Friday, June 22, 2007

Chessdom Interview Part 1: BCC Weblog

Chessdom: At the beginning, can you tell us what topics are of interest for Boylston Chess Club Weblog?

DG: BCC Weblog is ultimately the synthesis of two perspectives – 1) what am I (and the other occasional posters) interested in writing about and 2) what do the readers respond to. I’ve experimented with a variety of different types of content and have had varied results. For example, coverage of the Knights Errant and the US Chess League has been very well received. So has the series of Caption Contests. On the other hand, when I tried to invite the blog readership to participate in a correspondence game the club was playing there was very little interest at all. Posts touching on the lighter side of chess in the news sometimes work and sometimes don’t.

Content specifically about the club, its events, its players, etc. has been a bit of an enigma. Going in to this effort, I certainly thought that this would be a major component of the blog. But frankly, people only seem interested if there is some controversy attached. It became clear to me early on, that the vast majority of the readership were not going to be club members and that therefore cross tables listing the names of people they’ve never heard of wasn’t likely to be of much interest. I still get complaints from time to time from members who feel that more club-specific content should be posted. My response is always the same, “Sign up as a poster and do it yourself.” Unfortunately, far too few take me up on the offer.

From an overall thematic perspective, I decided after a few months of blogging that BCC Weblog’s unique positioning would revolve around coverage of the chess blogosphere itself. There was no point in competing with Mig on International Chess coverage (I don’t have the contacts he has) or Dennis on Chess Analysis (I don’t have his skills or aptitude for the game). Maintaining a comprehensive listing of chess blogs is part of this, as is bringing interesting posts of others to the attention of readers. Where I can, I enjoy trying to find (sometimes esoteric) connections among the writings of different bloggers. There has also been pretty good response to my series of articles on Measuring the Chess Blogosphere.

It was certainly flattering when Michael Goeller wrote that BCC Weblog was "...the center of the chess blogging universe...", but in fact, from a marketing perspective, that was exactly the unique positioning I was trying to claim.

You can read the entire interview here.

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