Pretty vacant: 2007 blog year in review

2007 traffic to "Midnight Modern Conversation"

[The title of this post was suggested by a post I saw somewhere, highlighting the unhappy contrast between two performances (here and here) by the Sex Pistols posted on Youtube.]

One of the blogs that I do read regularly, Rough Type (related post here -- I still haven't gotten around to reading the Big Switch yet) brought my attention to a quote from a book review published in the New York Times:
Expression is everywhere nowadays, but true art has grown indistinct and indefinable. We seem now to be living in a world where everyone has an artistic temperament — emotive and touchy, cold and self-obsessed — yet few people have the artistic gift. We are all outsiders, and we are all living in our own truth.
When I read this quote, I felt like the reviewer had spent some time reading this blog, and had also perused my flickr, photoblog, & YouTube accounts... where does this desire to share personal information with strangers around the world come from?

Part of the problem is that digital tools make it very easy to produce lots of media, quickly and inexpensively. I would not have thousands of images on my hard drive if I had to shoot film, pay to have it developed, and then had to scan the images for upload. Likewise, if the only way for me to put together a video was to invest in specialized equipment and software, it would be a lot less likely that I would dabble in video making. But with this 'ease of creation' factor comes a distinct trend towards quantity, not quality, and the rank amateur becomes transformed into the auteur, complete with the artist's usual and expected set of poses, compulsions, neuroses, and tics.

As I look back on 2007 through the prism of this blog, most of the time, it is pretty much ignored by the wider world. This is because it is diffuse, trivial and self absorbed, and is lost in a vast sea of similar digital self-absorption: It's hard to stand out. And, in a way, I'm kind of glad this is so: Celebrity and the glare of the spotlight is the last thing on my mind.

There were, however, a few events that I wrote about/took photos at/made videos of in 2007 and that did attract a small amount of attention from the wider world. I don't use google analytics much but I have had it running on this blog for over a year and so it does offer some insight to what posts & subject matter has been popular over time. [One of the things I have learned from running this blog, is a little bit of SEO/SEM technique, sometimes I do write post titles so that the posts will be easily indexed by google...]

So here is a recap of what was popular among the few readers of this site in 2007:
  • "Would the real Bob Dylan Please Stand Up?" -- this is by far and away the most popular post in the history of this blog -- not that this is saying much. It was picked up and linked to by a Bob Dylan fan site, which produced a surge in visitors from all over the world.
Coverage of cycling was also a subject that drew visitors:
  • GMSR coverage (here, here, here, etc.): The GMSR had almost 900 entrants in 2007, I would have almost expected more traffic from this.
  • The West Hill Cylcocross race coverage/video: The folks at the West Hill Shop really liked the video I made about this race and linked to it from their site. I was surprised at how some of the resulting traffic was from all over the US, not just New England. This video has been viewed almost 400 times on YouTube which is somewhat gratifying I guess... one guy emailed me that he watched it every couple of weeks or so.
  • I wrote a post describing my impressions of my Redline Monocog 1x9, this is proving to be popular, I think there is quite bit of interest in the idea of 1x9 mountain bikes -- ironically, I now think this configuration isn't good for where I live, it's just too hilly (steep hills + lack of gears = shattering, exhausting riding experience). This is an example of a post I wrote thinking that I would be 'googled' and this assumption has been proven correct.
Other topics that caused little ripples of web traffic included:
  • I took some photos at the 2007 Spielpalast Cabaret, I think many of the cast members found them online & shared with their friends.
  • Coverage of the epic Valentine's Day Blizzard attracted some attention.
  • A post I wrote about a painting by Stefan Bumbeck lives on: "Stefan Bumbeck" is a fairly regular search term on google apparently.... which is odd. But I do like the painting.
  • Relatedly, one post I wrote that has kind given me pause in retrospect is entitled "The secret dossier of Haven Parchinski", it turns out that "Haven Parchinski" -- not a bike racer, and someone I've never met -- is also a fairly regularly occurring search term on google. It's kind of peculiar knowing that there is a good chance this person, or her friends and family, (maybe even Tyler Hamilton?) has read this post.
I wrote quite a bit about my trip to Nepal, I thought that other trekkers, and would-be trekkers, would search for this subject matter, but this hasn't really proven to be the case. Perhaps in the autumn of 2008 and there will be some interest as September - November tend to be the prime trekking months in Nepal (between the monsoon and winter).

Going forward with the blog in 2008, I'm feeling bereft of ideas, and lacking enthusiasm for the project. I spent a Saturday night at home (yesterday) and I wasn't blogging... I was reading a Pentax DSLR users forum and scanning EBay for used manual focus lenses instead. (Lest it appear that I live like a hermit, I had been at a party on Friday night, and so was not tempted to go out.)

In November, however, I did notice that someone from Italy did a search for "cyclocross videos" and did wind up on this site. It is small things like this that keeps me at least slightly engaged in keeping the blog going. I may, however, cut back on the trivial day to day posts -- it very much depends upon my mood, energy level, and interest in other things (like learning how to get the most out of my new camera, and I also need to learn more about digital post-processing -- my skills with this are lacking).

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