Note: The following message from Michelle about the acquisition of Twitchy is cross-posted at MichelleMalkin.com
On March 7, 2012, I launched Twitchy with great anticipation and excitement. Itâs hard to believe that a little more than a year ago, we were greeted with a great deal of befuddlement and amusement. Many observers couldnât figure out why Twitchy.com was needed, what exactly it did, and who our audience was. Fast-forward: âTwitchyâdâ has become a verb and every last media outlet â new and old â is elbowing its way into the Twitter curation/aggregation space.
As we noted on our first birthday this spring:
Twitter users publish something like half a billion tweets per day. Even if 99.999 percent of those tweets are unimportant or nonsense, that leaves 5,000 tweets per day that are potentially newsworthy, or at least noteworthy.
Our mission is to find those hidden nuggets and report on them to you, our readers.
Weâve been at it for a year as of today. Has our Twitter-based news-gathering model proven a success?
We believe our record speaks for itself:
We documented tweets and retweets by dozens of left-wing Hollywood cranks, including Cher, Alec Baldwin, Jim Carrey, Russell Crowe, Chris Rock, Jason Biggs, Samuel Jackson, Ellen Barkin, Eva Longoria, and Eliza Dushku.
We were among the first to uncover Twitter riot threats and vandalism by Obama supporters in the run-up to Election DayâŚ
We broke a story about Twitter death threats made against Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker â a story that led to an investigation by law-enforcement authorities.
We caught mainstream media outlets lying about the Newtown, Conn., so-called âhecklersâ and the health insurance situation of the former Navy SEAL who shot Osama bin Laden.
We were the first to report details about Aurora, Colo., shooting victim Jessica Ghawi, who was tweeting just before she was shot and was present at a separate mall shooting six weeks earlier.
Utilizing tweets, photos, and videos posted to Twitter, we were able to cover breaking news â from school shootings in the US to protests in Egypt to an NFLâs playerâs homicide-suicide â faster (and in some cases better) than MSM outlets.
MSM dinosaurs consider our methods irresponsible. They insist that âreal reportersâ must wait around for government officials to confirm facts that are already widely known to anyone using Twitter.
Sorry, MSM, we donât follow your rules. We have created a news model that allows people to read information that gatekeepers donât want them to know. Our motto is âwho said what.â Their motto is âwhich official source said what, and weâll let you know when weâre good and ready.â
âŚTwitchy couldnât be what it is without you: the community of readers, commenters, and tipsters who come to the site every day; the Twitter users who retweet our posts; the Facebook users who âlikeâ and âshareâ our articles.
Thanks so much to all of you for making our first year a phenomenal success.
In a little more than a year and a half, Twitchy has grown from less than 2 million page views per month to more than 12 million. Weâve established a strong footprint both traffic-wise and editorially in an astonishingly short time. Twitter as a news-gathering and narrative-shaping medium is here to stay. And so is Twitchy.
As with Hot Air, I conceived and financed Twitchy completely on my own. But as a small, independent business owner, thereâs only so far I can take the company. Salemâs mighty resources and corporate know-how will enable Twitchy to grow by leaps and bounds. Salem is a trusted enterprise and business partner with the highest standards of ethics and excellence. We know from our experience with the 2010 Hot Air acquisition that Salem understands the value of our brand, will preserve everything that makes Twitchy click, and will provide a great home for our employees. Iâll step down as CEO, but will continue to play an active role supporting and promoting Twitchy. Itâs a win-win-win. Big thanks to Salemâs David Evans, Rick Killingsworth, and Jonathan Garthwaite for working with us again.
Iâm forever grateful to all the initial staffers who were with me at launch. Your leaps of faith will never be forgotten. Like any start-up, we had our growing pains as we figured out how best to execute my vision. A huge turning point: Twitchy was blessed to hire Jenn Taylor and Lori Ziganto as co-managing editors. They are the funny, fearless, brilliant, and indefatigable dynamos who keep Twitchy running. I canât say enough about Jenn and Loriâs political brilliance, editorial commitment, work ethic, impeccable judgment, and new media savvy. They set the crackling pace and irreverent tone for the rest of the full-time Twitchy team, whom Iâve come to know and respect as more than colleagues â but as family: editors Sarah Desprat, Brett Taylor, and Doug Powers (who continues to co-blog spectacularly here at MichelleMalkin.com as well as at Twitchy) and contributing editor William Amos. Much gratitude as well to contributing editors Jacob Bunn, Erik Soderstrom, and El Sooper and big thanks to Adam Brickley for his tenure as a contributing editor.
It takes one mind to think up a start-up, but it requires a village to execute. Iâm grateful to the folks at 10up, WordPress VIP, Disqus, and Publir for their services, as well as lawyer Eric Costello for his work on the deal. Weâre also grateful to Twitter staff, especially Adam Sharp and Sean Evins, for providing support and guidance as needed. Thanks again to tech guru Ed Burns for his invaluable help on our Apps. Bottomless thanks to all the readers, tipsters, and commenters who continue to visit and spread the word about our work. And as always, a big public thank you to my hubby, Jesse, who knew nothing about Twitter when I told him about my idea â but who threw himself into supporting me 200 percent as he always has with my entrepreneurial ventures. As with Hot Air, Jesse served as Twitchyâs human resources manager, payroll clerk, accountant, tech liaison, and CFO.
The lessons I learned from running Hot Air apply as well to Twitchy:
To survive, we needed to adapt, respond to market forces, and adjust the business focus to meet readersâ revealed preferences.
Loyalty is a precious commodity. So is industry. Like gold, they have many imitators. Never take the real things for granted.
Carpe diem quam minimum credula postero. ( âSeize the day, counting as little as possible on tomorrow.â)
Every good hot air balloon needs strong anchor ropes. The pilots may get all the glory, but itâs the hidden support that makes all the difference between successful flight and crash-and-burn.
Over the past 20-plus years, Iâve been blessed to make a living on my words, ideas, bits, and bytes. Capitalism and the American Dream are more than theories for me, but everyday realities. I cherish the opportunity to do good and do well â and to do so alongside so many talented, creative, passionate people. On to 2014!