Five years ago today I clicked a few buttons, typed a few words, and this blog came into existence. Riding the wave of the endurance mountain biking e-revolution, it took me quite a few years until I figured out what I wanted to do with it. Until last year, in fact, when I graduated from grad school facing debt and an exceedingly modest financial future and figured I’d see what this long-time hobby could really become. I migrated it to wordpress, started paying attention to viewing trends, and putting more thought into content.
Today, a rough average daily view count is over three times what it was twelve months ago.
This is very gratifying, but views aren’t everything. I have no desire to become the most popular blog which deals with outdoor adventure and the issues which envelope it. I do want to become one of the more influential ones. Outdoor adventure is a culturally significant, participant driven, deeply democratic endeavor; all things too often lost amongst the noise of accomplishment and gear reviews. Looking at the stats from the past 13 months on wordpress, my top five posts are (ignoring the home page, annobiblio, Mission Statement, and Freshly Pressed “Winter is Coming”) are, in order: The Hardest Trip I’ve Ever Done (Yet), the Bob Open page, the Marquette BC ski review, the Classic race report, and On Hiking in Winter. I’d be very pleased to let those stand as a CV, and as a representation of what I’d like this blog to do and stand for.
How to make this blog better is a difficult question. Perhaps the major reason for starting it was to improve my writing, and I’ll continue to do that, with a commitment made right now to make more space for and be more deliberate with how I work. I’d like to improve and diversify the media content, but the main barrier to that is technological and would require funneling travel funds towards cameras, computers, and software. A more problematic commitment, but one I’ve been contemplating for quite some time, and should probably move further towards.
This segues naturally into the stickiest issue: money. It’d be convenient, for a variety of reasons, to have income from my work here. Problem is that beyond selling photos (something we’re looking into), I can’t think of a way to do this which doesn’t give me compelling reason to throw up in my mouth. I’m not ipso facto opposed to adds, but am quite sure that anyone for whom I’d be willing to advertise has no reason to use this blog as a platform. I have a lot of projects I think many would find illuminating, but free gear only goes so far and seems like quite a slippery slope once it gathers momentum. And don’t get me started on sponsored posts.
Not to be dramatic, but I’d rather delete this whole thing and walk away than compromise what I’ve tried to make this project, or what I hope it will continue to become.
So today is a good day to think about the next five years. Where I want to be, and what I want to be doing. I really like blogging, a process of which writing is only a modest part, and am looking forward to the future. With this in mind, please comment below with answers to any of the following questions. Or if you prefer, answer some or all of the same questions as part of an anonymous survey.
As always, thank you for reading. It’s been privilege which has far exceeded my hopes and expectations.
-What do you value most about Bedrock & Paradox?
-What would you most like to see changed? (and how?)
-Is there any other feedback you’d like me to integrate into the blog in the future?