Wednesday, March 21, 2007

Big Changes At Popsurfing

I've been popsurfing for about 15 months now. I was itching to continue the habit of blogging I developed when I was contributing modestly but regularly to Americablog in its early days. And of course pop culture is my main beat. It's been fun, but I need to pull back. I was gone for a week and still haven't sorted through all my emails. In a few weeks, I'll be gone for a month again covering the Cannes Film Festival. I've got to devote two weeks -- full time-- to trying to put my taxes in order. Something's gotta give and it's gonna be popsurfing.

If I'd wanted to try and turn this into an actual business, I would have had to focus it on one underserved area -- a successful blog covering all of pop culture has too many major outlets like Entertainment Weekly and Hollywood Reporter and even IMDB and about a million other sites to compete with. (I might still do that down the road with a blog focusing on books; it's almost impossible to find out what's being released each week in bookstores.) To succeed commercially, you need to focus on one genre or even one tv show or a particular style of music and then duke it out with the hundreds of other blogs devoted to the same topic. But I was never interested in doing that. This was all about just having fun.

I'll still blog but it will only be when I've got something to say -- no more daily postings on the overnight TV ratings, or the weekend box office, or the music charts in the US and the UK or the book charts or breaking news or anything of that sort. When I've read a good book or want to talk about a show or CD or simply want to critique some lazy journalism, I'll blog. But for now I'm going to try and step away and not feel driven to post constantly throughout the day. You might check the blog once a day or once a week to see what I'm up to and frankly that's all most anyone has done anyway. There will just be a lot fewer postings for you to read.

Thanks to the tens of people who've visited here on and off and provided comments and feedback (and even a little money in the form of donations). I'll still be here, just without the rabid intensity of before. Maybe I'll miss it and come back full force. (It's been a major effort NOT to post the new Billboard Top Ten CDs article, for example.) Maybe I'll go cold turkey and find I have time to rediscover my wife and play with the kids ("Who are you?" they'll ask when I walk into their room.) and actually get ahead at work. And if anyone wants to donate say $50,000 I'll be glad to keep blogging full-time. Otherwise, thanks for surfing.



Anonymous said...

Good luck, Michael. And I like the idea of a book blog; I've been wondering why you don't list your "Best of" the same way you do movies and music.

Michael in New York said...

I don't do a best Of for books because I don't even come close to reading all the significant books of the year I'd have to in order to come up with a list even remotely as comprehensive as the one for movies or music (or TV). Right now I'm reading "The Life and Opinions Of Tristram Shandy, Gentleman" which is a classic but won't help me a bit in detailing the top books of 2007. Same for theater - I just don't get access to enough Broadway shows to feel my list would be meaningful. If I wanted to do a book list, I would have to focus on nothing but new books all year and probably slack off in other areas like film or music. It's truly a full time job. My main idea for the book blog is that there's no easy way to keep track of the books coming out every week (even for people in the industry) and attention is rarely paid to genres like scifi and mystery and kid's lit and art books and so on. It would be a tremendous amount of work, but I'd compile a database with top new releases from all categories and then new releases in major genres like those (along with fiction and history etc) orgasnized week by week. There's a real need for this in the book industry and I actually think it would be profitable but I don't have the technical know-how to create it and it would be a major, major effort to start up.