Monday, February 16, 2015

A Decade Of Nonsense: Part 2

Continuing on with the celebration of my tenth year of blogging, and in this post, I am going to try to portray what it was like in those days to be blogging with no expectations and little to no exposure.

Jeff Kerkove doing some product testing circa 2005
The first post I ever made on this blog was titled "Welcome Wagon" and was indicative of most of my posts during my first year of blogging. Here's the entire text of that post:

"Welcome to the Freakshow that is Guitar Ted Productions! It is here that I will be at liberty to espouse my verbiage in an unbridled, yet entertaining fashion. I have previously been a guest on Jeff Kerkove's site, and I would like to thank him for his incredible generosity. Look for further upgrades to this site as they become technically possible for me to execute!"

The date was May 11th, 2005, and in another example of how things would go in '05 here, I actually posted twice that day. That accounts for how I was able to crank out 300 plus posts in '05 despite not starting until well into the fifth month of that year. Most of my posts had to do with local stuff, because I knew the audience was mostly local, or would be. 

Back in '05, there was no shortage of blogging cyclists. In fact, it seemed as if you had to blog or you weren't a serious cyclist. The landscape was littered with professional, semi-professional, and regional hot shots of the racing scenes who were blogging. A small shop's mechanic's blog? Yeah right! Who would even notice that, ya know? Well, I think once again, that a tip of the hat has to go to Jeff Kerkove, who immediately linked my blog, and by doing so brought a little bit of a light to my efforts. His blog was a very well read one and was becoming increasingly popular. A bit of that rubbed off on me in the beginning. 

Then there was my subject matter, which began to turn to more popular topics, like endurance racing, 29"ers, and of course, anything to do with Trans Iowa. I did a couple of series posts on suspension, a multi-post report on Interbike, and various opinion pieces on cycling. I was digging up a lot of stuff on 29"ers, and that even brought my blog under the spotlight of cycling companies. They were "lurking" and I only knew about it from Jeff teaching me to use a blog stat program. I did a couple of serial posts like "Friday Rants & Raves" which eventually became "Friday News And Views". An end of the year post in '05 was dubbed "A Look Over The Shoulder", which became "Rear View" in recent years.

Go West! And he did..........
 My style was heavily influenced by Jeff in my first year of blogging, but a couple of things happened right away that were big changes in what would happen in '06 and beyond. 

First of all, I was contacted by the owner of a Canadian based blog/cycling site called "The Biking Hub" that was mostly dealing with trail and All Mountain stuff. Cory, the guy in charge there was wanting me to write about 29"ers. I decided to give this a try, as the man wanted to act as my editor. I would submit content, and he would suggest changes, edits, and finally help me craft the posts into a finer written product than I ever would have on my own. This arrangement was a big learning experience for me. Probably the number one influence this man had, (and I wish I could remember his full name, but I lost all my old archives for this), was his take on how to do a cycling product review. I'd never seen anything or read anything like it before in my life. You all reading this today probably don't realize that at least 75% of online reviews and product news was influenced by this man's design for cycling reviews online which I copied. See if you've ever heard of the following:

  • An "On Test" article inroducing a review.
  • An "Out Of The Box" post about technical features of a product.
  • A "First Impressions" post concerning the first uses of a product.
  • The concept of "Mid-Term" and "Final Reviews". 
  • The "First Look" posts which were about seeing something for the first time at a show, race, or from a press release. 
I never saw any of this previous to my experience in '05 but these days you cannot count the number of sites that either use these terms and concepts directly, or have borrowed heavily from this structure for reviews and product news. I feel I was a big part of why that happened. But it wasn't from being a part of this long defunct Canadian based site. 

 No, that all was because I was starting to get offers to write for a competing online site called "Twenty Nine". It was run by a guy by the name of Tim Grahl who started and, but he was looking for a writer/contributor that knew more about 29"ers. I actually submitted some pieces for the site, but in those days I had zero intentions of writing for anything but that Canadian site and my own blog, which was taxing my extra time as it was. Still, Mr. Grahl was very persistent. By 2006 I was being drug into more conversations about contributing to TNI. Meanwhile, the Canadian site was fizzling out. All along the blog was getting more attention from industry folk, but my numbers didn't suggest that my audience was all that big. It was a strange deal. I had just started blogging and here were all these things starting to happen. 

Next time I'll talk about where this blog went in '06-'07 and how things got kind of crazy.

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