With the World Series effectively over, we now resume our regularly scheduled posts.
When we launched this site back in March, we asked the question, “Why do we think the world needs another blog?” The Internet is already saturated with the unsolicited opinions of countless middle-aged nerds living in their parents’ basements. Blogging has given us everything from sites like People of Walmart, in which Walmart shoppers make fun of other Walmart shoppers (pictured here), to more useful special-interest sites like Cloud 9 Organize & Redesign, which offers budget-friendly interior-design advice, just to name two of the countless examples out there.
The software that drives many blogs, including this one, is called WordPress. It makes it possible for people who don’t design websites to create and maintain their own online presence. During the Enlightenment, this would have been like giving every individual a printing press and an unlimited supply of paper. Seventeenth-century streets would have been littered with scraps of paper with comments like “René Descartes thinks therefore he’s an idiot” and “Star Wars: The Phantom Menace made me want to throw up my fig pudding.”
One interesting feature of WordPress is that it allows us to see how some Internet users arrive at IBD (which, for the benefit of my wife Sheila, stands for “Interpretation By Design”). We can see what browsers and operating systems our readers are using, the web page that referred them here, the pages that they viewed on this site, and even where those people are physically located. (At the time of this writing, we’ve had readers from the USA, Ukraine, Thailand, Brazil, and Canada in the last six hours.)
Admittedly, this is creepy.
Possibly the creepiest thing we can do is see what search terms Internet users have searched to reach our site. So all of you people in Parkin, Arkansas, who search the term “Shea Lewis” three times a day, we’re on to you. So far, my favorite search term that has landed someone on this site is “can you wear sweatpants to a museum.” I hope that person eventually found some guidance on the issue.
Some other recent search terms and the pages to which readers were referred include:
- “Megan Fox graphic design” (Tag: Megan Fox)
- “Lewis caputo winner of 50,000 scratch off ticket in Patchogue, NY” (Tag: Papyrus)
- “who are streakers” (Post: Streakers, Browsers, and Students: Sam Ham on Hierarchy)
- “darth vader new york yankees images” (Tag: New York Yankees)
- “buy fresh prince pants” (Tag: Jazzy Jeff and the Fresh Prince)
- “make my own sweat pants” and “sweat pants that stay up” (Post: Style and Sweat Pants)
So this is the world of the Internet these days. Shea uses fashion as an analogy for breaking out of his interpretive comfort zone and this site starts getting visits from people too cheap to buy their own sweat pants or too skinny to find sweat pants that don’t fall down.
On the other hand, blogs significantly broaden the ability of organizations to inexpensively and regularly reach a worldwide audience. The National Association for Interpretation maintains five different blogs (listed under “NAI Blogs” in the sidebar on this site). None of these blogs can quite match the popularity of People of Walmart, which once crashed its server after receiving 2.6 million hits in one day. But NAI’s sites offer a great way for InterpPress authors and NAI leaders to share thoughts, ideas, and information that you will not find on NAI’s traditional website, InterpNet.
I especially encourage interpreters at small sites like community nature centers, historic sites, or museums to maintain blogs. You may find a whole new market of visitors and supporters you never knew were there. And more importantly, they may find you.
I recommend that you add content at least weekly, write seasonal or topical posts, promote the site in your newsletter and on your traditional website, and mention sweat pants a lot.