Friday, April 17, 2009

Spring Blogkeeping - Some changes at OC Domer

It's been fairly quiet here at OC Domer over the past few weeks. In part it's because I find it difficult to contribute to the conversation in any meaningful way during spring football practice, which I have written about before. In part it's because other events at work and at home have nudged my blogging habit to the sideline for a bit. And it's also because I have been doing a lot of thinking about the future of the OC Domer blog and what it will look like going forward. I'll have more on that in a moment, but first I want to point out some of the minor tweaks I've made to the blog in the past few weeks.

  • I've discontinued the "OC Domer International" feature on the sidebar. When I first started the blog I was pretty fascinated with my traffic and where it was coming from. The novelty of seeing hits from exotic places around the globe led to creation of the list of other countries with OC Domer readers. It was a lot of fun, but the thrill is pretty much gone and I haven't been maintaining the list for a while now. Before discontinuing the feature I was up to about 80 different countries, which is pretty cool. One interesting tidbit about the OC Domer International feature: One of the most common recurring sources of traffic to the blog was Google searches for the phrase "twirlers" from Muslim countries. There are sects in Islam that practice twirling (basically spinning in a circle really fast until one gets really dizzy and enters an enhanced state). (I know that is a gross over-simplification but I'm not interested in a treatise on religious practices right now). The humorous part is that Googling the word "twirlers" (or variations thereon) for a while would hit on my Purdue preview post from the 2007 season, which was a sarcastic look at the Golden Girl and all the other baton twirlers and band auxiliary elements surrounding Purdue's football program. Somehow I doubt that the Golden Girl is what the searchers from these Muslim nations were looking for. Or at least I hope so.
  • I have dropped the sidebar ad for the website. Not because I don't believe in the products (it's a great place for your Irish merchandise), but because I wasn't seeing any return on investment. It's actually pretty darn funny. When FootballFanatics first approached me about advertising on my blog, I really agonized about whether I wanted to commercialize OC Domer, which I do because I enjoy it, not to make money. Part of me didn't want to "sell out." But I decided that I believed in the product and would really be doing my readers a service by offering them a trusted source for their Notre Dame gear. So I opened my account with them and put up the ad. I sold my soul. And that ad generated exactly ZERO sales for FootballFanatics and ZERO cash for the OC Domer. So it's gone. I may sell out for Google Ads instead. We'll see.
  • Fairly early in the history of OC Domer I was seeing traffic coming from, but I wasn't a member of Facebook and I couldn't see what was generating the hits. So I signed up for Facebook. My page isn't very fancy, but it gives me another way to keep up with my kids, and I even have a few Notre Dame football players as Facebook friends. I have added a badge that links to my Facebook page in the sidebar, and the badge even includes my Facebook status. If you're on Facebook, "Friend me!"
  • One of the biggest stories to come out of spring football this year is that Notre Dame Head Football Coach Charlie Weis is "Twittering." Twitter is an internet application which has been called "micro-blogging." Basically Twitter allows a user to use the text messaging feature on their cell phone to broadcast short messages to anyone in the Twitter world who has signed up to "follow" that user. The user's Twitters (I think they are actually called tweets or twits?) also are automatically posted to the user's Twitter web page. Coach Weis is Twittering under the handle NDHFC. As of this moment Charlie has 1,877 followers, including OC Domer. I have installed an application at the top of the OC Domer sidebar that shows my readers NDHFC's last five Tweets, as well as a link to NDHFC's Twitter page. So come back to OC Domer to follow Coach Weis' Twitter updates, or sign up to follow him yourself. Charlie tends to send a flurry of messages in the morning when there is going to be football activity that day, and a flurry at night recapping the day's football events. He's kind of fun to follow as he doesn't really have the hang of the very brief Twitter text message format yet. He tends to send long messages that take up several Tweets. This morning's flurry of updates was all about the upcoming Blue & Gold game.
  • In order to figure out the best way to install the NDHFC Twitter feed on the OC Domer sidebar, I had to sign up for Twitter myself and tweak one of their applications to get the NDHFC feed. At any rate, OC Domer is now Twittering too. I've added a Twitter badge to the sidebar that will take you my Twitter page. If you're completely insane you can follow my utterly ordinary existence. I have a way to go to catch up with Charlie's 1,877 followers. I tend to Tweet about current events from my own Right Wing Extremist perspective.
Which brings me to the biggest change at OC Domer, and the one that I have been thinking about a lot lately. In the history of the blog I have occasionally posted my thoughts on political topics. Ironically, the political posts tend to generate a lot more feedback and comments than my very thoroughly researched and cleverly written football posts. Many of the comments I get on those posts are positive and supportive, but a certain percentage come from folks who not only disagree with me, but who feel that such posts have no place on OC Domer. Given current events in America, I have been moved to write more about politics and other topics and I have been debating about whether I wanted to put those items on OC Domer or whether I wanted start another blog focusing on politics and current events. At the end of the day I decided that OC Domer is my baby and it is who I am. I don't owe it to anybody to partition my life according to their preferences. So right now I intend to start putting more politics/current events posts on OC Domer. I expect that the vast majority of my readers will be able to cope with that. Some will enjoy the posts, some will ignore those posts. The immature will attack me for daring to post my personal opinions on my personal blog, and they will call me names if they disagree with me rather than engage in civil debate. Some will stop reading me altogether. I'm a big boy, I can take it. OC Domer will still largely be about Notre Dame and Notre Dame football, especially during football season. But we're going to be branching out and growing the brand, so to speak. I just wanted to give my readers a heads-up and an explanation before we make this minor change in course.


Anonymous said...

I welcome a sight where we can discuss some of the poltical questions.

The Obama honorarium {sp} has excited controversy nationally but little discussion, on line at least,among those of us who love and/or attended ND

I just sent BGS an apology, not for my opinions but the fact I expressed the in a venue whose purpose is not politics.

A suggestion might be, and I think you are doing this, is to separate the political topics from the other ND topics.

Indeed this site might be a unique place where ND lovers can hash out ND issues other than sports...when you comment on a topic.

Whatever our views are, and mine are quite emphatic... I think you would be providing a needed catharsis.

Keep up the good work!

Anonymous said...

Strong convictions I have but by no means immoble.
To be able to express ones views in a civilized manner with contradictory reply without venom is rare.
To share it with people who have a mutual love for "Our Lady" as they say .....priceless!


Anonymous said...


As I see it there are 5 ways to address the Obama issue.

A. Should he receive an honorary degree and speak ?

B. Receive a degree and no speech.

C. No degree but allowed to speak

D. No degree and no speech

E. Don't know or don't care

Assuming financial stability will the Obama award

A.Increase your contribution to ND this year
B. Maintain your contribution this year
C. Decrease your contribution this year
D. Eliminate your contribution this year

Anonymous said...

Put me at C for the first question and D for the second.

Anonymous said...

Is Mrs Domer "Twittering" as well?