Monday, October 29, 2012

A Milestone

Well, it happened a few days ago, but I'm just getting around to writing about it now.

At this point in time (Monday) most of you are probably trying to hold your homes together as 'Frankenstorm' rolls through the eastern seaboard.

Few are likely to be checking the local blog, so it's perhaps fitting that I choose today to announce that I've reached one of the goals I set for myself when I started this blogging experiment.

Several days ago, The Digital Notebook topped the 50,000 hits mark.

Compared to other much more popular blogs, that's not a terribly high mark. My step-mother runs a blog about adoption issues (Birth Mother, First Mother Forum) and I think she hits that mark about twice a week.

But for a blog dedicated to small pieces of news in a small town, I consider it respectable.

I had set several goals for this enterprise when I started, and, actually, this one was the last, and the first to be achieved.

The 50,000 views milestone, apparently
somewhere in western Massachusetts.
Who knew?
As I watched the stats, experimenting with getting exposure and what worked and what didn't, I realized that 50,000 within a year might be achievable.

And so it was.

Thanks to all of you who have read the blog up to this point, all six of you.

By the way, I configured the settings so that my own views don't count as hits, so I hope none of you thought I was sitting up my attic late at night, obsessively clicking on the blog over and over to drive up the hit count.

So one of my other goals has yet to be achieved, but we're close.

It turns out that 365 posts is going to be a lot. 
I wanted to post every single day for a year and now, having revealed that, Hurricane Sandy will probably interfere.

That meant writing things ahead of time so, for those few days I'm allowed to leave The Mercury office and attempt a vacation, the blog would continue on.

With this post, I'll be up to 318, so we'll see if I make it 365.

The third and final goal remains unchanged and both achieved and unachieved for as long as I do this.

As I wrote on Nov. 9. 2011 in my first post:

"As anyone who has been following this newspaper business knows, space in the paper is not what it once was.
And although space on the Internet is theoretically limitless, experience has taught me that, what with templates, oversight and ranking, that space on The Mercury web site is not.
As you might expect, a lot of information crosses my desk on a regular basis and, as you also might expect, not all of it gets in the paper or on the web site for the reasons I've just explained.
So, this experiment is to see if I can't give some of those orphaned press releases, announcements and overheard tid-bits some exposure on space I (nominally) control."

So the experiment goes (boldly?) on, but before I do, allow me to offer a particular thanks to some people.

Firstly, to on-line editor Eileen Faust, who got me started and who answered all the endless technical questions I continue to have. "How do I make this caption jump to a second line? How do I unpublish something? How come this post is so boring?"
Diane, left, and Eileen

Her patience continues to amaze me and I would be lost without it.

Secondly, to community engagement editor Diane Hoffman, who helped me realize the larger reach of bloggers working together and that I don't have to be the 'lone wolf' all the time.

Thirdly, to Mercury Editor Nancy March, who doesn't get too miffed when I work on the blog during work hours, particularly given that many of the posts often end up as stories in the paper. (She also gently reminds me when my posts are getting too long-winded.)

Fourthly, and this is a big one, to John Armato, the Pottstown School District's Community Relations Director.

Not only did he realize and capitalize on the opportunity my blog presents to the school district -- a daily post hungry for information, any information, it can post -- but he also inadvertently helped me to achieve this 50,000 mark.
John speaking last month after being named
Rotary Club's Person of the Year.

You see not only does John supply me with endless bits, pieces and photos about the good things going on in the school district -- it's not ALL bad you know -- but he also helps distribute them.

He does this by e-mailing links to posts about the district to his large list of staff and community contacts. To be sure, his motivation is, no doubt, to spread the good word about the school district.

But when he does this, I can practically watch the stats for that day's post sky-rocket.

If you don't believe me, take a look to the right at the most popular posts. Nearly all of them involve the school district, including one -- the one suggesting Rupert Principal Matt Moyer would look good in a purple Mohawk -- that continues to top the list months after it ceased being relevant.

And of course, last but certainly not least, thanks to all you readers who have continued to return. It would be pointless without you.

Well, so much for the honor roll.

See you out there in cyber-space.

1 comment:

  1. Evan, congratulations! You continue to do terrific work, which I read and become jealous of daily. 150,000 views is next, in less than two years, I'll bet.