Thursday, May 3, 2018

Scot Goes Pop is 10 years old today!

I'm not quite sure whether I should be excited or terrified about this milestone, but there's no point denying it - the calendar doesn't lie.  It all started on 3rd May 2008 with this post about Plaid Cymru's impressive (but under-reported) gains in the Welsh local elections, and Boris Johnson ousting Ken Livingstone as Mayor of London.  If memory serves me right, the blog was read by literally only three or four people on the first day, and I had to actively promote it just to get that far.

By complete chance I had a huge political story to get my teeth into a couple of days later, when Wendy Alexander (then Scottish Labour leader) started hinting that Labour was about to make an unanticipated U-turn by supporting an independence referendum.  What unfolded from there is one of the most dramatic, but strangely also one of the least-remembered, episodes in recent Scottish political history.  If Ms Alexander hadn't been ousted as leader a few months later, the likelihood is that the first independence referendum would have taken place in 2010 rather than 2014, and would effectively have been jointly sponsored by the SNP and Labour.  We can only speculate as to how differently things might have turned out as a result.

All the same, being a Eurovision fan, the vast bulk of my blogging for the remainder of May 2008 was non-political and was instead dedicated to the upcoming song contest in Belgrade.  The blog was basically a diary for my own benefit - practically nobody was reading it, although I was excited to get a sudden spike of search engine traffic on Eurovision weekend itself.  I can't remember if it was the Saturday or Sunday, but on one or other of those days I hit the giddy heights of 71 unique visitors - which for two or three years afterwards I regarded as the benchmark for an exceptionally successful day.

I abandoned the blog for the time being at the end of the 2008 Eurovision season - it was too time-consuming, and I couldn't quite work out why I was even bothering with it.  But at the start of 2009, the commissioning of Andrew Lloyd-Webber to write the UK's Eurovision entry caught my imagination, and I felt the sudden urge to start writing again.  So Scot Goes Pop was revived as an essentially Eurovision blog, with just the occasional political post chucked in here or there.  But strangely enough it was the political posts that started attracting comments (I think this was the first one to be published), and that was probably the biggest factor in the blog eventually becoming politics first, Eurovision second.

The ten year history of Scot Goes Pop can basically be split into two distinct halves, with a short transition in between.  There was the period up to early 2013 when the daily audience was typically in the dozens or at most the hundreds, and the period since 2014 which has seen thousands of unique readers per day, and tens of thousands per month.  There's no magical secret to how the transformation from obscure personal blog to leading alternative media site occurred - it was simply down to the chance factor of the independence referendum, and the fact that people were suddenly looking for something (hard polling information without the customary unionist spin) that only Scot Goes Pop seemed to be providing.  I wasn't doing anything different to before, and the spontaneous change required quite a tricky mental adjustment.  I had to get used to the fact that if I said something that was a bit too close to the bone for some people, it was likely to get a strong reaction, whereas in the past nobody would have noticed or given a monkey's.

At present, if the website Traffic Estimate is to be believed, Scot Goes Pop is the fifth most-read alternative media site in Scotland, with approximately 80,400 unique visits in the last thirty days.  That places it only just behind CommonSpace (a site that enjoys far more free exposure in the mainstream media) which is in fourth place with 84,500 unique visits.  Indeed, for several consecutive weeks earlier this year, Scot Goes Pop was estimated to be slightly ahead of CommonSpace.  Quite a contrast from the days when I considered myself freakishly lucky to get 71 visitors on a Eurovision weekend!

Would I recommend this blogging lark to others?  Well, put it this way.  As a direct result of writing Scot Goes Pop, I've been interviewed on TV four times, and on radio twice.  I've written more than ten articles for The National newspaper.  I've been a columnist for the International Business Times, the TalkRadio website, and iScot magazine.  I've addressed a rally outside the Scottish Parliament.  I've participated in a theatre show (of sorts).  I've taken part in umpteen short films, podcasts and live-streams - including the blind terror of a 55-minute live debate with Tommy Sheridan.

So think carefully before taking the plunge.  You might imagine you're safe enough when you start out with an audience of two men and a dog.  But you just never quite know what you're letting yourself in for...

32 comments:

  1. Your posts are nuanced, passionate and humane. Also: eloquent.
    Thanks so much for all your work, it's really made a positive difference.

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  2. Congratulations on a milestone!
    And thanks for your time and effort in keeping on keeping on. I get a bit lost in the numbers sometimes but you are an important part in helping me continue to believe in the possible. (Your 2036 vision not withstanding...)

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  3. Well done James. Your blog is essential reading for the conoscenti.

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  4. Congratulations. That is a brilliant achievement. Your blog is part of my daily read for information since the papers stopped dealing in news.

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  5. Heartiest congratulations and lang mae yer lum reek, James. Here's to the next 10 years (and hoping when it comes you'll be reminiscing about our Independence day!)

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  6. Read your comments every day. Keeps the political world in a Scottish perspective. Weel done you.
    You'll be needed even mair in weeks and months tae come.
    Mair pouer tae yer pen.

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  7. 10 years already? Eurovision is coming up - next week.

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  8. We’re delighted and honoured to have you grace our publication James.

    #Douze point

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  9. happy birthday to you
    happy birthday to you
    happy birthday ScotGoesPop
    happy birthday to you! :-)

    What present would you like, how about some nice TrollRemover software...?

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    Replies
    1. So you should.

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    2. Andrea LeadsomeMay 3, 2018 at 2:00 PM

      She squirmed when I fingered her in the caravan.

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    3. gwc2...I feel bad, I feel really SNPbad. I feel that I have neglected you over the past week.
      They say that you are only 10 yards away from a rat at any given time. Now I know that some posters on this site think of you as a rat that has infested and lived under the floorboards of this site for a while. But I don't see like that. I look on you, like any animal, as just trying to survive in this hostile world. So remember, I am here to help and if you need a wee cuddle and a bit of scran I will be there for you.
      PS If you spill your guts, don't worry I will clean up your mess.

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  10. Kangaroo says

    Congratulations on your tenth anniversary. I am an avid reader and occasional commenter. Please keep up the good work.

    As long as it takes, Freedom is coming, roll on indyref2.

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  11. Well done young James and you are still a teenager. Plenty of time to engage in politics.

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    1. State of this patronising mess.

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    2. Such a bigoted anti English Nat si. My comment was made in the best taste and not grudgingly. Whit a knob you are.

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    3. State of this and its impotent lying rage.

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  12. And on eurovision?? We want more!

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  13. For Marcia and James: best prices Eurovision winner.
    Israel 5/2
    Norway 7/1
    France 7/1
    ...
    UK 150/1

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  14. Never miss a post! Keep them coming!

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  15. Happy Blogaversary, James. Your work is much appreciated.

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  16. Congratulations James!

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  17. Happy birthday!

    I joined you in 2014 and have been a constant visitor since then (albeit with a decline in my attendance during 2015 as I licked my wounds).

    SGP is one of three blogs I think are critical enough to our cause that I put my money where my mouth is and help support it (you).

    Keep up the great work.

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  18. Enjoyed your blog James since I started finding out how to work the laptop or PC,even donated once or twice,my excuse for not contributing regularly I'm an OAP and disabled but I would give more if I could.,thank you for your blog,and keep up the good work.Your famous now and forever.

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  19. Well done. I came to your site a bit late, well into your "second phase", but it is one of my daily "go to" sites, especially when polling results are released and I want to know what the real story is.

    Well done again, but I don't think I'll take it up myself!

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  20. Baron Darling of Snootery-NookMay 3, 2018 at 9:27 PM

    10 years? Vile, frankly.

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  21. Thanks James, your on-the-button analysis of polling and other issues has been extremely helpful to me - and I'm sure to the cause.

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  22. A well written (obviously extremely biased) blog. I'm a Yoon but occasionally dip in to see the other point of view.

    At least you're not part of the "it's oor square sausage" let's go and smash up some Tunnocks Teacakes brigade that the National now seems to have well and truly joined.

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  23. Congratulations on your success James, it’s well deserved. You should write a book on Scottish politics, or polling in particular. I’m sure it would be well received, and would earn you some well deserved income.

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  24. very nice and helpful article which will help me on work

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