A quick word before I get back to work
For years I had the idea of creating a website that would merge sports and pop culture to provide readers with articulate, enjoyable pieces of writing. Unfortunately, I did not have Rick Ross’ bravado at the time and I succumbed to many of the things that were trying to hold me back. I lacked the confidence that people would be interested in reading what I had to say and I also lacked a piece of paper that denoted my supposed readiness to contribute to society after four years of independence and schooling. By the time I was ready to receive that piece of paper, my idea was no longer fresh and unique, but it still loomed in the back of my mind as something I would like to do one day. Following the Knicks’ Game 1 loss to the Boston Celtics in the opening round of the 2012 NBA Playoffs, I went into a fanatic — albeit, very therapeutic tirade via Facebook note laden with humor (I think?) and pop culture references. Unbeknownst to me, I had done exactly what I set out to do years before, and it was met with overwhelmingly positive reviews. That is how Slim Charles Barkley was born.
More than 50% of the people who clicked this link are no longer reading this, and maybe even closed the window without reading a word. That was the grim truth I came to face in the earliest days of this site. I was suddenly emboldened with the temerity to write about whatever I wanted and share it with everyone I knew, but that did not necessarily mean that they wanted to read it. Every like on Facebook or re-tweet on Twitter could have been someone blindly supporting my cause out of compassion without actually reading any of my words, which was appreciated, but also not falling in line with my original goal. A little under two months in, I completely lost the fire that initially jump-started the site and had no desire to continually churn out lengthy opinion pieces that weren’t being read on a bigger scale. Looking back, my impatience was a little immature. I grew frustrated that countless websites with much inferior content had a far superior viewer base and basically, I gave up.
Now, I would say closer to 75% of the people who originally clicked this are no longer reading it. We live in an age where we text our friends and family as we watch the newest episode of a TV show, with Facebook and Twitter open on our laptops right beside us. With the increased influence of technology comes the increased need for that interactivity in our lives, and I get that, trust me. I am not demonstrating my distaste for this ‘dumb-it-down’ culture, or trying to critique modern society. I happen to be one of the first people who will tell you that I laugh my ass off watching the first season of Jersey Shore, and I do not think I have been transformed into a drone because of it.
Along with the start of the NBA season, this notion invigorated Slim Charles Barkley with some new life. In a time when the majority of links we share are GIFs, memes, and 30-second YouTube clips instead of extensive articles and op-eds, there aren’t too many places that compile both. While part of me thought of myself as selling out, capitalizing on our almost non-existent attention span, I wanted to give this new direction a test run. In the three weeks I have re-opened Slim Charles Barkley, the site has had a much higher level of activity. Admittedly, most of this is because of a well-timed Mike D’Antoni article that found its way to a Lakers message board and some more frequent advertising, but this is what seems to be working. The two most popular blog posts so far are that statistical analysis of Mike D’Antoni’s defenses and a post about Alex Morgan being at the Lakers game, which is very representative of what people want to see. While people are still interested in reading a factual, extensive analysis of something, they also want to stumble upon something brief that requires no thinking. I have to balance out that yin and yang, that important and unimportant, that righteousness and ratchetness. Like Saigon would say, you need to candy-coat the medicine.
At this point, I fully expect that more than 90% of the people who originally clicked this link are no longer reading this, and I have come to terms with that. They are off creeping on somebody’s Facebook pictures, reading what Kim Kardashian has to say about her day in less than 140 characters, or checking scores on ESPN. Maybe they are off to read about something that is actually important in the scope of the world like the Israel-Gaza conflict or the riots in Nairobi.
They ask me what I do and who I do it for
To be honest, I still don’t really know what I am doing or what I will be doing, but to all the people who hit me up and tell me they enjoy what I write, I guess I do it for you. So thank you for reading, and hopefully you can brag about being one of the people who watched this grow into something much, much more. Hopefully. My test run is over, and I still need a massive amount of help. The lifespan of this resurrected site will not last very long if this is just me on my own, so if you or anyone you know could possibly contribute to the site in anyway, please let me know. I seriously mean anything: writing, graphics, expertise in some field, you found something cool that belongs on the site. Anything. Oh, and congratulations to anyone who caught on to me strictly mentioning Saigon and the two artists he recently said he wanted to punch in the face. +100 internet points to you.