It’s Valentines Day 2009. Six young men with Cambridge degrees and no dates decide to do something vaguely meaningful with their lives and launch what they hope to be a new voice in progressive political blogging. I didn’t really know quite what to expect when I signed up to it. Whilst I’ve always had a strong interest in journalism, my only experience of political blogging up until then was writing the occasional article for Socialist Unity. I have to admit that part of me felt the whole project would be a massive flop and that no one in their right mind would want to subject themselves to the daily tirades of a few lefties with an axe to grind against the world and nothing better to do with their time. But one year on and here we are.
The Third Estate has come a long way in the last year. Six writers have become nine and we’ve been inundated with some great guest submissions. Besides the daily news, reviews, comment and analysis, we’ve featured exclusive interviews with the likes of Tony Benn, Nick Clegg, Ken Livingstone, George Galloway, George Monbiot, Caroline Lucas, Nick Davies, Chris Atkins, Ted Honderich, Peter Tatchell and Mark Steel. In our first six months online, we debuted at no.47 in Total Politics magazine’s top 100 political blogs. We’ve been linked to by CNN and discussed by the BBC, whilst Charlier Brooker and Derren Brown have tweeted our posts. On the way, we helped expose the injustice done to a man wrongly held in Oakington detention centre and we played more than a minor role in breaking the Guardian-Trafigura gag. It was this that really taught me the power and potential of web-based journalism and political blogging.
Of course, none of it would have been worthwhile if it were not for our regular readers. We here at The Third Estate don’t really go in for statporn, but what with our birthday coming up and all, I think you can forgive us. In the last year, we’ve had 74,923 unique visitors. Of these, Google Analytics has taught me that close to 11,000 are regular readers (having visited the site more than ten times), and almost 3,000 have visited the site over 200 times! The graph below shows our monthly readership, with each unique visitor counted only once per month.
The graph shows a steady increase in visitors over the course of the year. After a modest start, our readership started to climb rapidly in the summer when we became a daily publication and the big exclusives started to come in. October was by far our most successful month, due in small part to a partnership we began with Press-Gr, one of the biggest news sites in Greece, to cover the Greek elections, and due in large part to smashing the Guardian-Trafigura gag which brought in 13,000 readers in one day alone. It’s fair to say we were never going to maintain that high, but after a brief Christmas lull we’re back to steady monthly growth.
So thank you to everyone who has stuck by us this past year. We are really very honoured that for whatever strange reason you choose to take a few minutes out of your day to read our latest prattling and add your two cents. From the beginning we always said we wanted to be more than just another lefty blog. For my part in this project, I’ve tended to see us as occupying a space somewhere between the blogosphere and ‘the media’. I like to think we have a broad and diverse readership and that we are not just preaching to the choir, as much as we love to hear the choir sing. So thank you to all our readers, however you found us. We look forward to bringing you more daily news, reviews and senseless rambling over the next year and maybe even the odd celebrity interview from time to time. Who’s next? That’s for you to guess, but my money’s on Peter Andre!
In any case, that’s quite enough of blowing our own trumpet for the next twelve months! I solemnly swear not to make another graph in the meantime. Until then…
Hasta la victoria siempre!