What a difference three years makes
Three years is not a very long time.
It’s shorter than a presidential term. Shorter than the time between Winter Olympics. Shorter than high school (which, granted, lasts forever).
When we pressed “go” on this website three years ago, anything could have happened. We could have wound up a seething, steaming heap of contentious trolls; an outpost for vaguely-music-related spam and oddly obsessed weirdos; a long list of links to other sites; a dumping ground for press releases. Certainly people suggested to us all those things were imminent.
But, Kyla had this crazy idea that people might just show up with smart things to say. That the people who read No Depression in print for 13 years (and those who would have, had they known about it) were already a vibrant community used to clinking plastic beer cups at festivals and sharing cabs to shows, crashing on each other’s couches, comparing record collections, arguing Tweedy versus Farrar, etc. My job was basically to figure out what to do with content, to “do” Twitter and Facebook, and whatever else made sense.
We invited our friends first, to test out the bells and whistles, then we made the whole thing public on Feb. 28, 2009.
The first forum posted here was a test of sorts: “What’s your favorite Wilco record?” The guy who created that was the guy who convinced Kyla to create this site on the Ning network. (His name is Jonathan Hull, and his band Jones Street Station is so good, they’ve been covered by bloggers on this network who probably had no idea he was partly responsible for our existence here.) Anyway, that forum has 96 responses and is one of the more active forums on the site.
This past week, the folks who compiled the Best Music Writing anthology contacted me to ask me to nominate articles and writers posted on No Depression for that anthology. So much for “crowd sourced content” being considered less legitimate than traditional journalism.
Indeed, that was a warning (sometimes an accusation) we received from all angles when we migrated here.
In three years, we’ve gone from zero to 20,000 members.
From around 35,000 readers bimonthly in print to upwards of 130,000 unique readers every month online.
There have been almost 900 discussions in the forum and nearly 9,000 blogs posted. And, of those all those forums and blogs (with comments far too numerous for me to count), we’ve only had to close commenting on an uncivil argument once.
Sure, we opened the doors on this thing, but you folks have kept it smart, informative, creative, fun, engaging, and civil. No small task for the internet – a meeting of individuals who may have opposing views on almost everything else, for all we know; yet you come here and find things in common.
It’s nice. Thank you, from the bottom of our hearts, for that.
If you love this site as much as we do, stick around and show some love to the folks who blog here the most often, maintaining a high standard for music blogging. Swing by the profiles of our featured bloggers and give them a virtual high five. “Like” their posts or share them on Twitter. Comment. Or, share your own thoughts.
If you’re a musician or a label who finds value in this site, advertise here; if you’re not an artist or label and you want to help us out, you can donate. That’s how we pay the bills so we can stick around.
If you have ideas about how we can improve this site, tell us. If you have complaints, we welcome those as well. After all, without your support, feedback, and participation, this wouldn’t be much of a community.
It would just be me and Kyla at our computers, and a long list of links to other sites.