Six Years!

Frankly CuriousToday is the sixth anniversary of Frankly Curious. On this day back in 2009, I published Everything Interesting for Everyone Interesting. It was a little 500 word essay to explain what the site was supposed to be about: interesting material for interesting people. And I think it has lived up to that mission. I can’t honestly say how interesting the material is, but the website is frequented by a large group of interesting people. We now get several hundred unique visitors per day, but I’m more impressed by the statistic that we get over a hundred people per day who come directly to the home page to check in to see what we are up to.

That’s probably the biggest change from last year. There is more of a sense of community now than there was even then. I’ve long been jealous of other blogs who don’t get nearly the traffic that Frankly Curious does, but that still had more regular visitors. It’s kind of like a bar. There are neighborhood bars where everyone knows each other. And there are bars in the mall that do a lot of business but are impersonal. I’m glad to be turning into more of a neighborhood bar.

I also had one huge article this year, The Shocking True Story of Twin Chickens. When that story came out, it went crazy — for a week or more. That was nice because it was an article I worked on a lot and ended up being really pleased with. It also answered a question that I had long wondered about. But it didn’t cause the blog to grow. The vast majority of the people came, read the article, and left. Frankly Curious is, after all, not about chickens or farming or anything related to that. That’s not to say that we didn’t pick up some regular readers because of it. But most people didn’t even click from the article to the home page to see what the blog was about.

Another big source of traffic was an article from over a year ago, College of Architecture and Planning Sign Is a Joke. That’s one of those articles that prove just how lazy most people are. There are huge arguments about the sign, but no one is willing to do even the smallest amount of research. So they came to that page. And that made me write another article, Update on the Ball State College of Architecture and Planning Sign — It’s Still a Joke. But again, these visitors did not stick around.

Another change this last year was the implementation of a strict publishing schedule. That sounds like it would make managing the site harder, but it was the opposite. It allowed me to work ahead of time and manage things better. We were doing six articles per day. I brought that down to four now, which works a lot better. It gives me time to do other things. And it is not overwhelming for those people who think they ought to read everything. And four articles per day is more than enough for a blog that is done by just one person.

Regardless, it is amazing that this site has been around for six years. Even more amazing is that it seems to be running better than it ever has been. For so many years, we were just limping along. Now it seems more like a machine. And other than, you know, writing the articles, it all pretty much takes care of itself. But I keep adding to it — trying to make it a bit more interesting. As you have probably noticed over the past couple of days, there is now the “Recycled Genius” post at the top of the home page. And by the time you read this, I expect to have up a comments page. If you have any requests, let me know.

But thanks to everyone who makes this site interesting. I’d mention you all by name, but I’m sure I would leave some people out. But you know who you are.

Afterword

Because of my varied freelance work, I’ve been forced to because a business. So I’ve just started to set up Frankly Curious Media. There isn’t going to be much there — just business stuff: clients, work examples, prices. But if you know people who need work done, you can send them over there where it will be more professional than our freewheeling stuff here.

7 thoughts on “Six Years!

  1. Yeah, you will see me until you drive me off with a pointy stick or the other regulars make it very clear I am unwelcomed. :)

  2. It’s impressive work. What I’ve enjoyed most is what I enjoy in any good essayist; the progression of how one looks at the world. I love reading how a Coates or Jacoby came to believe what they believe.

    Since we’re all going through the same process ourselves, reading the ways others approach social-political issues over time can be a good source of inspiration, both positive and negative. “That sounds like an interesting way to look at this, I will try it” or “oh, Lord, that’s not an avenue I have any interest in exploring.”

    • Thank you. Of course Coates and Susan Jacoby do something different; I think it is called serious and considered writing.

      But blogs are quite interesting in that regard. That was very much true of Andrew Sullivan. It would have been more interesting to read me from 2002 through 2004, when my thinking really began to change. But even if you look at my libertarian writing, it’s still clear it is from a leftist perspective. So the real change was from a utopia view to a practical one. I certainly find myself writing paragraphs and thinking either that I don’t actually believe it or that I’m opening up a can of worms that will cause people to be confused. Regardless, it is an interesting journey.

      • Well, yeah, they’re the gold standard along with a handful of others. But writing isn’t a competition. “Today’s race features Thomas Frank in lane 1 and Rick Perlstein in lane 2 — John, who do you think has the edge?” “Well, Bob, while Frank typically runs better on high-altitude tracks, Perlstein has a bit more fire after the controversial false start last month, so I’d say he’s the favorite.”

        You’d probably win the word count event of the decathlon, though. At least for current writing. Essayists of the past would get the dreaded tl;dr if they worked today.

        • That’s for sure. People hate William Hazlitt and he is so great.

          What’s happened to Thomas Frank? He took off a year ago to write a book and we haven’t heard anything from him. I still think a writer can put out a couple of articles while writing a book!

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