As much as I hate going so long without posting to my website, this period of inactivity happens to occur every year around this time for a particular reason. Why? Because of March Madness. Unfortunately I’m not talking about the men’s college basketball tournament. I’m talking about the Massachusetts high school Super 8 hockey tournament, the boys’ and girls’ basketball state championships, and the end-of-winter projects like All-Scholastics at the Boston Globe. It makes for quite a rigorous month, with many days logging 12, 13, 14 and 15 hours. So in a nutshell, I can only handle so much blogging at work before neglecting my personal site.
It’s a give and take I’m still working on.
With that said, it’s been quite an enjoyable month because of the work my colleagues and I have done. We’re going into the month of April having navigated another demanding season by providing dynamic, timely, and news-oriented features for our readers. Our live blog on Boston.com of the Super 8 tournament was wildly successful, as was our live coverage of the state high school basketball championships. The tool of choice, Scribble Live, has certainly made our lives easier for event coverage.
In April, I get to turn the page a bit and focus on the Patriots more before the NFL draft. I’m currently in the throes of a month-long series scouting prospects that would be a good fit for the team. You can find my entries on Boston.com’s Extra Points blog. But I’m also developing some other features that I think will be awesome for our offseason coverage.
What’s great about all of this is that I’m back to writing every day. Not just every other day or some days of the week, but every single day. I’m at my best when I’m writing often. And that means April looks good too.
So I’m out on a limb saying the Patriots are going to beat the Baltimore Ravens in the AFC championship and will advance to Super Bowl XLVII in New Orleans. I’m not just saying this flippantly. I’ve went out and purchased my tickets to New Orleans and now I’m trying to prepare myself for the inevitable breaking news/multimedia moment during Super Bowl week.
Last year, I was dependent on my iPhone (which held up for the most part) in Indianapolis for the Super Bowl. But I dreaded lugging around my MacBook, at almost 8 pounds, which is what I used to do the brunt of my work. This year, if the Patriots win, I’m traveling lighter with my iPad. I just bought a new Bluetooth enabled keyboard to go along with it, so I’ll be able to type normally and with the same speed I’m accustomed to doing.
I still have worries though. For one, my iPad is a wifi only tablet, meaning if there isn’t any wifi, it isn’t worth the trouble of lugging around. Similarly, my iPhone 4S has terrible battery life. And it sucks typing on it, too. However, between the two I figure I can be as mobile as possible. I’ve discovered that my phone also can link with the Bluetooth keyboard and in doing so keeps me online at all times — so long as I have battery life.
Thank God I keep a charger close by.
All of this yammering will be worth it if the Patriots win. Then I’ll be able to test everything. For some reason, that makes me excited. And that’s how you know I’m a nerd.
For example, on my Tumblr I’m known to link to content I’ve produced for Boston.com. On my Twitter, I’m known to post my missives and quick, reactionary thought. On Facebook, I’m known to post photos and links to interesting items I want to share as well as anything I think is funny. On Google+/Pinterest, I’m just sort of around.
All of which brings me to a very important point: Why don’t I post all of these things to my website, which is my public profile for the world? Why give the benefit of my contributions elsewhere first?
I pondered all of this while I was trying to develop a social media posting schedule (yes, I think of these things). It occurred to me that I should post here first, and then elsewhere, and then it occurred to me that it would be labor intensive. Twitter and Facebook are easy because posting to their sites require you to just hit the send button. (Plenty of apps to work with.) WordPress has apps, and solutions I might add, but it still seems too slow of a process, one which I would have to backtrack on.
I’ve seen across the web different ways people handle this, mostly in a news-oriented perspective. Content originates on a site and then is distributed through several channels. Sounds simple enough. But then I’ve seen it the other way. Prominent media blogger Jim Romenesko posts a roundup of his tweets to his blog every day. I could get into that. (He’s also known to post some of the comments he receives on his Facebook page.)
The thing is, it appears that with the ease of use of some platforms, namely Twitter and Facebook, and with the necessity to have a presence on others (the echo chamber known as Google+), there needs to be a mix of both. And for my personal benefit, and those interested in cataloging my online endeavors, this site needs a fresh perspective in regard to how this occurs.
Are there any other thoughts on this out in the world? I’m sure I won’t receive comments here. But on Facebook, I might.
I’m not sure why it took me so long to do this. But I recall when Facebook commenting first went public, the plugins for WordPress sites like this one were overly complicated. So much so that I had to step away from the computer and wipe my memory after hours of tinkering. As of this morning, it took me only 10 minutes to find the plugin I wanted and set it up. That’s the beauty of the web. One minute it infuriates you, the next it’s the easiest thing in the world. C’est la vie.
Yeah, I know, you’re getting sick of these end-of-year lists. But I like ‘em. Particularly when I’m not gaming you for clicks in doing so. It’s good to look back and see what I wrote right here that people were reading. By far, the leading post on the site was on my favorite adult cartoons. That one has been extremely popular in the SEO department and looks like it will continue to be so going forward. But also folks have shown strong interest in my take on Madrid. A referral tweet from @BostonDotcom pushed one of my posts to another level and I got some student interest in Boston when writing about BostonGlobe.com’s new paywall. See the full list below. And no, I won’t be mad if you want to read some of this stuff.
- Top 10 best adult cartoons of all-time
- What was Madrid like? Awesome
- The test: Bruins + Storify
- Carmelo Anthony to the Lakers wouldn’t be the change L.A. hopes it’ll be
- Is San Francisco a baseball city?
- The paywall goes up at BostonGlobe.com
- What’s the worst thing you can do to your own website?
- World Cup recap: Not an expert by any means
- A few silly ideas about the 49ers, Patriots and my Week 13 NFL picks
- Feliz ano Nuevo
It’s not often I comment on the dealings at the Boston Globe. In fact, it’s been a long time since I’ve been sort of an ambassador for newspaper dealings. That all ended when I left The Union.
But today marks a pretty historic day for the Globe and the communities it serves, as the BostonGlobe.com paywall finally goes up and the Globe completes the splitting of the paper’s online news brands.
This is significant for more reasons than opening a new revenue stream. (BostonGlobe.com will cost $3.99 a week — $0.99 for the first four weeks — but will be free to subscribers.) The deployment of a second website is a unique strategy, spearheaded by publisher Chris Mayer, that depends on both Boston.com and BostonGlobe.com to find separate niches, voices even, to serve the same communities. Boston.com, which will still carry breaking news, sports coverage and select Globe stories, is supposed to be the voice of Boston with community bloggers, photo galleries and other features that tap into the heart of New Englanders. BostonGlobe.com will carry the weight of the Globe’s newspaper content, with exclusivity in some areas and also breaking news. The new website, hailed for its design and scalability between smart phones, tablets and computers, is still changing. But its main thrust is dependent on its reading experience and being New England’s No. 1 news source.
So, basically, we’ll see where things go from here.
A couple of things that have gotten lost in the public’s conversation on the new site:
- Stories of importance, or considered of public service, will be made available on Boston.com. So the whole Priest scandal thing, or the probation department fiasco, and stories like them will be made freely available.
- Sports coverage, with the exception of enterprise pieces, will be available on Boston.com.
- Current subscribers don’t have to pay anything for access to BostonGlobe.com. (Weirdly, this is confusing to some.)
I’m excited about this. And not just because I’m an employee of the company, but because this represents another domino in a long line of newspapers that need to start charging for what they’ve been giving away for free. The New York Times took the plunge, the Globe has taken the plunge, and I don’t believe it’ll be long before many other newspapers find a strategy that works for them to charge for the content that they produce.
Now with that said, there are a number of things the Globe needs to do in order for BostonGlobe.com to be a success in its own right and so it will not compete with Boston.com, and vice versa. Mainly, the new site has to give up its current sports centric focus. Given the availability and popularity of sports on Boston.com, it doesn’t make sense.
Instead, BostonGlobe.com should focus on its exclusive content and hesitate at all points to mirror what Boston.com does, particularly for sports. So in the evening, when readers visit BostonGlobe.com and see exclusive previews for content in the next day’s paper from our acclaimed G section or an editorial on a pressing topic, the company is doing what needs to be done in order to be successful. But on Monday, in the morning, the last thing the new site should be doing is featuring New England Patriots content as if it isn’t plastered all over Boston.com already.
It is my belief that for BostonGlobe.com to be successful — whether that is in terms of monetary value, protecting a sliding newspaper circulation, or web traffic — it has to break away from what Boston.com does and provide value to a distinct audience, one that despises Boston.com already. In the two years I’ve worked at the Globe, one of the constant complaints about Boston.com is how much of the newspaper’s content is buried online while readers eyes are diverted to photo galleries and other non-newspaper content. The new site is designed in a manner in which that will no longer be the case, catering to a large number of people already discontent with Boston.com. But I also believe a large number of these readers will never venture to the new site if, in essence, its homepage reflects the content on Boston.com. That’something the masters of the Globe — editor Martin Baron, Boston.com editor Ron Agrella and BostonGlobe.com editor Jason Tuohey — have to hash out. With time, and proper focus, I’m sure two distinct voices will form. That’s the hope I have for the company and this two-brand strategy.
So, basically, we’ll see where things go from here.