Thursday, April 21, 2011

A Time For Change? I Ask My Readers

I have been thinking about a few things related to this blog and my social media/internet presence in general. And as you probably gathered from my last post, I have not always been happy with what I see.

Not that I never am. I have met some people, and far more of them have turned out to be nice, than have turned out to be asses. I have gotten some advice from some of the good ones as well. And some of the good ones have written comments here.

Just today I met someone over on Brazen Careerist who complimented me on this blog, and the things I say in it. That is always good to hear.

That being said, it is probably what I say, far more than where I say it that is most important. Being able to easily share my ideas as well as my  talent to as many people as possible as fast as possible is the primary concern of my online activity. And to that end, I have been kicking around the idea of changing the nature of my online presence. This blog doesn't seem to be accomplishing all of the goals I had for it when I created it, and I have pondered if trying things a bit differently would increase my chances of accomplishing more of my personal online goals.

To me, I see five several options.

1) Tighten the focus of this blog even further.

I could make the content even more specific to some aspect of myself, what I do, or what I want. Examples include converting this to a strictly introvert oriented blog. (Which in a sense it is now.) Or perhaps to a blog that is only about my writing adventures, much like Always Off Book is dedicated to my theatre adventures. Or, instead of "Too XYZ" being a general beacon of content, I could revamp every post from now on to very specifically mention the concept. Make every post an exact exploration of a particular way in which I am in fact Too XYZ.

2) Fold this, as well as Always Off Book and other endeavors into a new Ty Unglebower supersite.

This is the more complicated and more expensive approach, but one I have given more consideration to in the last two months than I have previously over the years. Everything I do would be consolidated into one central location. The archives for both of my blogs would survive and be accessible from the supersite, but future posts on a blog would then be posted to the site itself, possibly with tags or separate pages pertaining to each category. (All acting posts together in one place, all Too XYZ type posts in a another.)

I have talked this over with a few people online, and the basic idea seems possible, and as with many things there are about a dozen ways in which the same goal could be accomplished. None of which I totally understand yet. But I have a vision in my head as to how it would work. With one go-to online identity that included pictures, writing samples, a resume, and of course the always evolving blog content, I would feel more free to promote me and all that comes with me as opposed to trying to niche down everything that comes to mind. Pointing to "me" would be easier than directing different people to different places.

I have my online business card for this purpose in theory. But the company has been slow to correct some major bugs in their software, and it has never quite done what it was supposed to do. And even if it did, a supersite may still be in order.

The downside is, I feel that if I combine all aspects of my personal media into one place, each component loses a bit of something. (And in the case of Always Off Book, a project I have been working on for almost six years.) Plus I run the risk of being seen as some kind of Jack of all trades/master of none.

3) Terminate Too XYZ.

Not an easy thing to consider. But I sometimes wonder based on my numbers lately if I am continuing to reach an audience at all. I know I reach specific individuals, because they tell me so. But given how much time I put into writing a post, storing ideas for posts, publishing them, marketing them via BC and Twitter over and over, and getting in most cases little to no feedback on the ideas or posts, I am beginning to wander how much of an impact this blog is really having.

Always Off Book has been my blogging labor of love for as I said six years. I have known for a while few people read that, and it too did not accomplish what I set out for it to accomplish. (Seeing a pattern?) But That is a part of my theatre life now. I won't be getting rid of that totally anytime soon. (Except in a way, with Number 2 above.) So I know how to persist and write for a blog because it is important to me. I just don't know if it is worth the time to do that for two blogs that are not having the impact I had hoped for.

I have to wonder if the overall mission for Too XYZ has been accomplished.

4) Move Too XYZ to WordPress

Despite the fact that I have considered it, this still seems like one of the sillier options. I do not understand the hype about WordPress. I don't understand why people take a blog more seriously by default of it is WordPress than they do if it is Blogger. I find what experimentation I have done with the WordPress template to be quite confusing and counter intuitive. I am a WYSIWYG sort of publisher, and WordPress is far from that.

Yet for some as yet unexplained reason, people seem to think that a WordPress blog, as much of a pain in the ass as it is, is a better blog. Such people make style more important than substance in my view, and I have always choked on the very idea of making my content less important than the box it is in. Yet if there is any chance to beef up my readership somewhat by migrating, it may be worth it.

5) Change Nothing. Continue to promote and build an audience for a while longer.


The whole point of this recent brainstorming is to correct what I have perceived to be some of the weaknesses with my online presence as of late. There are a huge number of suggested hoops out there through which I will never be able to jump. The vast majority of the promotion and image advice I find out there, even from my decent, well meaning allies is simply not for me. That is not going to change. Yet if there are some smaller hoops out there that I can simply step through slowly which will be of assistance to my online reputation, without forcing me to alter my precepts, I am willing to take a few such steps.

The point of being online afterall is to share ideas. My ideas. The ideas will not change. The direction will not change. But the ideas have to be visible if they are to impact anyone for the better. And lately I am not sure they are getting out there. That is the impetus for these considerations.

So what does everyone think? Which of the five make most sense to you? Or would you advice something totally different? Please let me know, if we have not already talked about it privately. You can leave comments here, or email me if you prefer that.


Erik McCabe Anderson said...

Ty, I was reading something on a local blogging blog that says WordPress is valuable because it is really good at getting key search terms out onto Google. I have noticed that my posts to, which uses
WordPress, always come up on Google WAY before the posts on my blog. If you think about WordPress from that perspective, it doesn't have to be about the box being worth more than what's in it, it's about what vehicle gets your actual content to people who are looking for it.
I'm thinking about using WordPress for my blog for that very reason. I just need to make sure that my poor technical skills won't make a mess of it before I attempt to make it live.

Scrollwork said...

Ty, two questions came to mind when I read your post: 1) Do you measure your reach in terms of comments or page views? I ask because I had 50 views on a post that got just 6 comments, and 26 views on another post that got 10 comments. Which would you consider more successful at reaching my readers?

2) Who are the readers you want to reach? What are their demographics? Where do they congregate online, and have you gone there to comment/guest post to be visible to them? If you frequented just the big, "successful" blogs (nothing wrong with that per se) you might have overlooked opportunities to connect with similar-minded bloggers as yourself (who are more likely to want to and have more time to connect with you.)

I can relate to your feeling of being unlike the rock stars and unwilling to schmooze because it's not in our nature. So my approach has been to write posts that express my quirky viewpoint and then draw attention to them by commenting on blogs and forums that have readers interested in that specific topic.

For example, for a post on my eccentric love for textiles, I showed up on For another on the importance of using our gift for words, I went to SheWrites. For something on being a solo entrepreneur, I went to Jonathan Fields. You know where I'm going with this.

Your peers at Brazen Careerist have been a lot more responsive to your posts than to mine, so I've resolved not to waste my time and energy on BC. (Although I've noticed that you haven't been getting replies to your most recent ones, either. Activity on there has dropped dramatically.) They're not the audience I want to reach if they cannot relate to what I write about.

From where I sit, a supersite would be an exciting option for you. I've seen a few, and they're very organized. That way you won't have to limit yourself to a very narrow niche—you simply locate posts under topic tabs. I'm definitely graduate to that when I make money again.

Don't give up, and for heaven's sake, don't kill Too XYZ! You are very talented.

Do reciprocate occasionally when a blogger visits and comments on your blog. It's not "I'll scratch your back if you scratch mine" necessarily. It's just keeping doors open. You never know if one of my readers might hear about your blog from a comment you leave on mine.

Megan said...

So, I've been following Too XYZ for a short while now so I think I have a decent gist of what you're getting across here. I just skimmed through a handful of your Always Off Book posts for the first time so if my advice seems "off", chalk it up to lack of familiarity to AOB.

Anyhow, I like the combination idea. I don't see any reason why you can't have a super site featuring the introvert's acting journey. Maybe that's breaking some sacred blogger rule that I'm unaware of... but I think combining your expertise in the acting world with your unique ability to shoot from the hip on non-acting issues is a fun idea.

My blog was supposed to be about energy efficiency stuff and that alone. But I've found myself talking more about career development, specialized job skills across all careers, my personal journey, and more.

You have a unique voice so by all means, keep using it in every way possible - whichever option you choose.

Empoprises said...

Either option 2 or option 5 will be fine.

I have been blogging since 2003, and I have bounced back and forth between the "one all-encompassing blog" approach and the "multiple targeted blogs" approach. Presently I've gravitated toward the latter, but in truth one strategy is not necessarily better than another.

cameron plommer said...

I just moved all of my content creating over to, so I recommend the super site.

The first commenter is right about Wordpress being better optimized for Google as well.

Ty Unglebower said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Ty Unglebower said...

Thanks everyone for your compliments. I rarely doubt my writing talent. It's the marketing and promoting I get weak on at times.

Erik: I have heard that as well. I thought Google owned Blogger so I thought that would be a help. But I guess it isn't as much of an advantage as I once thought it would be, in regards to that. (Though people looking for theater advice still find the site rather often.)

ScrollWork: Excellent points all, and I do in fact do as you say. I do not comment on every single blog I read each day, but I do make an effort to comment on and mention posts that particularly speak to me.

(As for Brazen, perhaps you are right. I am not sure what to make of that at this time.)

Megan: Interesting idea, writing about the adventures of a the introverted actor. I guess in a way that is what I do, as I am both an actor an introverted. If I combined everything I would be doing that by default, without even trying.

And I agree that often times the purpose of our blogs at the start changes after a time as we read, evolve our writing, and connect with other bloggers.

Empoprises: Good point about there being no one grand strategy. Either could be the right way, which is one reason the decision could be so hard for me.

Cameron: It does seem to be working for you well. You are better at the marketing thing than I ever was, but I may be a step closer to the right way if I had one site.

Erik McCabe Anderson said...

I had another idea for your theatre blog, too. When you are in between shows, you could maybe post stories about other local theatre in the area. Maybe do reviews or just talk to the casts about what they are trying to get across. You could hear what others have to say about acting techniques and experience and then add to it with your own voice.
On Monday I'm going to interview the director of a Hood musical production for my blog and I definitely plan to supplement the material with my own community theatre background.