Wednesday, 5 September 2012

State of the Blog: summer's nearly over

Wednesday, 5 September 2012
I just thought I'd check-in, seeing as my State of the Blog posts haven't been as frequent as usual. Over summer it's inevitable content would drop here, and that was exacerbated by an effort to reduce my output. Or, to phrase it better, redirect my passion by only covering things I have a real hankering to write about. Covering weekly TV shows that are reliably competent, constantly mediocre, or don't change very much, was starting to sap my enthusiasm.

I've found it a more freeing and pleasurable experience to only cover a handful of shows (often no more than two or three) with any regularity. In so doing, I've been able to manage my time better and cover more one-off shows (like the comedies Channel 4 aired over their "Funny Fortnight"). My long overdue capsule reviews of Buffy the Vampire Slayer also came about because of this rethink.

Inevitably, you pay the price for being less active as a blogger. When daily output drops, incoming general traffic begins to slow. And when you're covering less stuff intentionally, comments take a hit because you're more likely to ONLY be writing about things the core readership don't care about. True Blood and Breaking Bad may be very popular TV shows, but they've always been oddly difficult to inspire much chit-chat about here. I think it's because the 'net is teeming with other reviews, and that both these shows aren't airing in the UK right now.

I tend to find that UK-focused reviews get FAR more hits. Although I do find it weird that evidently popular UK comedy reviews struggle to attract comments from visitors. I mean, one comment on A Touch of Cloth over a week later? Is that because it was on Sky1 and only attracted half-a-million viewers? Well, maybe. Or perhaps Brits are just less likely to leave comments on blogs, I don't know. Maybe people don't have much to say about a comedy, unless what I write gets people's backs up? I've scratched my head over this for days.

To be honest, I think it's about time I stopped caring TOO much. I'm generally confident about my quality of writing (although there's always room for improvement and evolution), and I know DMD is still popular enough to warrant my efforts. It also continues to be a handy springboard for paid work, including recent contributions to MSN TV, and I'm currently finding it easier and more fulfilling because of the less hectic pace and demands. That people continue to visit in the numbers they do (despite being less than they were) is a compromise I'm happy with, because the alternate was personal burnout and bad quality.

I can't demand people comment on posts, of course. I just know that no writer wants to feel like they're not engaging with people, so you hope any silences are contented ones. However, if you DO write a comment, just know how much it's appreciated and helps keep me focused and engaged. And if you're sharing some of DMD's posts via social media, or encouraging people to check my blog out, that's also a massive help. I do what I can in terms of self-promotion online, but the best and most convincing promotion people take heed of comes from a third-party.

Looking forward to the rest of this year, I'm pleased with DMD's new three-column layout and assume everyone else is happy too. (I mean, there have been no major complaints about it...) There are lots of new shows on the way this autumn/winter, too, and plenty of returning favourites to get reacquainted with. I've already laid out my vague plan of attack for 2012, so I sincerely hope you'll be back in force now the summer's over, because the main thing that's made DMD such a pleasure to manage had been YOUR feedback and a feeling of community.

The blog may be reshaping itself, but I hope everyone's sticking around.