on. Which led to my second thought–which was apparently Tim F‘s first, “Jesus Christ I’m old.” (I have that thought a lot. I feel a lot better at 56 than I would have guessed 20 years ago but I can do math.)
As John observes,
[I]t’s been, to borrow an overused phrase, a long strange trip. And twenty years is a long long time in the digital world. We’re like the blog equivalent of Goldie Hawn and Kurt Russell’s Hollywood marriage. We’re a 21 year old dog and a 32 year old cat.
WaterGirl reports that John and the gang have generated some 70,000 blog posts and 6.5 million comments. That’s a lot, even compared to OTB.
Blogging hit its peak somewhere in the middle of the decade of the oughts, call it 2005-6, and has been in steady decline as an enterprise since. (Dan Drezner details some of the reasons in a conversation with Dan Nexon and Robert Farley as part of the Oral History of the Blogosphere series at the Lawyers, Guns, and Money podcast.) That they’ve managed to keep it going at such a rate is impressive.
Balloon Juice has been particularly interesting in that it went from a harder-right-than-me solo blog to a fairly hard-left group blog in fairly short order. John was more Republican than me in the early days but got more disgusted with them much faster. His stable of contributors has evolved over the years but it’s definitely more eclectic than ours in terms of breadth of opinions.
They have collected some of their favorite posts, the first posts of all the authors, and some other goodies in commemoration of the occasion. Congratulations to them for keeping the flag flying for so long.