Thursday, May 12, 2005

A Remarkably Successful Failure

Today, BCC Weblog reaches its six month anniversary. It seems an appropriate time to assess the project and its future.

The title of this post reflects my overall view of this effort. In so many ways, the blog has exceeded my wildest expectations:
  • On 2004 BCC Championship, a day with 25-30 visitors was cause for excitement and celebration (even though, it probably just meant that one of the club members was having a slow day at work and passing the time by periodically clicking on the same link in their favorites list). Today, a 25-hit day on BCC Weblog would be cause for concern.
  • I remember looking longingly at certain blogs' Technorati stats, something like 45 links from 32 sources. Now, BCC Weblog is one of those blogs.
  • I had originally hoped that I might find a few other chess blogs to cross-link with (thanks to chess_underground, who was the first). A look at the sidebar shows that this goal was met and exceeded over and over again.
  • I thought I might get lucky enough to "meet" some new chess friends. Thanks to the blog and the Knights Errant in particular I now have chess friends in North Carolina, Hawaii, Montana, Illinois, the Netherlands, Belgium, California, Romania, India and too many other places to list them all (my apologies if I didn't specifically mention your location).
Notwithstanding all this good news, I must nevertheless conclude that this project has been an utter failure. While 2004 BCC Championship was always intended to be my blog, BCC Weblog was not. It had grander objectives -- to be "An interactive space for members of the Boylston Chess Club to share any/all chess-related information." I'm sorry to say that the BCC membership never embraced this vision. To date, only three other members have signed up to post on the blog and only one has done so (though not recently -- with good reason, I might add). I certainly offer my thanks to Bob Oresick who provided several interesting and informative posts. [I might also take this opportunity to thank Howard Goldowsky for his Guest Blogging efforts. Howard holds the record for the post with the most comments -- don't worry if the comment link says "zero"; click on it anyways (Haloscan deletes your comment counts after 3 months unless you pay them $12/yr).] We made efforts to market the blog to the members -- through flyers, announcements at events and e-mails -- but to little avail.

So where do we go from here? I'm convinced that there is enough good material out there to continue as is indefinitely. However, as you can imagine, this project has been consuming a significant amount of my time. In addition, while I still enjoy this weblog, I think I have long since passed the steepest part of the learning and personal growth curve. Therefore, I have concluded that at a minimum I need to focus much less time on BCC Weblog and hence, more time on other things.

Given this, it should come as no surprise that I have seriously considered shutting down the blog. In fact, I was contemplating just such an idea when Don informed me of his intent to close shop at Mandelamaza. However, I'm just not sure that I'm quite ready to call it day. Instead, I think I'm just going to post more infrequently for awhile. To be honest, I don't yet know what "infrequently" actually means, e.g., I could cut down by ~60% and still post everyday!? As time passes, perhaps I will find new enthusiasm for the project or maybe just drift off into oblivion...we'll see.

No comments: