With the end of 2005, I’ve had a chance to spend some time looking at how this site is used, and, sadly, my general impression is validated with that data… Warning: After the past few months, I’m pretty down on the whole belly dancing thing, and that’s going to come through in this message. My apologies in advance. Let me cut right to the chase:
Over 400 people are registered and have access to post material here on this site – but no one is.
There are a few visitors that consistently visit and consistently post their information, and I am thankful for their participation. That said, any concept of a “community” I had hoped would evolve with this space has failed to materialize. Now, I have to focus on this site and its future.
The last “forum post” of any kind was almost two months ago. The last comment posted here was more than 10 weeks ago. While I can provide what appears to be excellent coverage with search engines for material you put here, it’s almost entirely material *I* put here. I don’t need another space to spew my own thoughts (I’ve already got one of those and no time to write there). On the positive side, even this dark little corner of the web has attracted over 45,000 visits just through search engines from people around the world looking for dance-related content (and, surprisingly, a large number from France, Germany, Australia and Malaysia). Those people should be finding your material, but so far, your material isn’t here to be found.
So, good search engine magic isn’t enough to attract significant participation here, and despite my own [admittedly sporadic] efforts to stir up some commentary with dance-related items from the media, this site doesn’t seem to work for you. There are plenty of discussion sites out there (bhuz, orientaldancer.net, tribe.net, yahoo and so many more (many of which are available here too). Discussion stuff was always pretty speculative for this place, but I figured it couldn’t hurt to try something with a more local focus.
The original purpose here was the calendar, and even there, only a few people are posting their events. I know it’s not the prettiest thing, but it was intended to serve a very particular purpose that is still, I think, unmet: A [mostly] regional calendar with a full array of up-to-date events and happenings from a good number of the performers in the area. Straddling the boundary between the dozens of individual calendars on each of your personal sites and the limited updates of the WAMEDA and Baltimore Bellydance calendars. My hope was that by allowing the people responsible for organizing events to promote their events with a simple fill-in-the-blank form, rather than waiting for me to get around to posting their material it would be a) more useful and b) more accurate. The bigger idea was to help you find your audience.
I had plans to expand the calendar effort pretty significantly, and add some neat features that would help you with your own web sites (giving you tools to pull your own events from this site into your site so you only have to update one place), but there seems to be little point in making that effort given the level of participation.
This all leaves me with one last general appeal to the public, to follow this one, which has had no response. This time, I’m going to be a little more stark and blunt:
Is there any point in running this site? If so, what do you want from it?
I hate arbitrary deadlines as much as the next person, but in the interest of not wasting any more of my time, let’s say we figure this out by the end of January, or I’ll just pull the plug on the whole thing and move on to something else. Maybe it was just a bad idea; I’m ok with that.