Wednesday, June 19, 2013

(Unexpected) reaction to the announcement about the end of Pam's House Blend...and a chat with Michelangelo Signorile

On Sunday I thought I could get away with announcing that I was shutting down Pam's House Blend (closing the coffeehouse on July 1, its 9th birthday) with little fanfare, as that's a pretty dead day when people are out and about, and it was also Father's Day.

Boy, was I wrong. There was a massive outburst of reaction on Facebook and Twitter and the Internet (see at the bottom of the post). It was overwhelming -- and kind of weird, like being at your own funeral without the pine box/urn. I say "unexpected" in the headline because I truly didn't think it would matter this much. I still have a hard time placing the work I do on the blog in the context of things like "success" or "popularity" because the latter is hard to gauge sitting here where, aside from a few comments on the blog or social media, just how far and wide your words reach, since most people lurk, not comment. The former is hard to define in today's new media world -- success can come in awards and honors (I do have a number of those), professional opportunities (those never materialized in any way that I could consider quitting my day job), or financial (that's laughable). But apparently the Blend is well-loved by enough people that they kindly shared their thoughts on Sunday in numbers that surprised me.

The blog will be closed, but I'll still be active on social media (FB, Twitter, etc.); I'm just not up to long-form blogging/reporting anymore. If I am not able to do it to the standards I have kept up over the years, it's time to let it go. I know it's time, because the decision was easy; I know my physical limitations now and I'm not in denial about what I can accomplish in a given day. It takes all of the energy I can muster just to be able to hold down my 75% day job.


On Tuesday I went on the Michelangelo Signorile Show on Sirius XM Satellite Radio. I am honored to call Mike -- a legendary LGBT activist and journalist -- a dear friend and he's been a big booster of the Blend over the years. He also recently co-authored with me a chapter about the Righthaven copyright scourge and its impact on media authorship in a book, Copyright Shakedown: The Rise and Fall of Righthaven.

Anyway, we chatted for about 15 minutes about closing the coffeehouse, and discussed the state of blogging back in 2004, and how it has changed over the years, particularly with the recent high impact of social media. You can read Mike's write up on Huffington Post, where he is the editor of Gay Voices. A snippet:

Spaulding talked about starting the blog in 2004 and never imagining it would become the award-winning, highly-noted must-read site that often garnered media attention as well a notice from mainstream gay groups Spaulding sometimes criticized, like the Human Rights Campaign.

“There were not many blogs out there [9 years ago],” she said. I wasn’t blogging to an audience. I was just blogging about my frustrations about the virulently antigay campaign that George Bush was running. For the first year to year-and-a-half the most I had in terms of readership was 300 people. I thought that was enormous and that I’d never surpass it.”

Looking back, Spaulding is especially proud of the diverse voices she brought to the PamsHouseBlend and the political blogopshere, readers and writers who’d often begun posting in the diaries on the site and rose to become regular bloggers, including the prominent transgender activist and blogger Autumn Sandeen.

“I’m really proud of that,” Spaulding said, “because that was a voice that was missing at the time in the blogosphere. There really were not any transgender bloggers at the time among the A-list blogs. I think that kind of exposure led to more discussion about transgender issues.”
Here's the audio:

I couldn't capture all of the reactions on FB and Twitter, but thanks to Storify, here's a good number of them from good friends, readers and fans (sorry, no reaction so far from professional anti-gays Porno Pete or Bam Bam Barber yet, lol).

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