Looking Back on My Career as a Hip Hop Web Publisher, Pt. 1

I ran multiple hip hop related sites for the last five years before selling the two big ones and putting the others on hiatus.  A couple of these sites provided info services (press releases, new album reports).  Though the press release site was often disrespected by hip hop bloggers who would link to articles at other sites that were simply press releases with a writer's byline added, it got plenty of traffic and links and was one of the ones I sold.  The albums site rarely got linked to from people who I know were using the service but had a core following that kept up closely with the site.

Since shutting them down I've been hearing from folks who now realize that, under the new owners, the press release site will never be what it was and they now see that nothing like that exists anymore.  But the strongest response was to shutting down my new albums report whose core audience was devoted but never linked out.   That lack of links and acknowledgement was part of the problem keeping it smaller than it should have been and limiting possible income so that I was doing that one for less than $1 an hour by the end!

As I debated shutting that down, I got multiple comments and emails from people who thanked me and encouraged me to keep going but never really supported the site.  One guy even said he used it every week as a source of info for his site and praised it highly.  I searched his site for links to the albums report and found none at all.

I did get a couple of people saying they would link to me and help publicize the site but it was too little, too late.

I'm not saying these were invaluable services to the world but they were solid professional services for a niche audience that mostly took without giving.  At some level, it gives me a perverse pleasure to see their after the fact responses but mostly it makes me sad.  More importantly, it's a reminder to support and appreciate the things that one finds important or even simply useful in the world because when those things are gone, I'm starting to see that they're rarely replaced.

Asheville Rising

Here we go.  College Textbook News is no more,  All World Dance is preparing for a January launch and netweed lurks in the background, always ready for action!  Oh, yeah, Cultural Research will also play a role in 2011.

At this point, I feel like I'm a week behind which isn't bad at all.  That could change but things are finally falling into place.

"Next week will reveal all," states the Magic 8 Ball.

College Textbook News Down, All World Dance Up

Wow!  College Textbook News will soon be no more.  Though I usually try to keep up even short-lived blogging experiments, I have a separate account for CTN and that's just enough for me to take it totally offline as I tidy up my digital house.

It's all about cutting my burn rate as I prepare for the launch of All World Dance, a dance portal, soon to be my major focus in tandem with a dance-related writing project inspired by my dissertation.

Pivots: Headed to Asheville, Changing Web Focus

So I will soon be a resident of Asheville, NC and will found out what's up with that interesting little town.

I'm also considering pivoting my web focus, shutting down the remnants of my current hip hop websites and even closing the still-in-beta College Textbook News.

Hard to believe but there it is.  Actually, Asheville is easy to believe.  It's what happens next that's a bit harder.  However, my current plans are focusing more on dance-related projects and, though some will be quite demanding, I feel like I may be entering a zone where I can accomplish quite a bit.

Asheville by mid-December.  Announcements about web projects as they are ready to be announced.

Final Days of 2010

Wow, thought I had everything in place and now I'm probably moving.  I'll let you know when I'm settled.

Looks like I'm going to exit most of my hip hop related web activities and focus on new projects for a new decade.

Details to follow.

Reviving netweed

netweed was one of my earliest web projects and continues to be an important base of operation for some of my ongoing work.  I've been focusing the site a bit and giving it some much needed attention in preparation for rebuilding its presence featuring Hip Hop and Music Industry news and web resources, Paper Plant activities and Clyde Projects.

Current Status: Slow Transition

It's taking me awhile to move from being primarily a hip hop web media guy and to start focusing more deeply on College Textbook News.  However, it's gotten me posting at Cultural Research again, now with an explicit focus on disruptive innovation in higher education, and where I'm headed with College Textbook News is becoming much clearer.

In addition to building a legitimate B2B textbook industry web site with related services, I more generally want to inhabit that space where folks are exploring how technology can disrupt education related enterprises in a positive way.  Not all will be good but I do believe that the potential for more affordable yet higher quality options exists from the level of textbooks to advanced education.

However, since some of my interest in textbooks involves marketing outlets to college students, I've decided to continue some of my blogging about hip hop at Hip Hop Logic, a revived site, and at Ill Moves: Hip Hop Dance.  In addition, I'll continue my activities at Hip Hop @ netweed.

So I'm keeping connected to hip hop and youth culture and considering some new projects at netweed but mostly planning to focus on College Textbook News with related work at Cultural Research.

Note: I've just started doing some open web resource gathering for the University of the People's library service and am pondering the development of additional open education resources.  These will be reported on mainly at Cultural Research though I will also be discussing open textbooks at College Textbook News.

Checking Out Storefronts in Greensboro

I'm checking out some really interesting looking deals on storefronts and offices in Greensboro tomorrow.  Hope to hit Tate St. and one of my favorite coffeehouses as well as checking out the Glenwood neighborhood where cheap rent is to be found.

I've been working from a home office but I think College Textbook News is the beginning of what could be a business worthy of its own office.

Plus, there's the potential of having room for a dance studio and that opens up some very interesting scenarios.

I received both my BFA and MA at UNC-G and also lived there the first year after I graduated from OSU.  It's been a good spot for me to transform and that's definitely the order of the day!