PiercingMetal Musings: 2011 – The Year In Blogging

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I have to laugh when I realize just how much I love having a blog for PiercingMetal.com and that is because when I first toyed with the medium it was hardly on my plate of interests and really something that was being scoffed at by the more “traditional” music journalists and the various publicity representatives that someone like me has to deal with on a day to day basis. I kid you not because there was a time when I distinctly remember hearing “this ISN’T a blog is it???” when I would reach out to some press people for products or show tickets to do reviews for the site. Nowadays there are blogs everywhere and not only do the record companies have them, but so do the bands, the publicity firms and of course the writers and photographers who are aiming at doing the best work possible for the various topics that they focus on. Oh yeah, and everyone else outside of those folks seem to have one too. These days the once maligned medium is not only accepted but practically expected of a creative resource and since I really love doing it, I say fantastic to that news. Anyway, so while I realize that I have some thoughts about blogging in my Editorial for 2011 over on the main site, I wanted to use this narrative on the Musings to look deeper into how we were using it in 2011 and what we hope to accomplish going forward in 2012. In that, I decided to point out a few of the most commonly used categories and discuss my overall thoughts about them and what I loved or didn’t about some of the categories this past year. Read on my friends.

The Concert Reviews: This is my most populated blog category of them all and that’s because we do tend to see a lot of concerts. Very early on in the blog’s beginnings the Concert Reviews were merely signposts that had a brief introductory sentence and a band logo. When the readers clicked the logo they were teleported over to the main PiercingMetal.com site where they could now enjoy the full on report and images from the show. That started to change slightly in 2009 and 2010 but really took on some life of its own in 2011. Periodically I would find myself taking photos of the fans that I meet on the front barricade or shots of the available merchandise. There were even times when we ran into other Metal personality at a show and snapped an image of them with the other talent. These kinds of images were worth sharing but did not truly fall into the context of the live concert galleries so I began to post them in these signposts. From time to time we have even posted videos that were captured at the shows in these blog posts and while they also “live” on our YouTube.com channel for the site, they are best enjoyed right here in the blog. I love sharing this kind of stuff with the readers because it brings everyone into an often unseen side of the bands adventures. I also enjoy hearing the fans thoughts about these same shows in the comments section and here is the only place that PiercingMetal.com can have comments. Our existing design does not allow us to have them on individual review articles. Fans should watch for a lot more in this area in 2012.

Heavy Metal Holy Sh*t: This category actually got its start in the last ¼ of 2010 and since it was used a little more than expected in 2011, I am now bringing it up to describe what it actually is. Essentially it is any event in the Heavy Metal or Hard Rock music world that really hit me out of left field and struck the Metal Republic with a sense of awe. Something I didn’t ever expect to find being the case or an incident that made me stare blankly at the screen with an open mouth saying “Holy Sh*t”. I started this when Mike Portnoy left Dream Theater and used it to follow suit when something of earth shattering Metal consequence took place. Having this in the blog let’s other fans speak their minds about the occurrence as well and I really like that. Bring me your views friends.

Around The Metal Republic: I used this category a little more this year and its prime focus was to speak to several topics such as the breaking news that everyone else seems to be tossing their opinion into the mix on or if I happened upon a music related display and felt like sharing it with readers. I also used it for some off the cuff adventures and observations and toasts to certain accomplishments. It’s really worked out in 2011 and I would love to play around in this area again when it is possible.

Website Stuff: Right now this is my “catch all” area for the blog as I’ve used it to showcase links to my Editorials and Best-Of lists on the main site and also to present my views on industry related items such as Spotify or Google Music. For the past year or so I have even used this for the ongoing discussion segment about the myriad of Social Networking mediums that are out there and how I am applying their use as a journalist and photographer. Considering how often these particular mediums seem to pop up I might have to revisit this category and split some of the postings into a more succinct criteria.

PiercingMetal Says: Very simply my title for an “editor speaks” kind of post. This is where I get to be a little taller and stand on the soap box. I used it sparingly and as you might notice it’s been listed as a second category for those items where it makes most sense. Right now its been used for “Big Tour” announcements that I sometimes see other Metal Blogs bringing to the table and since we know our readers like me to keep them abreast I use some of the same tactics to continue to feed your Metal hungers.

When The Music Died: My Father always says how the only things certain in life are death and taxes and I have to agree with him. It’s one of those sad facts of life when it comes down to it. This “When The Music Died” category has been used on the blog since almost the beginning and while it’s not really my favorite area based on the subject matter, I feel that with my position as a music scribe that I should speak to any deaths of note when the Grim Reaper taps one of our Metal favorites. I have to say that I found myself using this category a little too often for my liking in 2011 as talented individual after talented individual set a course for Valhalla. Sometimes I was more in tune with the person who passed and could speak a little more about them in the memorial but there were other times when I was merely a casual listener and had used this forum as a means to say “Hail and Farewell”. Another thing that we did with this category this past year especially was to reflect on specific anniversaries that had come up. When someone of note has been gone for ten, fifteen or even twenty years I wanted to be able to reflect upon the passing and speak to how much has changed since they left us. Reader response has been amazing to these memorial posts and so many share their own personal stories on what made these individuals so important to the Metal Community. So while I do not look forward to posting memorials, it is pretty safe to assume that the need will arise more than I can possibly anticipate.

PiercingMetal Artist Focus: It’s hard to believe but I did not do a single “Artist Focus” in 2011 and that was of course unplanned. At the end of the day I just had too many other irons in the review/blogging fire to address this particular angle. Legacy site readers might remember how this was once listed on the main website as “Artist Of The Month” but I hated it there not long after launch. In the blog this takes on a whole new dimension and encourages the readers to tell us why they might agree or disagree with our position on the artist. This year I would love to feature no less than five such artists but that is not always easy since it’s only successful if a strong body of their work has already been reviewed on the website.

Convention Adventures: In 2010 I covered the NY Comic Con for the first time as a member of the accredited press. I am not sure what kept me from looking into this before because I am a rabid comic book fan but it is what it is. I loved the idea of presenting this kind of event to the readers because when it came to the comic book medium, there are tons of Metal heads interested in the stuff. It gave me a number of cool posts and allowed me to celebrate the medium so we returned to this particular convention in 2011 and also expanded on this kind of thing a bit more and explored industry specific things such as the Blog World and New Media Expo, the Book Expo America, Photo Expo and the uncanny Toy Fair. Readers can be rest assured that all of these incredible events will be attended for their viewing pleasure in 2012 if the scheduling can be worked out and proper credentials secured.

Comic Booking It: As I just mentioned we attended the Comic Con a couple of times as press and actually there was a need to focus on a couple of comic releases as well in 2010. 2011 found this idea coming to larger fruition and that was based on the sheer number of cool comic related happenings coming to pass. The biggest had to be September’s DC Comics initiative of “The New 52” and I blogged about that extensively on PiercingMetal Musings with a chapter that focused on each different grouping of the companies new titles. The original plan was only for the first two issues of these titles but I decided to continue the series of blogs up to issue #6 for the reader’s enjoyment. Perhaps the ability to expand into a few key Marvel and Dark Horse Comics happenings in 2012 will be the case but only the time and provisions will allow for that to happen.

So there you have it, a brief examination of last year’s blogs and now it’s time to focus on that which will take place in 2012. You can be rest assured that the year will keep me busy in this particular part of PiercingMetal and that we might even need to add more categories that reflect our interests, findings and adventures upon the music scene. We always ask that if you like what you are reading that you share it on Facebook and please continue to leave topical comments on the various postings that we offer up. By hearing your own voice and views I know more about what interests you and can investigate all the more into them for everyone’s benefit. According to the WordPress Annual Report that I got sent our top commenters were The Finnish Ambassador, Jason Cruz, Rys, Lenny and Tom Ewok. Thanks to everyone for your added views, keep them coming and perhaps we name you in next years recap. Clearly readers are enjoying what we are putting out there based on the statistics we examined because the blog alone received 121K views in 2011 and the new year is already off to a good start. Last year we posted just under 175 new blog posts and while it’s too early to guess if I can come close in 2012, you can bet your bottom that I am going to try my best to surpass it.

PS: Before I forget to ask this. Is there anything specific that you readers want to see more of in this area or wish that we did on the blog? Just let me know about it and I will see what can be done to address this. I love having this additional channel for PiercingMetal.com

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