State Of The Blog: Adaptistration Turns Three

Although this article is slightly belated, Adaptistration turned three years old on Friday, November 3rd, 2006 and things have never looked better…

Just the Facts
To date, including this article, there are been 890 entries and 627 comments. That works out to roughly 1.2 entries every day one comment for every 1.4 articles. As always, I like to take this opportunity for a little reflection and find out what the Adaptistration readers think about the current offerings, format, etc.

Can’t I Just Read The Cliff Notes?
One of the changes based on last year’s most requested suggestion is the creation of a weekly summary delivered via email which users can voluntarily subscribe. To see an example of what the weekly email summary looks like, click the photograph to your left.

It’s Better To Look Good than To Feel Good
Taking a cue form the old Saturday Night Live skit, another improvement is the increase in the number of photographs used in articles. Although it is more time consuming I agree that articles which include appropriate photographs do a much better job at taking advantage of the inherent interactive components of the blogging medium. In particular, the recent series of articles about the gala opening of Nashville Symphony’s new symphony center made excellent use of this feature. Cumulatively, those articles contained a staggering 129 photographs and diagrams!

So How Do You Really Feel?
One recent improvement is the addition of custom surveys and polls, which has been put to good use on several occasions in the last quarter of 2006. This new feature not only opens the door to the traditional data gathering ability of surveys and polls but it compliments some of the unique features inherent to online media.

For example, back in August, 2006 readers were asked to compare two audio tracks of the same piece. One version was performed by live musicians the other used computer generated sounds. In the end, readers had to vote on which one was which. The ability to allow users a quick and easy survey interface to record their votes and tabulate the results resulted in a fun and useful interactive tool.

The Only Thing Worse Than Being Talked About Is Not Being Talked About
Just as the Oscar Wilde quote dictates, I’m very happy to report that the number of mainstream media publications which mention Adaptistration or refer to a specific article appearing at Adaptistration continued to steadily rise for 2006. On average, Adaptistration appeared in a mainstream media publication three times per month, which is up 20% from 2005.

The Good Kind Of Heavy Traffic
Along with increased media attention, daily traffic continues to reach all-time highs. To date, 2006 is 20% ahead of where things were in 2005; additionally, the average number of page views per visitor during this same period is up 12% and the average length of time visitors stay on the site is up 18%. All of this is illustrated in the chart to your left (click to enlarge). In actuality, I suspect these figures are a good bit higher when you take into consideration that the figures for 2005 include the particular month which garnered no less than a 60% increase in all levels of traffic due to the enormously positive response to the Katrina relief efforts taking place at that time.

The Top 10 For 2006
Based on traffic coming into the site, the 10 most popular articles, or series of articles, from January 1st, 2006 through November 15th, 2006 were:

1) The articles which examined/reported on the Louisville Orchestra labor dispute.
2) The 2006 Adaptistration Orchestra Website Review.
3) The Take A Friend To Orchestra Month, 2006 initiative.
4) The series of articles examining the new Schermerhorn Symphony Center in Nashville, Tennessee.
5) Ticket Prices: The Topic With Staying Power.
6) Things That Make You Go “Buh!” series which focused on events in Fort Wayne, California, and San Antonio.
7) The series of articles reporting the events behind the Bennett, Colorado music teacher that lost her job as a result of showing her class of elementary age school children a videotape which contained scenes from the opera Faust.
8) The article reporting details from the Atlanta Ballet labor dispute.
9) The Miscommunication or Missed Communication?” mini-series of articles.
10) The “Disposable Labor” mini-series of articles focusing on the questionable hiring practices of Volker Hartung.

Where Should We Go Next?
So where do you think Adaptistration should head next? Do you think it’s missing anything or would you like to see more of something that already exists? What are some of the components and/or features you like? Which topics did you enjoy the most this year and what would you like to see examined in the future?

I appreciate all of the time readers will put into answering these questions as the blogging format is truly organic and can grow in almost any direction. However, it is most satisfying to see it move in a direction which is strongly influenced by the readers. As such, thank you in advance to everyone who enjoys Adaptistration on a regular basis and to those who think enough of it to share it with friends and colleagues.

About Drew McManus

"I hear that every time you show up to work with an orchestra, people get fired." Those were the first words out of an executive's mouth after her board chair introduced us. That executive is now a dear colleague and friend but the day that consulting contract began with her orchestra, she was convinced I was a hatchet-man brought in by the board to clean house.

I understand where the trepidation comes from as a great deal of my consulting and technology provider work for arts organizations involves due diligence, separating fact from fiction, interpreting spin, as well as performance review and oversight. So yes, sometimes that work results in one or two individuals "aggressively embracing career change" but far more often than not, it reinforces and clarifies exactly what works and why.

In short, it doesn't matter if you know where all the bodies are buried if you can't keep your own clients out of the ground, and I'm fortunate enough to say that for more than 15 years, I've done exactly that for groups of all budget size from Qatar to Kathmandu.

For fun, I write a daily blog about the orchestra business, provide a platform for arts insiders to speak their mind, keep track of what people in this business get paid, help write a satirical cartoon about orchestra life, hack the arts, and love a good coffee drink.

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1 thought on “State Of The Blog: Adaptistration Turns Three”

  1. Drew–
    I hope you might consider doing some kind of follow-up posting on Intelochen, i.e. the state of the place after almost three years with the current CEO..and the initial chaos about which you wrote.
    Also, perhaps you would consider doing a series on he major American Schools of Music/Conservatories.
    Thanks for your good work.

    peter kountz

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