Ten Years Of TLO: Lists, Lists And More Lists
8:26 AM EDT on April 12, 2017
Ten years ago next month, TLO published its first post. It was a perfect introduction of what was to come over the next ten years in that it was hastily written, had Gary England in the headline, and talked about drinking beer. The only surprising thing was that there were no typos. That would change quickly!
Over the next month, we'll have a semi-regular series of posts about the past decade of The Lost Ogle. Do you remember what The Lost Ogle was like in the beginning? You do? Well, not to be rude, but I'm pretty sure you're lying. I was there at the beginning, and there was no one reading the site except the three of us, my dog, and a few TV media people who just spent all day googling themselves.
It's hard to describe what the landscape online was like ten years ago. Imagining a world without Twitter or Facebook is basically impossible. Instead we all had blogs. Matt Taibbi, the Rolling Stone writer, tells a story about how he came from a family of journalists, and he would listen to them at night around beers tell raucous, interesting stories full of colorful characters and strong opinions. And then he would read the paper the next morning and there would be nothing like that at all. The gatekeepers gave us the sanitized version of the news that their bosses allowed us to get. Blogs came about as a rebellion against that – they gave us smart and funny people talking like actual human beings and giving unique insights when we had nowhere else to find them.
The independent blogosphere is almost extinct now. It's demise comes at the hands of the same thing that killed mom-and-pop shops and local bookstores: greater and greater concentration of power and money in the hands of a few. Google took the ad revenue. Facebook took the eyeballs. Twitter took the trolls. And some of most popular bloggers got hired by big media outlets and pulled up the ladder behind them, and that was that.
That TLO survives at all is a small miracle: a combination of the luck of starting in the right time and place, an interesting point of view, and a 24/7 dedication and work ethic of one man that would stun most people (Patrick once told me, in the middle of a breakup, that he's married to his job. He's the only person who's ever said that and I actually believe it to be true.)
Although the online landscape may have changed a lot in the past ten years, one thing has remained the same: people like lists. Long before Buzzfeed's listicles became the internet's preferred method of distributing information, TLO was publishing all kinds of lists. Here's the e-mail Patrick sent me and Clark Matthews in 2007 encouraging us to write more of them:
Yes, a great way to get people to read your blog is to post lots of "lists." Another good way is to unnecessarily put "quotation marks" around "many" different "words." Also, Patrick has a list of his 100 top bars? We sure were ambitious back then. Still waiting on that one.
Here's a look back at some of the many lists we published over the years.
The Top 100 Oklahoma Embarrassments
The year TLO debuted, 2007, was also Oklahoma's centennial celebration, so all the news outlets were making their lists of Top 100 Oklahomans and things like that, so we decided to compile a list of the opposite. Our first list was born. As I recall it, we just started picking names at random and writing about them, ten at a time, once a week, and then one day right when we were almost finished, we suddenly realized: "Oh shit, people are taking this seriously. Maybe we should come up with an actual top ten?"
Do you want to be transported back into a time when not only did everyone know who Brad McRae was, but we all hated him? Do you need to see someone write about the "Oklahoma is OK" license plate? And how does Tom Cruise make a list of Oklahomans? Reading the list of Oklahoma Embarrassments is a weird time warp.
Top 10 Flaming Lips Songs
It's kinda weird to go back to a time when everyone here unreservedly loved everything the Lips touched.
The Ten Worst Losses of the Bob Stoops Era
This was written in 2011. Something tells me it might look different today.
The Oklahoma Celebrity Look-a-likes Post
One of my favorite posts we ever published. Next time around we'll include Lon Kruger and Will Forte.
Foods At QuikTrip, Ranked
I wonder how many other states have a website that ranks gas-station foods and gets the kind of ferocious response Chelsea's got.
Best Oklahoma High School Nicknames
I recall staying up until about four in the morning writing this post, hitting publish, and then waking up to a bunch of people pissed off that I forgot the Atoka Wampus Cats, and I spent the rest of the day beating myself up about it. Is it emotionally healthy to get personally invested in ranking high school mascots? Asking for a friend.
The Best OSU Post Players Of The Clark Matthews Era
My favorite thing about this is not just that we published a list of the best OSU players from something called the "Clark Matthews Era," but that we were able to split it up between guards and post players. I take back everything good I said about blogs.
The 10 best OKC Metro restaurants when you’re hungover
Marisa posted this list a couple years back. Let me tell you that being friends with Marisa in real life is essentially exactly like reading her online. Do you know those bawdy friends who are totally comfortable in their own skin, who you just want to get together with and drink a beer, shoot the shit and talk smack with? That's Marisa. Everyone needs at least one friend like that. Come back write for TLO more often, Marisa!
Top 10 Campaign Slogans for Harry Johnson
I can't believe anyone would ever accuse TLO of being sophomoric.
Top 20 Callers in OKC Sports Radio History
This is sort of the prototypical TLO post. Where else can you find a site that spends an inordinate amount of time going into detail about the callers of a small sports radio station in a medium sized midwest market?
The most popular article in TLO history with 365,000 pageviews and counting was this humorous must read by occasional TLO contributor Dante Jordan. It went viral on Facebook primarily because it was honest, funny and asked the questions that needed to be asked.
There's a small sliver of all the lists TLO has posted over the past ten years. We'll be back next week with more memories of a decade of TLO.
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