If you go to my Daily Kos user page you will discover
.. my user ID is 4334 (slinkerwink came immediately after me)
.. I joined on Dec. 19, 2003
.. with this diary I have now posted 3233 diaries (I did delete two)
.. I have, with the automatic tip jar posted 53334 comments
I first glanced at Daily Kos on Saturday, November 29. I had gone to New Hampshire to volunteer for Howard Dean, and in the local headquarters where I was based recognized the name of someone from the Dean blog that I had not seen there for a while. When I asked why he told me the Dean blog was so old, he now posted on Daily Koss (as he pronounced it). I looked at it then, a few times over the next few weeks, and finally, ten years ago today, officially joined. I did not actually get around to posting my first diary until sometime in January, but that is a story for a different time.
I was not here pre-Scoop, but I have been here a long time.
Daily Kos has helped to shape who I am.
So please indulge me as I share some memories and offer some observations.
I am not going to burden you with links to specific diaries. There are some of which I am quite proud - and that often has little to do with how heavily recommended they are.
When I first began writing here, I was, quite frankly, not that good a writer.
But someone who was, and who had been a professional editor, saw something in my work and sent me an email (remember - we used to have the option of listing publicly our email) encouraging me to keep at it. I have been grateful ever since to Mr. Tim Lange, aka Meteor Blades, and have tried to pass it on by encouraging some people who offer insight in comments on my threads to consider reposting those as independent diaries.
I'd like to think that over time my writing has improved.
Certainly I am grateful for the support of this community.
At the first Yearly Kos in Las Vegas in 2006, I was not prepared for how strongly people reacted to me when they found out that I was person behind the moniker teacherken. It was gratifying, but also a bit humbling, even intimidating. I am basically a shy person, more than a little insecure, and I am afraid that people who did not understand that misinterpreted my reaction.
I had by then already been to several gatherings in DC of fellow denizens of this site. I would continue to look for occasions for face to face meetings. I remember one in DC held in honor of Cedwyn, who had attended college here (American U?) and was visiting. There were around 50 of us present, including several of the then front pagers - DHinMI, Trapper John, and BarbMD (aka Barbara Morrill). I have also had the experience of having a get-together organized by sidnora in honor of my wife Leaves on the Current and myself in New York City, on the Lower East Side. She told us there was going to be a surprise guest - I was pretty sure who it would be, and I was right - brooklyn weaver, who had attended college with my wife and whom we had not seen in more than a decade.
I came to know and appreciate others by attending their panels at various YearlyKos / Netroots Nation get-togethers. When our finances were too tight for me to be able to afford to attend in Minneapolis, this community helped vote me into a DFA scholarship, and one member used his bonus air miles to pay for my plane flight.
And certainly, the generosity of this community in the Quilt for my wife when she was first being treated for cancer, and the many good wishes then and as I have continued to report on her progress have been very gratifying.
My writing here has led to other opportunities for me. It led to guest blogging at the New York Times, at CNN.Com and at Education Week Teacher. Because I reviewed one of his books here, Aaron Barlow, in his capacity of Faculty Editor, the magazine of AAUP, invited me to write piece that appeared on the website of the publication in February of 2013. When it was crossposted by Valerie Strauss at the Washington Post, it went viral - I lost track of the Likes on Facebook at 140K, I have received over 400 direct communications, including 3 in the past two weeks.
My writing here got me a slot on a British TV program about American politics in the election of 2012. It has connected me with Members of Congress, candidates, campaign managers.
I have through Daily Kos gotten to know a lot of others interested in issues about which I am concerned, certainly education and teaching, but also human rights, the environment, medical and dental treatment, etc.
I remain a shy person.
When at times I feel somewhat down, it is not the rereading of what i have written that most reminds me that I have done some good things - it is the comments on the threads, sometimes offering much more insight than I could have imagined when i wrote my diaries.
I appreciate the Recommends and am honored to have seen a couple of rare treats. I remember the first time, years ago, when I had both the #1 and #2 slots on the list - DHinMI emailed me to take a screen shot. I have also been honored several times that somehow three of the things I have written have simultaneously been raised up.
I have written millions of words here. Some are highly personal. Others are observational, or analytical.
Through my participation here I have been broadened by the interchanges with others.
Like my teaching, I can never be sure what the impact of what i write will be. Sometimes I only understand the value of what I have done when others tell me, just as sometimes I do not know how I have helped a student until perhaps s/he emails me when about to graduate from college, some 6 years after being my student.
I am honored to participate here.
I am humbled - even awed - by the respect this community has chosen to give so much of what I have written.
Ten years is a long time.
I do not know how much longer blogs will serve a function.
I do know that at long as that is, assuming I am still breathing, I will still be posting.
If that annoys you, too bad.
If you disagree with what I write, then educate all of us with your insight. I have learned a great deal from others who have pushed back against what I have written, for which I am also grateful.