Recently, a college student with aspirations of becoming a Journalist and needing some practice interviewing, conducted a series of interviews with the Ridge Run Blogger.
The interviews began on the topic of the Blogging. Questions quickly became wide ranging and explored some controversial topics. Given their length, it makes sense to brake them up into parts and post pieces periodically.
Why did you start the Bridger Ridge Run Blog and when was that?
The blog went online starting in January of 2011.
Beginning with the 2011 Ridge Run, there was going to be major changes regarding the registration process. The 2011 Ridge Run registration adopted a lottery system that was rather complex. People interested in signing up for the Ridge Run needed a way to learn about the process and what was expected of them.
Informal discussion with the race director and some of the other people that were involved with putting on the race led to the obvious conclusion that there needed to be a website that hosted Ridge Run information and kept it updated with important information in a timely fashion. There already was a Ridge Run website under the running club’s website, but given the complex nature of the changes for 2011, I concluded a more flexible format was needed than the club’s website.
Starting in January of 2011, I became unemployed. This gave me the free time to do it. You have to do something with your time! So I took it upon myself and created the blog.
Are you still collecting unemployment with free time to work on the blog?
No, I do not get to collect unemployment as I was self-employed. The self-employed and small business owners do not get to collect unemployment when they lose their jobs. For the most part, they do not get counted in the unemployment statistics.
But yes, I still have some free time to work on the blog.
I did not realize the restriction on unemployment benefits. What kind of experience and background do you have that have helped you with creating the blog?
Prior to creating this blog, I had no experience with blogging. Over the decades, I have accumulated much experience writing. Experience is a poor substitute for skill. Writing has always been a challenge for me. What I lack in talent I make up for in experience as I’ve written several books and 100’s of magazine and technical journal articles.
Why did you choose WordPress to host the blog?
Probably because I was ignorant of what were the choices. The web designer that worked on one of my wife’s websites recommended WordPress. Given her recommendation and the fact that if you are willing to conform to the WordPress restrictions, WordPress hosts it for free – it was a no-brainer choice.
Now that I have learned more, there are perhaps better choices. But I’m not going to take the time and effort to change things and learn new systems. If someone wants to take over, they certainly can use another tool of their liking. But as an easy way to get information up on the Internet, WordPress works swimmingly.
Do you use any other social media such as Facebook or Twitter to keep people informed regarding the Bridger Ridge Run?
Twitter is not a very good fit. It is good for posting links and flashing short headlines, but it is unsuitable for hosting information and content.
There is a Bridger Ridge Run Facebook page. I created it out of necessity, but do not really use it. If someone takes over for me, there is a Facebook page they can work with.
Facebook is also unsuitable for hosting extensive information and content. Facebook is intentionally designed to waste your time and entertain. It is not a useful tool for getting work done, finding information and getting informed. That is my opinion. I’m not going to get into the details of why I am justified in giving that opinion, but I am!
The purpose of the Bridger Ridge Run blog is to inform, be helpful and useful for people interested in the Bridger Ridge Run. Facebook is just not a fit.
Do you have a personal Facebook page or Twitter account?
No. I do not have any interest in that.
Do you think the blog has accomplished what it set out to?
From the little feedback I have received, I must conclude that it has. At least a few people have found it helpful. In my eyes that is a success.
Does the blog get much Internet traffic and what are the most popular posts?
When the blog first started, it would get only a few hits or visits a day. By the middle of last year it was averaging 100 hits a day. It currently averages 150 to 200 hits a day. That is modest, but it adds up. As of now, it is pushing 50,000 views total. Near important registration dates and the race, there are bursts of activity as people directly link to the blog to see what is happening with the Ridge Run.
Part of the WordPress tools are statistics on what posts are the most popular and how people find their way to the blog. It is fascinating to know what posts get visited and what don’t. Search engines drive most of the off season traffic during times away from registration and race dates.
If you have a little knowledge of SEO (Search Engine Optimization) you can construct the title of a post to attract specific search phrases. WordPress gives you statistics on what search terms and phrases bring people to your blog.
For the longest time, believe it or not, the post on Compression Socks was the most popular. Probably because there just isn’t that many other web pages of reviews of compression socks out there.
The post on Plantar Fasciitis is also quite popular. On and off, some of the shoe review posts have also been popular. When you realize that hundreds of different people are reading what you have to say each day it hits you over the head that you better be responsible for what you say.
I’ve done some teaching. That is a huge responsibility knowing that you are influencing students, but the potential of the Internet magnifies that responsibility. The whole world becomes the classroom. There are 1,000’s of people that have read my blog on Plantar Fasciitis. I sure hope I didn’t wrongly influence anyone and cause them to screw their feet up!
What are your sources of information?
What do you mean?
What newspapers do you read? What are your sources of news and information?
Who do you think you are, Katie Couric?
This is a good place to break because the Interview changes topic. Look for the next part coming soon.