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Over this site's 11-year history, there have been moments where I knew Daily Kos had reached a whole new level of influence and effectiveness. The start of the Iraq War, the Dean phenomenon, the 2006 Connecticut Democratic primary, to name a few. We cranked through the 2008 election when we hit nearly 2 million unique visitors that October and November. There was the health care battle, which led to the rise of the Tea Party. That, and the Great Recession dampened site growth, and we tread water until October 2011 -- the rise of the Occupy movement.

October 2013 was another one of those moments. Take a look:

Chart of massive visitor growth to Daily Kos
October, we hit nearly 5.5 million unique visitors and over 38 million page views. That marks the third best month ever, trailing only October and November of 2012, the presidential election. That, despite being an off-year with little on the ballot. But even though the government shutdown obviously goosed the numbers, our year-over-year numbers were still up, despite last year being a presidential year. Of the gazillions sites on the internet, we are now the 437th largest, among the best we've ever placed in that comparative measure, bigger than Disney.com, ConsumerReports.com, and the LATimes.com.

What's that traffic stuff mean? It means base Democrats are active and engaged, because when progressive energy is high, Daily Kos traffic is correspondingly high. We weren't energized in 2010 (see screenshot above) and remember what happened. I'm starting to see more and more correlation between site engagement and electoral performance. The sample size is small, so I'm not about to declare victory ahead of the 2014 elections, but I'm feeling optimistic about next year.

But traffic is only part of the Daily Kos story. Our email list has now surpassed 1 million subscribers. Last year, it was 400,000, and it's still growing at a rate of roughly 15,000 subscribers per week without showing any signs of slowing. As is, our list is already among the biggest non-campaign lists in the progressive movement.

Then there is our fundraising efforts this year. Not only have we already raised over $1.3 million for the year, but over $500,000 of that was for non-federal candidates. That is, for candidates in state legislative races. I'd be hard-pressed to think of any other political organization except for the Democratic Legislative Campaign Committee that has raised that much money for non-federal candidates, and this was our pilot year trying to raise that kind of money. Those numbers should only grow in the coming years as we focus on those important races more and more ahead of 2020 redistricting. We are becoming a truly grassroots operation, focusing just as much on down ballot races as we do on the marquee ones.

While our Facebook numbers aren't as gaudy as other progressive operations, we generate a disproportionate amount of Facebook chatter. Daily Kos has nearly 182K Facebook likes and growing exponentially (we only hit 100,000 in May). As of today, that's driving over 203,000 Facebook conversations. Having more people talking about Daily Kos than liking it is crazy rare. For example, Huffington Post has nearly 1.3 million likes, yet only 252,000 talking about them. Red State has nearly 59,000 likes, and less than 4,000 people talking about them. Politico has 151,000 likes, and just 16,000 people talking about them.

That Facebook activity matters -- not only does it drive 15 percent of Daily Kos' overall traffic, but that traffic is higher-quality than most other sources. That is, it clicks around more and spends more time reading. Furthermore, while Daily Kos proper is heavily male (63-37 according to Quantcast), our Facebook audience is 50-50 allowing us to reach more of our core progressive demographics. If we are to grow as a movement, being effective on outside sites like Facebook is critical, and we're doing it.

None of this would be possible without a killer staff -- the editorial folks writing stuff up, activism team translating that material into stuff we can do, the social media team helping evangelize Daily Kos outside our orange walls, and the tech team for building the infrastructure to make it all happen.

And all of their efforts would be for naught without our kick-ass community making everything hum. Seriously, we are crazy effective on our email list and Facebook because you guys decide what we should promote outside the site. If something is taking off on this site, we know it'll take off outside of it. It is genuinely grassroots agenda setting, and few places (if any) enable it like Daily Kos.  

The best part is that we've still got a ton of room to grow. Our tech folks are building the next generation Daily Kos platform, which will put the current one to shame and make it even easier for the community to engage, activate, and organize. Our social media efforts are in their relative infancy and, as noted above, are growing at an exponential rate. Our email list shows no signs of slowing growth.

At some point, we're bound to level off. It's inevitable. But we don't appear anywhere near that point. As of now, we are still growing -- in audience, in email size, in social media reach -- promoting our message of grassroots engagement, pushing our party toward the liberal American mainstream.

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