We are all RandBall now.
For the first six years, these birthday posts have focused on the difference between RandBall (the blog) and traditional media; when the blog started seven years ago, it was a breath of fresh air that cut through the stale cloud of 2006's newspaper industry.
Seven years on, RandBall is everywhere. The blog is just one small part of RandBall Industries; it stands alongside Page 2, the online videos, and an entire community of Twitterers and blogs and podcasts that can be traced, at least indirectly, to the group of goofballs that used to gather in the comments section of RandBall posts.
It's almost foolish to continue to celebrate these birthdays; we might as well celebrate the anniversary of all of the people who signed up for Twitter, or of the first of the long-since-discontinued Redactulars, or any number of other milestones along the way. Don't get me wrong, RandBall is great, as a blog -- but it's grown beyond these virtual blog walls. What started as something different than traditional media has itself become traditional media. We are all RandBall now.
I suppose the credit you can give to Rand is that he never, ever tried to wrestle this thing to the ground and control it. He let go and trusted us all to not ruin everything, and it - I would like to think - has paid off. As for me, on this auspicious yearly occasion, I offer my thanks to Rand for kicking all of this off. He didn't know where it was going, either, but it's spawned friendships beyond counting and fun beyond measure, and what else can I ask for?
So wish RandBall a happy birthday! Use the comments, or Twitter, or your blog, or your podcast, because the way this thing is going, those all make perfect sense.