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We’ve had a really interesting week here at Show Me Progress.

Most of the traffic spike has subsided. Near as we can tell, the main post, ancillary posts, and our site entry URL combined for a traffic spike of 35,000 unique hits. That’s the equivalent of three to five months (depending on the time of year) of normal traffic. We’ve had traffic spikes in the past, just nothing like this

Log scale of selected posts (including site entry URL) at Show Me Progress.

The Associated Press story (incidentally, it was good reporting and well written) included our basic blog URL as text in the body of the story, so when news outlets across the country ran it they included that information in their cut and paste. A lot of people made their way to us in this fashion.

At one point we were approaching 2000 hits an hour. And, at times, in our real time observation, we had peaks of over fifty hits a minute.

We’ve already written about how we came to the story:

…Perry Beam, a musician from Higginsville, attended the rodeo at the Missouri State Fair with his spouse and an exchange student. He posted his account on Facebook. Bob Yates saw it and posted Perry’s account and photo on Show Me Progress and the Great Orange Satan (Daily KOS – without a photo at first). At that point I noticed a small traffic spike on our site statistics, driven by Great Orange Satan traffic seeking the photo, noted that it was Bob’s post, then promoted it to the front page….

….Other people saw stuff all over social media and then we were off to the races. I was called by the Associated Press, KSHB (the Kansas City NBC affiliate) and contacted by the Kansas City Star…

If Bob Yates had known initially how to post a photo on the Great Orange Satan and not cross posted here with the photo it is quite probable that the story would have dropped like a rock in their queue with minimal notice.

Social media certainly played a part. And continues to do so.

Jason Rosenbaum ‏@jrosenbaum

This quip from ShowMeProgress’ @MBersin makes me chuckle: “Anyone interested in some posts on campaign finance?” [….] 5:33 PM – 12 Aug 13

There’s a darker part of the social media aspect of this. The comment thread at the original Kansas City Star story by Yael Abouhalkah was not a paragon of wholesome goodness. Perry Beam’s Facebook page had a few comments along those lines, too. St. Louis City Treasurer Tishaura O. Jones endured jaw dropping vitriol directed at her on her Twitter account.

We had a few trolls stupid enough to downrate frontpager comments (there’s a waiting period to post comments or diaries – our trolls have short attention spans, they couldn’t wait). Dudes, we have keys to the store. It’s our blog. Your garbage gets removed and you get banned for life – sort of like a rodeo clown.

And no, banning here is not a First Amendment issue. It’s our blog. The First Amendment allows you to post on your own blog- and maybe other people will read it, or not.

We also received a handful of emails at our group blog address. We usually get so little email that the system ends up waiting a while to aggregate enough to forward to us. We generally don’t feed the trolls, but Blue Girl sometimes likes to practice her verbal evisceration techniques. It’s a terrible thing to watch, yet you can’t avert your eyes – it’s sort of like watching a hunter on the ice club a baby harp seal.

So, if you send us a sub-literate email we’ll either ignore it or post it on the blog and publicly mock you. That depends on anyone’s mood and if it’s a slow news day. It is August, you know.

That this story was covered and had reach is a good thing. Bringing it out in the open will have the eventual and ironic effect of pushing those attitudes out of the world of acceptable discourse at public venues. In time, with no fresh public to consume them, those attitudes will whither away in the dark.

Tony Messenger, at the St. Louis Post Dispatch:

FOUL: Is Missouri really better than the rodeo clown? Evidence says no

…But the rodeo clown knew the crowd at the Missouri State Fair would cheer the potential for a bull to trample a black man named Obama. Better than this? No. This is Missouri.

In time.


At the Missouri State Fair last night (August 11, 2013)

Of state fair rodeo announcers and clowns: res ipsa loquitur (August 12, 2013)

You know you’ve struck a nerve… (August 12, 2013)

What happened in Sedalia didn’t stay in Sedalia (August 12, 2013)

We don’t get a lot of mail (August 13, 2013)

If heads rolling was a rodeo event… (August 13, 2013)

Seriously? (August 14, 2013)