Friday, May 16, 2008

How to "Block" your website? (Don't be too quick to dimiss it, guys)

A new angle for us to discuss is not only what sort of content we can create but also ways to direct readers to the content that already exists. Many of us, check out our favorite theatrical blogs through subscription (like google reader) or we just click in when we have an extra minute between the myriad of stuff that takes up your virtual and literal lives. Sometimes that means that content that isn’t explicitly embedded in the main post or that lets say has been residing on your site’s secondary columns/spaces can get passed up.

So, how do you dear reader/fellow blogger "block" the action on your website?

In the past few weeks, I've stopped by blogs to see what fellow theatrical enthusiasts are up to. While looking for process or visual content, I was not always finding it even though it already existed. For example, I went to philucifer's site to read about his process creating the character of Overman. I was so focused on the narrative that I totally missed the video content residing in the sidebar column (which was excellent strong stuff).

In another instance, I click on over to Matt Freeman's blog. Since I am used to searching blogs through the tags or labels functionality, I didn't readily find much of his content regarding When is a Clock. I said so to him in the comments. My interpretation of Matt's first response to me when I asked for more content (and I can hear it echoing through the blogoverse from many folks) was that I wasn't looking hard enough. Now, If I told that to potential audience member with whom I had little or no relationship with looking at my site, they might just simply go somewhere else where it is more evident to them where the content is. That is not a condemnation of Matt or his manner toward his audience, he and I are well aware of who each other are in a virtual sense at least, and if I were,lets say, someone new to him contemplating seeing the show during closing weekend, I would have probably gotten a very difference response. But most folks if they don’t find the content wont comment, they will simply look for something else somewhere else that tantalizes them. Most people won’t analyze our sites the way they would a contract (damn I have trouble even maintaining concentration while perusing a lease agreement). For them (and for us) it is a venue for a specific sort of entertainment, and we don’t want to have to parse a site too much to get the goodies.

Now I can already hear the detractors of the devilvet saying something like "Well, it is only hiding in plain view." But, It doesn’t hurt for us to question our assumptions about whether or not people are directed or directing themselves where we want their eyeballs to go on our websites. Where one person might dismiss the devilvet as a lazy reader, another might say that where dv glazed over content…others… maybe many others will too.

For instance, my eyes are quite accustomed to filtering out items in many side bar column sections. On many of my favorite blogs and sites, that area of the screen is populated with the sorts of fillers I am trained or conditioned to glaze over. My brain almost always dismisses that area as the place for (at worst) pop up advertising or (at best) archives of posts I've already read and or links to bloggers I already know/visit.

Even today at the 9-5, we heard about a co-worker who was at a hospital, and we decided to send an e-card through the hospital’s website. One of us went to the hospital's website for patient relations, starting reading down the bullet points in the main column asking out loud where is the e-card option...all the while missing the rose colored graphic in the upper right hand corner saying "Send an e-card".

In a world of not only increasing specialization as well as a massive amount of data (over indulgence or wealth...I let you decide)...many of us have put "filters" on our eyeballs. Don Hall and Nick Keenan are usually must reads for me, and they both put lots of stuff in his side bar column. I almost never "see" any of it.

Ideas? How do you decide where to put your content and how to flag it?

Next Week at devilvet.blogspot.com

I'll be posting an article with examples of artists from all different sorts of media that have let audiences into their creative process, in the hopes of continuing conversation many of us are having about amplifying our online content regarding our art in relevant ways.

Also, the Mammals will excitedly be making what we think is a very neat, cool announcement.

1 comment:

Paul said...

Best way I've seen to do this is subdomains (example: claycontinent.mammals.com), although it could be a beast for a theater company.