I was interested to find that one of my sites, Piddleville, which has been horribly neglected recently, still accounts for most of the traffic I get. People continue to find it using the long-tail approach – looking for something very particular (a movie, often searched with a particular year associated with the title, like Rio Bravo 1959) and finding it. People don’t land on the same page; they land on a wide variety of pages – it all depends on what they’re specifically looking for.
In a world where we talk about real-time conversations, this intrigued me. What does it mean when people are looking for past-time conversations as well? I suppose you could argue these are not conversations but information that may lead to conversations. I’m not sure that’s the point though.
When we speak of real-time I think we are talking about the topics of the moment, the current conversations. What the main Twitter web page would call “Trending Topics.” But there is a great deal of information, including conversations, that could be called “past-time” (for lack of a better word). In fact, they often inform real-time discussions as reference points and background.
I think what I’m trying to say is that we shouldn’t get so consumed by the idea of “real-time” that we forget that other thing, “past-time,” which contains a great deal of what we rely on to maintain those current topics and, sometimes, is interesting in and of itself, regardless of whether it’s the topic of the day. For myself, I often find the most interesting topics or information have nothing to do with what is the subject of the day but something entirely off-topic, even obscure – just because it fascinates me and because I can.
That was actually the whole idea behind Piddleville, a site devoted to movies and my gut responses to them. I had no interest in being another movie site regurgitating the marketing of the day with latest releases and then, after the weekend, announcing box office returns as if they were baseball or hockey standings.
I was actually more interested in what was not current. Initially this was what is usually thought of as classic Hollywood – movies of the thirties and forties and like that. But that was too restrictive as I realized what I was really interested in was almost any film that was not on the current week’s plate of “new movies.”
I struck me that these films that had vanished in time’s vault, even those as recent as a year or two ago, all had the investment of directors, actors, writers, cinematographers, grips and on and on, not to mention the financial investment, that equated to a lot of very hard work by a great deal of people, and was often lost in the hype over the blockbuster of the week.
In other words, why not write a blog about movies that may have been missed but were worth a look? What I ended up with was quite a few old black and white movies, but also quite a few movies that were only a few years old.
I’m surprised by the traffic they generate (nothing huge, mind you) and equally surprised by the comments they often get. For example, you would be amazed by how many people are interested in Rio Bravo!
Real-time is nice but it isn’t everything. And, sometimes, real-time is dependent on past-time. (Actually, you could probably argue that all of our real-time conversations are dependent on past-time. And as the occur, they immediately become part of the stream of past-time.)
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