Monday, April 13, 2009

How A Time Traveler, An Angel, and a Designing Woman Saved This Little Old Blog From Extinction

Lame Attempt At Humor Department by "Hugh Jee"

As the late Rod Serling used to propose on The Twilight Zone.....
Submitted for your approval- here we have a man using the screen name of "Hugh Jee", writing about the things that interest him- sports, books, films and a massive doses of politics, on his little corner of the blogesphere, a creation with the somewhat warped name USELESS TRIVIA AND MINDLESS RANTS. After a small dent in readership after its creation in the fall of 2008, the little blog grew steadily but slowly through the election cycle of 2008. And after the election of President Barack Obama, the interest in his blog ceased. His readership began Christmas shopping (never to return); Hugh Jee made a big Thanksgiving dinner, dutifully got his flu shot, and three days later he got the flu; and upon recovering he too went Christmas shopping, vowing to return after the first of the New Year....and when he did, his readership was gone. And so was his inspiration. He didn't have George Bush or Sarah Palin to kick around anymore. Like BB King used to sing...."The thrill was gone".

And that didn't even include the cataract operation dear old Dad had in January- I did alot of driving for him, and took care of the things he was unable to do for most of the month.

But this blog was in the tank...the only thing missing was Ed Grimley, I must say, pronouncing this blog "as doomed as doomed could be". So after a month of apologies about the lack of new content (and the lameness of anything new I did manage to write), it became was time to shift the focus of this blog from 90% politics to something more balanced. As told in the blog description, much of what you see here is modeled after CBS SUNDAY MORNING. It still deals with current events, and I still talk about politics. But this version is a blog that gets political rather than being a political blog. One thing I wanted to do was talk about people, and make it more people-centric I wanted to shine a light a people you may have heard of, but tell you somethings you may not know about them. I think with the steady flow of bad news everyday we needed to hear some positives.

I also wanted to include some more pop culture. Now, I despise reality TV; in my opinion, its indicative of the dumbing down of America (but that's another story for another entry). There are about 6-10 shows on TV that I really like, most of which were or are limited series, with a beginning, a middle and an end. And I if you haven't noticed , when I like a show I become like a tent show evangelist, combing the world for converts.

And of course, I deal with sports alot...I did a series about former Rutgers athletic director Bob Mulcahy and his ouster, and the role the Star-Ledger had in his demise. And I talked quite a bit about college sports- particularly women's college basketball. I've been a season ticket holder for Rutgers games for years.

Now, if you're still reading this you're probably thinking....where is he going with all of this stuff? But bear with me- its all going to come together.

I began a series called Making a Difference, talking about celebrities and about everyday people, and the things they do to make the world just a little bit better. We had Derek Jeter and his work with kids, Warrick Dunn and his building homes for those who need them, rock star Dave Mason and his devotion to the cause of getting American war veterans back on their feet with jobs and education.

On March 2 I did a profile of former QVC host, fashion designer, and President of Miss America's Outstanding Teen Kim Parrish and her role in mentoring young women in a society that has fewer female role models, and her organization's part in helping charities such as The Children's Miracle Network. And something very odd happened....and very gratifying on several levels.

I checked my blog stats several weeks ago to see what were the most queried topics from GOOGLE on this blog. In the middle of March, the Kim Parrish entry accounted for nearly 50% of all visits to this blog. A week later, the same entry surpassed 50%.

And for the entire month of March, the Kim Parrish entry was the reason 70% of all visitors clicked onto this blog. UCONN TRIVIA was second, with 10%. In January this blog had a minimum of 255 kilobytes per day downloaded. In March it was over 5,000 KB, and peaked recently at 8,712 KB's downloaded in a day. The GOOGLE page rank went from a "0" to a middle of the pack "4" and rising.

But there was more....

The UK discovered this blog as well, because of our entries chronicling the BBC show that debuted in the United States last month, Ashes to Ashes, and because of interest in the stars, Philip Glenister and Keeley Hawes (and yes, I do devote alot of webspace to Keeley, Philip, A2A, Life On Mars, David Bowie, and even Roxy Music...I'm like an unpaid publicist for the BBC!) Now, A2A accounts for less than 10% of all traffic to this blog... but for the month of March 87% of all search queries from the UK were A2A related- about the show, the actors, the music, the BBC....and of course, for David Bowie.

And they say on the show....everything is significant.

Then on March 31 I wrote a piece on the women's NCAA tournament, the first two regional finals on the "Road to the Final Four". And in closing, I did some final thoughts about what I had just seen. Louisville had just beaten a favored Maryland team to advance to St Louis and a date with destiny. Louisville star Angel McCoughtry felt disrespected by ESPN's Kara Lawson, and in a post game interview she called out Lawson on national TV. Here's what I had to say.

Notes.....Angel McCoughtry called out ESPN's Kara Lawson for her lukewarm feelings about Louisville, and really came across like The Louisville Lip, Mark II. Earth to Angel....Kara Lawson has won a NCAA championship at Tennessee, a WNBA championship with the Sacramento Monarchs, and an Olympic Gold Medal in Beijing last year...just focus on St.Louis and the Oklahoma Sooners, and Stanford or undefeated UCONN down the road. And please, the whining and the negative body language and facial expressions aren't going to cut it at the next level.

After Louisville had lost to UCONN in the National Championship game I wrote a piece about the superior numbers UCONN always seemed to get in the recruiting wars, and that's how they remain a mega power in women's basketball, with all challengers chasing them. A portion from that entry was quoted on a Louisville website, as were my reaction to Angel McCoughtry and her facial expressions and body language....when calls went against her, she always looked like you ran over her puppy with a steamroller, and then you wanted her to clean up the mess.

Because of a few sentences and one blog entry about Angel McCoughtry, roughly 30% of all traffic to this blog last week were about her body language, her expressions, and her feud with Kara Lawson. Teamed with the Keeley Hawes/ A2A traffic and the Kim Parrish queries, the Angel article resulted in the most successful overall week this blog has ever had, with the 8,712 KB's in a day that was mentioned before.

And the Angel article was responsible of a jump in page rank of 200,000 spaces(!) in the TECHNORATI blog ranking. Yeah I know...that's a pretty big jump caused by a short paragraph of three sentences.

Had I known that was going to happen, I might have chided her sooner.

But that's it...three articles about three very different ladies, and we're back in business ladies and gents.

Now.....the cynic may say that my combining more information about these three women in this long winded pat on the back for the success of this blog might be a mere cheap stunt to get even more readership to these pages.

All I can say to you is....don't be so cynical.

But then may be right.

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