Well, I find it completely ironic and unplanned that as I start writing this celebratory post about our last 5 years I’m listening to an Oasis song “Champagne Supernova,” which I believe was created back about the time I kicked off this little blog about Des Moines.
You see, the blog started out of my head, which generally is not a great thing. I was satisfying a challenge my good friend and Professor Timothy Johnson gave me, to start a blog. Timothy’s direction was actually pretty vague, because he didn’t really give me any direction, he just said start a blog. Yet, it was that challenge that became the inspiration for the first incarnation of Des Moines is NOT Boring.
I can’t tell you how many times people have commented on our name. They’ve said if I have to write about how our city is not boring shows that it is actually pretty boring. Or, they’ve asked why I don’t change the name to something better. Or, any real vast assortment that our name is crap, Des Moines is crap, and I should just stop writing all together. But, none the less I forged on.
The site started with a challenge…and there were many more challenges along the ride, but then…something crazy happened. My writing, as grammatically challenged as it is, sparked enough of an interest from a reader base that eventually my blog became our blog. Shawn Harrington joined the ride in May of 2009 and brought his northern New York state charm with him. He’s been kicking out content ever since, actually 196 posts to be exact. Shawn doesn’t always write about hockey or the Des Moines Social Club, yet he is very passionate about both. His work has covered the start of 80/35, and many – many other first – actually too many to count. By the time Shawn joined, some 9 months after I started rambling, I am sure the very few readers we had (thanks Mom) enjoyed the differing perspective and the fact that he was seeing the city we loved through a new lens.
As the first year became the second, our content started catching on more and more around town. Then, this crazy thing called Facebook happened. Well, obviously it didn’t just happen, but we started really embracing Facebook and social media to promote our content. We created Des Moines is NOT Boring profiles (Dsmisnotboring on Twitter) and pages and next thing you know the numbers stated increasing. People actually liked our content, or the concept of promoting Des Moines, enough to at least put their “like” or “follow” tally behind us. After Shawn and I got over this amazing fact, we thought…maybe others would want to write on the blog as well. So, we did our first open social post asking for new authors and wouldn’t ya know it, there were quite a few who were interested.
Through the years we’ve had over 20 authors grace our site, some of their work fell under the Guest Post handle, others have been long time contributors. One of the longest contributors has been Dave Murphy, who has created 77 music reviews in over two years. I know for a fact that I would not know nearly as much as I do about our music scene had I not had the luxury of reading Dave’s work on a weekly basis..well, most weeks. His ability to make an album appealing through words is really a gift that he has worked into his content over at Iowavesmusic.com as well.
Amanda Gorsche Miller wrote over 43 posts during her tenure with Des Moines is NOT Boring, which was toward the end of her time home with her kids before she went back into the working world. She also created the first, any only at this point, Des Moines is NOT Boring video, which I still get a kick out of seeing from time to time. Courtney Kimsey wrote more than 39 posts on topics from the birthing community in Des Moines to Templeton Rye‘s assent into Hollywood. Amanda and Courtney helped us bring in the female perspective, something that was very much needed at the time…and still is.
Rachel Formaro has been another long time contributor, with over 44 posts through her years here in Des Moines. Her Husband Tom also wrote on the site for a short time, before his novel took his creative talents to other more long-term pages. Tom’s 20 posts boasted of the perspective of the kid who moved away, but came back with a beautiful bride and a new daughter. He re-explored our great city through the eyes of someone one who lived in San Francisco for the last decade. He introduced Des Moines to Rachel, who provides us with amazing content from someone not only new to Des Moines, but to the Mid-West. Her unique flavor has been a treat to read over.
Ben Gran’s unique sense of humor, and writing, have been a big hit of late. He is on his was to his 34th post on the site, which will likely either offend the residents of another Mid-West city or spark some other kind of injustice. Annick Sjobakken certainly made her presence on the site known when she offended all Des Moines residents who wear North Face jackets. Annick’s 20 posts have illustrated a great perspective on Des Moines is refreshing…there I said it. She moved to Des Moines from Brooklyn, and her ability to put that journey into words has been hilarious.
Trisha Hunter and Kiley Stenberg have been our style authors. Trisha is currently shopping and writing her way to her 32nd post, while also getting ready to head to New York’s Fashion Week here shortly where she will cover content for our blog!! She has also started her own fashion line and is involved in too many things for me to mention here (hey, this post is already damn long!). I am sure Kiley will also be hitting the Fashion Week scene as well for her team over at Badowers and focusing on fashion for their new endeavor Proper. Kiley also writes for her blog ASequinDressatBreakfast.
We’ve also had great post from Hannah (2), Jacqueline (6), John (1), Lauren (9), Tom Sacco (12), and Zach (19) to compliment our content over the years. Not to mention the great restaurant reviews from He Ate and She Ate (21). Then, last but certainly not least, or newest contributor Pete Myers has contributed 5 amazing restaurant reviews, and I look forward to hearing more of his great work very soon.
It has been an amazing run, one that I honestly had no idea would happen when I wrote the first post over 5 years ago. I am extremely excited to see all the authors tonight at Proof during happy hour while we reminisce and catch up. I want to thank each and every one of you for all that you have done to help make Des Moines is NOT Boring a blog that people enjoy reading. You have all made the content so much better and you’ve helped grow the brand that I take great pride in. You’re amazing.