Hello everyone. I want to share some news with you hence abandoning the pretentious first person plural style and going straight to the first person singular. This is the 501st posting on this blog and it’s one of the more important ones.
When I started twickerati in May 2010 I didn’t really know what to expect. I just felt there was an opportunity for someone relatively normal to witter on about Twickenham. Someone who was not linked to any political party, local society or interest group and who wasn’t even the sort of person who wrote regular letters of complaint to the Richmond and Twickenham Times, laudable as those things are. There was a lot going on in 2010: the future of the Riverside, shops opening and closing, the planned station redevelopment, schools issues and so on. In the first few months I got very few hits on the site. A mere handful, if the hand in question belonged to a small child. Then one day someone posted a comment on one of my stories and then someone else did. Thank you Maria, thank you Chris. I began to realise that it was not just family and close friends who were following my ramblings but that other people were actually reading them out of choice rather than loyalty. Amazing! Ditto for Twitter and Facebook. In those early days I thought I’d be happy if I got one thousand page views a month on the blog and one hundred Twitter followers. Fast forward five years and the site now gets over 5,000 views a week from an audience of nearly 2,000 locals. Often more. On Twitter, @twickerati now has over 9,000 followers… although you can of course buy that number for about $100 if you really care about such trivial things.
Most of those Twickenham issues from the early days are still relevant and continue to be the subject of heated debate in our town. However, after five years of posting fresh items once or twice a week and tweeting several times a day I’ve decided to scale things back. It’s just too time consuming given other things going on: family life, the day job, building work (maybe), other hobbies, and basically just life in general. There’s no money in local blogging, I can vouch for that, although had twickerati generated even a trickle of income I might see things differently. Has it all just been a massively time consuming hobby? A bit of fun? An addiction? A labour of love? A millstone and a bind? Yes, it’s been all of those things at different times and sometimes all of them at once.
“Boring. Get to the point”, I hear you cry. Well the point is that I will be cutting right back on new postings and closing existing threads to new comments. Perhaps I’ll dabble with the occasional High Street Update, opinion piece or write something about the Rugby World Cup. I just don’t know yet but I didn’t want twickerati to become one of those websites which just stops or becomes totally rubbish without any explanation. You deserve better.
It’s been great creating something that people seem to enjoy and I’ve met some fantastic people along the way. A few of you even wrote pieces for the site so thank you again for those. And hell, some of your comments have made me laugh too – plenty of them for the right reasons and some of them for the wrong ones.
This isn’t necessarily a complete end to twickerati but it’s the end of it in its current format and I’m certainly going to enjoy taking a bit of a break from it. Well, at least I think I am.
So, if you do want to know when a new post is published your best bet is to sign up for email subscriptions (there’s a box on here somewhere) and that will save you the trouble of returning time and again to the same tedious, unchanging page. The firstname.lastname@example.org email will still be valid but please don’t take offence if your requests for publicising X, Y or Z gets ignored or if I take a while to reply to any other messages. It’s nothing personal.
Tweeting will be cut right back too. If you want to get in touch you can always find my other account on Twitter for the occasional tweet about football, running, cycling, Twickenham and other life-affirming matters. It’s here.
In the meantime, get yourselves hyped up and ready for Twickenham Festival (maybe we’ll meet there for a beer or two?), fresh arguments about the Riverside and town square developments, Heathrow battles, more El Brute shenanigans and a whole bunch of new shops opening and then closing down again. It’s what we all love about living here isn’t it?
I’ve really enjoyed the last five years of turning out regular Twickocentric updates and I hope you’ve enjoyed reading them. So, for the short term at least, thank you so much for your support Twickenham, it’s been a blast.
Wow! Thank you for all you kind words, advice and suggestions. I really do appreciate them. I have said above that I hope this is not a complete end to the blog and I will consider some of the ideas you’ve made although I won’t be leaping into anything straightaway. Just to address a few of the points raised.
Would I consider a collaborative thing? Yes, but as you’ve seen above, it’s a time consuming enterprise and previous requests for contributions have generated a bit of interest but only occasional end product. Regular writing is quite a commitment. I’d also want to ensure the ‘ethos’ of the site remained even if writers’ styles differ.
Can these things make any money? I have generated some money (about £1,500 in total) for charities Spear & Shooting Star Chase but as many a ‘real’ business knows, turning site views into any kind of regular money can be hard work. And of course the returns get smaller if they get split several ways. Sponsorship? Maybe but it needs to not affecting the editorial, he said whilst enjoying a delicious, refreshing Twickenham Ale.
Anyway, I don’t want to give too much thought to new ideas immediately but if people are serious about getting involved in something new then a pub-based discussion might be appropriate in a while.
Thank you all once again and bye for now.