Reaching a million of anything is an accomplishment and a joy, but it also forces you to reflect on what was and where you once stood as you wonder if you’d stayed the course and kept a finite focus, readership would likely be over Ten Million — 10,000,000 — reader/hits/visitors today instead of just a million.
In November 2007, when we were only the Urban Semiotic blog — we were close to smashing the one million mark — and we did just that a few weeks later! It’s hard to imagine how many millions of readers we’d have tallied by now if we’d stayed a single blog.
We didn’t stay a single blog, though. We had other interests and avenues to explore and blogging platforms were wild and alive and begging for exposition.
We kept Urban Semiotic standing with WordPress.com and we started a Boles University Blog on Google’s Blogger, and a WordPunk blog on a distant Apple service, and we had RelationShaping on TypePad and Celebrity Semiotic on something hosted by Microsoft — Windows Live Spaces? — that was later devoured by Automattic.
Go Inside Magazine wasn’t a blog — yet — it was still a standalone, static page, online only, magazine that was one of the first of its kind when it was founded on November 27, 1996.
So, we had a lot of blogs, and I made my first attempt at creating a Boles Blogs Network by moving them all under the horrible Movable Type umbrella on Media Temple until I finally realized all those services were hollow and unhelpful as time and tide took TypePad into shallow waters, Movable Type was gone, MSFT was out of the space, and Blogger hadn’t been routinely improved for Ages.
What to do?
I had to congeal all those disparate efforts back into what Urban Semiotic once was right at the start of the fleshing — Boles Blogs: A Megalith Publication platform that knew no bounds — so everything was moved back to WordPress.com as separate, but equal, blogs with a single, backend, administrative console.
Once back on WordPress.com, we added even more blogs — Boles Blues, Carceral Nation, Dramatic Medicine, Scientific Aesthetic, 10txt, Panopticonic, Memeingful, United Stage and, finally, Go Inside Magazine became a dynamic publication as a database-driven blog with 17 years of archival posts ready for reading anew.
For many years, we wrote 14 blogs as — The Boles Blogs Network — and we kept them all alive until I realized a year ago that the blogging space was compressing and Twitter and Facebook and other Social Meshes were here to stay.
I briefly considered hosting all 14 blogs myself in one WordPress.org multi-site installation, but running 14 blogs in a single database didn’t seem like a smart, long-term, resolution, and so I just kept it all on WordPress.com and we became this Boles Blog you’re reading now with all of our previous content imported for singular serving.
This super-concentration of blogs, along with the now imported, and no longer static, Go Inside Magazine archives, created a really deep and rich space, and it is so much easier to manage, edit and produce work for one, dedicated, publication effort than it is trying to keep spreading the world thinner across a bog of blogs.
Today, as we mark our millionth reader/hit/visitor — we are grateful to you for helping us meet that million person milestone — and yet there’s also a touch of melancholia as we realize how we started over more than 14 times with each blog notion, and we are forced to not count, but reckon with, the missing millions we gave up to regroup and re-strategize, and that’s something that is always with us in the invisible ether of our long history of sharing moments of virtual truth with you on the internet.