I remember when…

…blogging was a conversation. A posting went up and comments came in. Nowadays it seems more like I’m posting to a frozen wall of ice in the middle of nowhere. I know I get visitors, but either they aren’t interested in a conversation, they don’t know what to say, or they’re intimidated…or something else.

I know I have readers…my numbers keep going up…up…up. But it’s lonely in here.

Hey there. Yeah – YOU.
I am user friendly and I love finding out what you’re thinking.
The blogosphere (thanks Mr. Pittman I think) is not a vacuum.

So next time you drop by, sit and chat a bit. It’s the neighborly thing to do.

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Avoidance…and blog stats…

Piles of homework to correct – literally inches of English and a variety of videos. And right now I’m into avoidance.

So I’m looking at the blog stats. Now if you have a blog, you may hop over and take a look-see to see if your audience count is up/down or stable.

My very first month blogging (December 2006) from the 10th through the 31st I had a grand total of 198 hits for the entire month. By comparison, this is the first of March, 2009 and already at 1pm I’ve had 70+ hits. Not enough to brag about for serious bloggers, but it shows a stable audience.

In January 2007 I made friends with Andy Dickinson, Mindy McAdams, and Howard Owens and the count went up to 1220 hits. That was the month I learned about linking and online communities.

February blew me off the charts…someone ratted on me and then Al Tompkins of Poynter linked to the site (The Hand Trick, Simple Lighting Tricks, Basic Shots) and it literally went through the roof with 2887 hits. I was floored. Lesson learned: big time bloggers can send you big time audiences. On February 28, 2007 I got 535 hits, all referred by one man and his computer.

Now the monthly count has been all over the place since…never as low as that first month though. And with each passing month I learned more. How to post tags to pull in more audience. The ethics of tagging and blogging. My goal was a videojournalism site – but once when I mentioned the Hussain hanging, I got a lot of hits and comments. Lesson learned: big stories and voyeurism pull in the audience. The former is okay with me; the latter not. I have to stay true to who I am and what my blog is about and not be tempted by the God of Blogging Numbers.

Part of the reason for posting this is that last month – February 2009 – was my second highest month, exceeded only by November 2007. Not sure what ticked the meter that month.

But I’m posting less and getting more audience.

The site is taking on a life of its own as word gets around that there is content here that can help. And numbers are what drive all media – numbers are what make survival possible.

Example:
When I worked at KQED in San Francisco, our numbers were low compared to the commercial stations in town…but surveys showed that our numbers included the movers and shakers.

Commercial stations look at numbers to set their advertising rates. So do newspapers. And once they figure out HOW to count the numbers on the Internet (is it time spent on site? time spend on a particular story? how many hits on the site/story?) that will factor in to advertising too.

All moot points, since I’m dern sure not making any money here. But it is good for a satisfied sense that maybe I’ve written something that made a small difference for someone, somewhere.

SFBAPPA Digital Workshop

Saturday was a bittersweet day. More than a hundred still photographers jammed into the Journalism building at SF State, all excited about learning how to create stories using still images and video as part of the SFBAPPA Digital Workshop. From my perspective they were brilliant visualizers on a steep learning curve with a long path ahead. They can already “see” – they need to learn how to move from seeing in space to seeing in time, as most videojournalists do.

Until recently, still news photography was all about space – how much space on the page is allocated for the photos. How much space on a website. The new paradigm is time – how long can a story be and still hold the viewer’s attention. How long will it take to show the photos/video. How long should each visual remain on the screen.

The questions were almost shoved at me during my workshops. How to begin creating a story. Which software program is best for editing. Everything from technical to aesthetic.
The bitter portion: few television news photographers in attendance. The two media (still and broadcasting) are on a collision course with the final implosion destined to be on the Internet. Newspapers are already claiming the future, with the old “electronic” media trailing behind.

As readers shift from hard copy and television screens to computer screens and the Internet, the media must find ways to keep up and hold their audiences. The danger is not so much in losing readers/viewers as it is in the audience losing a reliable and trustworthy resource. The old ethics must shift to the new media or we will all eventually be living in a fantasy world where nothing is real and whatever we want to believe can be validated by lies.

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