Friday, August 17, 2012

Growing Pains

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.


Anonymous said...

I admit that I found this blog through the mp3's, but unlike many music blogs I thoroughly enjoy reading your thoughtful posts, even when they have nothing to do with music, and find myself at times quoting what you guys have to say. Bottom of the Glass is one of my favorite internet stops, and I think it's high time I told you that, since I've been visiting regularly for a couple of years. Keep up the good work and please don't change things to radically.

Sara C said...

Though I love music, I don't usually pay attention to the tracks attached to your posts. I'm here for the words and ideas, and you guys have them in spades. Keep it coming! I don't think more commercial is the way to go. Also, visuals are good. Perhaps you could use your own photography instead of mining the web?

Anonymous said...

I found your site looking for a song using Hype Machine. I bookmarked it and stayed because I enjoy most of your writing. Yup, I've grabbed a few songs but if they went away I'd still drop in to read.

Barely Awake In Frog Pajamas said...

After checking e-mail, Bottom Of The Glass is often one of my first stops in the morning and it's always good to see a new post.

The sights and sounds are nice accoutrements, but the usually engaging and often thought-provoking writing is why Bottom Of The Glass goes well with my coffee.

troutking said...

I don't really know what any of those changes actually mean but I'm here for the writing too. I rarely listen to the songs for two reasons: 1) I'm often reading at work don't often turn the sound on at work 2) I'm not very openminded about music that is new to me. Not proud of that but it's still the truth. I'm amazed that you have/continue to make time to write and that is often so good. Kudos and thanks to you.

Daisy said...

Not to sound like a broken record, but I too tune in for the words not the music. This blog has become part of my daily routine and although we all maintain(or at least pretend to maintain) a thin veil of ananonymity I feel a certain camaraderie with the other regular comentors. I understand that change is necessary so do what you need to do. I plan to keep reading for the long haul.

Jean Leggett said...

I'm here because I'm an old blog friend of Billy's but I also really appreciate articulate writing and that seems to be a rarity on the web. I may not read every article you guys post, but the ones I do have been very enjoyable. I admire your dedication and I'll be sticking around.

Bob said...

You all are very kind. If you don't think that you keep us going, you are wrong.