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Growing Pains

Friday, 17 August 2012

If you have noticed that things on Bottom Of The Glass are a bit erratic, a bit spotty recently, I thought I'd take a few moments and explain why.  It isn't that we've gotten lazy or disinterested or even that we're wrapped up in our jobs at the moment, even though we are wrapped up.  That has never stopped us before.

At different times, and in different ways, Billy and I have outgrown this blog, or more specifically, our original conception of this blog.  I don't know that we necessarily agree on the hows of that, but I'm not sure that we have to.  At the start, we wanted to write about music and whatever else we've wanted to, to have the music drive the writing or vice-versa.  And while that may seem wide open, rather than limiting, the fact is that when you put a lot of time into writing on the Internet, you can't help but want people to read what you've written, probably can't help wanting a wider audience.

Roughly speaking, we've had about 700,000 hits to BOTG for something over 1000 posts.  Simple division would suggest "Wow."  But simple division would not tell the actual story.  Our two most popular posts of all time are Billy's "But I Don't Like You Like You" and my "The Bitter End."  Now, I haven't investigated Billy's stats all that much, but I did look into mine during the months when "The Bitter End" was really racking up hits.  The fact is, there is a club in New York City called The Bitter End, and any number of the hits I was getting were mistaken assumptions that my post was about that club.  They were probably on our site for one second or less.  There is no doubt about that.

There is also no doubt that a significant (maybe more than significant) portion of our readership visits us to steal music.  Though both Billy and I continue to be inveterate music purchasers (I'll say 90% of what we have, respectively), our readers and perhaps most people are not.  Our preference for posting songs in the form of mp3s as connections, enhancements, or inspirations for our blog posts means that people come to us for the songs, right click on them, download them, and go on their merry ways.

At the same time, I can't help but believe that our writing is often quite strong.  Not always, but then neither is Maureen Dowd's or Thomas Friedman's.  There are those topics, like Billy's recent post on The Ox-Bow Incident, which bring out our best--our most insightful, our most satirical, our most connected, our most thought-provoking.  There have been plenty of times where our perspectives on national or social issues have predated the predominant thinking in the national discussion.  There have been times when I thought our outlooks were more illuminating than what others were saying.

And so, yes, we are outgrowing our current approach.  Probably the music undermines us; certainly the appropriating of photos and images does.   We've enjoyed a kind of free-for-all where all of the web was at our disposal, it seemed, and we could cherrypick whatever we wanted to go with our writing.  Also, frankly, writing about our jobs, though it obviously connects with a certain portion of our readership, probably doesn't do much more than allow us to blow off steam and leave us with a sense of unease.

So I think we're going to change.  But how?  I'm not sure.  We've only talked in the most general terms. What will we become?  Here are some possibilities:

--less "anonymous"

--more commercial

--more national

--less musical, in terms of actual songs

--more professional

--more Avett-Brothers hating  (kidding, kidding, but seriously, The Lumineers=The Avetts + Edwin Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeroes, but much better than either one!)

--less visual

I really don't know.  It's been a rewarding and enjoyable journey for us so far.  I hope that you will stay with us.  We're not going anywhere........................that you won't know about.

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