A View from the Tower

by Rick Rockwell

As this blog passes its first major milestone of 1,000 visitors, perhaps it is time to reflect on where we have traveled in just over a month.

So far, we have yet to hear from all the voices assembled to produce this group blog, but themes are emerging nevertheless. Independent of the blog’s editor, the writers have delved into the ever-changing nature of the internet and the video explosion on the ‘net via Youtube. This blog has also gone from fairly static to linking to various websites and adding video to entries. Essays that delve into advertising and marketing have also cropped up without any urging.

One of those entries (“Fourbucks” by Allison Doolittle) has proved to be the most provocative piece in the blog, or at least it has sparked the most outside commentary. Actually, few pieces inspire any commentary. Of the 32 other blog entries, only nine (or 28 percent) have spurred any type of reaction comment, which seems a bit below average for most blogs.

Blog writers Martha Hanna (“Generation HP”) and Molly Kenney (“American Idle”) have proved to be the most prolific commentators and the editor appreciates their attempts at enlivening the discussion in the blog. Others have also worked behind-the-scenes to help expose the blog to new readers and their efforts are also appreciated.

The software that tracks unique viewers to the blog tells us that the most popular entries are the weekly “Office Pool” football columns. But some readers come for the football and stick around to read other posts.

For those seeking more background about the blog, one of our archival entries “Raison d’etre” seems most appropriate. Most of the blog’s readers (about 86 percent) are from the U.S., however, from the start the blog attracted readers from international locations. Readers in Taiwan were the first international readers to find the blog. Since the blog’s inception, Canadians account for the biggest international group of readers with three percent. So far the blog has also found readers in: The U.K.; Australia; New Zealand; South Africa; Belgium; the Netherlands; Sweden; The People’s Republic of China; Indonesia; Malaysia; South Korea; Japan; Thailand; Singapore; India; Israel; Turkey; Egypt; Guatemala, Chile, Brazil, Spain, and Mexico.

Honors students at American University are the primary authors of this blog, and so it attracts many readers from that community. However, readers who find the blog through Facebook (see Adrienne Lee’s piece “Face to Face” for an essay on that topic) are the second largest group of readers and so the blog also has attracted readers from: Georgetown University; Catholic University; the University of Maryland; St. Mary's College (Maryland); the University of Texas; the University of London; Kettering University; Colgate; Rice; Illinois State University; the University of Central Florida; Idaho State University; the University of Pennsylvania; the University of Michigan; Northeastern University; Cornell University; various schools in the SUNY system; Lake Forest College (in Illinois); the University of Miami; Western Kentucky University; Kent State University; Marist College (in New York); Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute; and the University of Southern California.

This blog has also attracted a budding readership in such places as the Brookings Institution, the Environmental Protection Agency; and in the offices of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts. What attracted those readers is anyone’s guess, but we are glad to have them.

We are actually glad to have anyone who ventures this way and wants a little insight on culture, entertainment, and the media. Thanks for stopping and keep reading!

(Photo courtesy of jjm of morgueFile.)

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