Grow to a news magazine, or shrink to a blog? Choose your own adventure! Also: If you’ve been thinking you want to help out with HD, now would be the time to chime in.
Put simply, I’ve got my fingers in too many pies. This site is the main one, a vast expanse of flaky crust hiding sweet fruit filling within, but I have a few other smaller side projects that are being pesky in terms of time and attention required that I would really like to get around to as well, and blogging here at HD isn’t affording me the luxury of much else in the way of pastimes right now.
It feels to me that HD is at a crossroads, and a choice must be made. One option would be to pursue an agressive agenda of expansion and self-promotion, which is the line of thought I seem to have trapped myself in over the past few days. I look at the stats and think “gee, xxx visits / xxxx pageviews is nice, but the content I’m providing is worth at least twice that.” This is probably an exercise in egotistical self-delusion, but I can’t shake the thought that if I just tweaked the interface, opened things up a little some how to make them more accessible, people would start coming and say, registering on the forums or something.
As it is, though, I know there just isn’t enough content being generated here to warrant that sort of attention. I’m at my limit; as long as I have a day job I can’t push out any more than what I’m doing right now. What this means is that to expand, HD would need a staff of at least one other person committed to generating content and keeping things afloat. Quite apart from my reluctance to share my baby, I’m not sure that such a person exists (let alone more than one) who is not already involved either in his or her own project, or a larger affair with which I might find myself in indirect competition.
I’m not convinced that HD could provide a meaningful alternative to the array of other sites out there already purporting to do something roughly similar to what it would morph into, should this direction be taken (see here, here, here, and here; there are probably many more). I find that as-is, my ability to provide engaging, lucent material for the site has been stretched to the breaking point as I don’t have enough time to devote to individual pieces; there’s always something new coming up that needs to be dealt with.
I thought that the new format would ease the updating burden somewhat, but it hasn’t; Posts are taking longer and longer to compile. I find myself waking up these days before my 4:30 AM alarm goes off and still not having enough time to hit the “publish” button before I head to work three hours later. I don’t mind this, it’s what I do, but it doesn’t leave me with the time to provide additional special material that provides the window dressing to the meat and potatoes of the newsposts.
I’m at a loss. Should I aspire to turn HD into a competitive news and culture portal site, a more serious magazine-type affair? If so it will require even more work than it does now, at least in the short term, and for a very uncertain outcome. The benefits (should they come) would have the potential to be great, however: a more intelligent, deliberative, yet cutting-edge source of news, reviews and opinion on the world of 2D Japanese culture, hopefully fostering an equally vibrant community in the forums and 2DDB. I can guarantee we’d use better English than the four sites linked above, at least. :V
The other main option I see ahead would be a contraction of the site from its pretensions to holistic coverage to a much more blog-like style, where newsposts would shrink to what I personally might find interesting instead of trying to be all-inclusive. This approach has its own benefits, not the least of which would be the decreased (or at least more flexible) workload. Also, blogs are Where It’s At these days, from what I hear, and if one can master their own particular brand of blogging chic that can become its own magnet for inquiring eyes and minds.
Going more bloggish and less pseudo-professional seems rather attractive at this juncture, given everything else on my plate (the Comiket application deadline looms large, among other things), but by doing so I would be abandoning a potential source of revenue in the form of a more professional site, abandoning a potential future asset for leveraging things such as interviews and acting in press capacity at events, and most importantly abandoning the vision of a 2D culture-based community that I believe can be better – smarter, faster, stronger, we can rebuild him – than it currently is.
In the end, I’m just one guy trying to make my way in a very wild internet. If HD is to grow, I can’t do it alone. If it is to shrink, so be it; the quality will probably go up as a result. But I can’t continue on like this. It’s tearing me apart.
This is where you come in: I want your comments, suggestions, thoughts. You, the readership of HD, have come to matter a lot to me (perhaps more than you really should, to be honest – I started with the intent of blogging here for myself, and recently have been looking at the stats far too often), but be that as it may, many of the faceless stat numbers have shown up here over the past year and commented, put a face on the void, and for that I am incredibly grateful. I hope you’ll once again lend me your impressions now, as I just flat out don’t know which way to go.
As an aside, if you’re reading this and would be interested in contributing to an enhanced, expanded HD, now’s the time to let me know. As I said, I can’t do this alone.