Long ago when dinosaurs roamed the internet, Google hadn’t been born yet and Jorn Barger had not yet coined the term weblog, I did a daily commentary on KJSL radio in St. Louis called CaseStudies. It didn’t take long to realize that I couldn’t always say things worth saying by rambling for ninety seconds, so I began writing those commentaries in advance (and sounding much better on-the-air).
Two years later, I left that job and moved to a job in Arkansas where filling open time between programs wasn’t part of the job description. Everywhere I turned, I saw great ideas for CaseStudies, and after a week or two I began writing them just to get them out of my head so I could sleep at night. When a few of my old friends emailed to tell me how much they missed my on-air segments, I emailed them one of the pieces I’d written. They asked for more, so I sent them. Then I started getting emails from total strangers asking to be put on the “CaseStudies list.” Since so many wanted to be on the list, I thought I’d better start a list to which I could add them. My Internet Service Provider shut down my account when the list grew to over 100 because it appeared I was sending “Unsolicited Commercial Email,” known today as SPAM.
In the fall of 1997, I registered the domain case-studies.com and opened a website account at Pair Networks that included use of mail list software, allowing me to continue serving my readers without offending anyone’s email servers while also providing another means of distribution and archiving.
CaseStudies continued to grow, with nearly 5000 daily email subscribers and over 10,000 unique page reads per week at its peak—not huge by today’s standards, but quite impressive back then. Due to situations too lengthy to discuss on this page, I began posting less often and then not at all for a while, leading to the atrophy of that strong reader base. When I finally got my head together and returned, the email list was hopelessly out-of-date, as was the site in general.
I’ve come close to shutting CaseStudies down more than once, but every time I’ve seriously considered pulling the plug an email or five appear in my inbox from someone telling me how one of those articles touched them at just the right time when they needed it most. Instead of yanking the plug, I freshened the look, eliminated some of the more dated articles, and otherwise left it alone.
CaseStudies is far from my best work as a writer, but it seems God is using it in spite of my weaker grasp of the craft back then. As long as God’s using it, CaseStudies will continue to be there, ready to be used.