By Chris Warren
Three years ago when I started seriously kicking around the idea of starting my own blog, one of my early concepts was to address political topics. I think I have pretty good insight and jumping into the political bar fight seemed like a good direction for me to go.
After much thought I decided not to become part of that growing political bar fight. It wasn’t lost on me that there were already countless other blogs, on line forums, websites, podcasts, cable TV channels, and radio stations feeding the political monster. I didn’t see what I could contribute that was different and fresh and not already being done by others. The world does not need another partisan screamer.
I instead decided to do something that (unfortunately) isn’t already commonplace: Thoughtful, positive, and relevant commentary that anyone could relate to about everyday people and topics. Although political issues and controversy are not off limits, they would be only an occasional diversion, and even then treated lightly.
My venture has been a modest success. I try not to get too hung up on web site traffic metrics, but let’s be honest: I don’t do this just to hear myself talk. Twenty First Summer gets enough page views to verify that I’m onto something, but not so much that I’m tempted to get puffed up about it. There is clearly a demand for level headed commentary and discussion.
It’s a comfortable, familiar room where anyone can stop in and know they’ll leave better than they came.
More important than quantifiable statistics is what the readers think and feel. It’s very difficult to tell what kind of an impact a blog makes beyond site traffic data. For every comment left on an article or email sent through my contact page, there are hundreds of anonymous page views where no feedback is left. Maybe they liked it, maybe they didn’t. But people are listening, and that’s what matters.
From Day One the goal of Twenty First Summer was to be an internet version of an old time neighborhood bar where the vibe was friendly and everyone got along even if they didn’t always agree. I’m never 100% sure how well that goal is being met, but anecdotally I can tell the bar is busy and everyone’s having a great time.
The other day I received an unexpected message from longtime regular reader “Mark in Illinois.” He said, (and I’m paraphrasing here) “Chris, I want to thank you so much for your blog. All I ever hear is about how Donald Trump sucks, or Donald Trump is great. Or Hillary sucks, or Hillary is great. I’m sick of being beaten to death with this political shit on line and TV and everywhere. I know when I go to your blog it will always be something that makes me feel good. I never have to brace myself before I click on Twenty First Summer.”
His trust and kind words were, to say the least, deeply flattering. They also affirm everything I’ve been trying to do. My internet neighborhood bar is not just a place to tip a virtual glass. It’s a comfortable, familiar room where anyone can stop in and know they’ll leave better than they came.
So the message this week is a simple but very sincere thank you to all the readers who share my Thoughtful, Positive, Relevant vision.
At Twenty First Summer, it’s always happy hour. I invite everyone to subscribe via email using the form in the upper right corner of this page (non mobile version) and you’ll be automatically notified when new articles are posted. There is also a TFS Facebook page, and Twitter @twentyfirstsum. And please, invite your friends and spread the word in your own social media circles! Some of you already have, and I’m sooooo blessed and grateful!
As the world gets more dangerous and the political acrimony goes into a full rolling boil, I’ll be here quietly tending my internet bar because I do not believe that the world totally sucks. I thank everyone for their help in proving that I am right.