|Posted on March 21, 2014 at 5:25 PM|
By Dennis Stone
It was fun while it lasted.
I’ve decided to end “The New Millennial Gay Experience” website as we know it. Though it won’t actually disappear. I’m scaling it back and turning it into a simple personal blog. I’ll make typical blog entries, and also write the occasional full-fledged article when the inspiration strikes me. The key point is that I will have no expectations for myself, and no expectations for readership. If people want to check in once in awhile and see what I’ve had to say, great! If not, that’s fine as well. (I’ll also be publishing Farid’s “Shameless” recaps until the end of the current season since they’re generating quite a few comments.)
I discussed many of the issues and challenges with the site back in December when I put it on hiatus for about a month. The primary problem is my lack of time. If the site were to be something beyond a typical blog it would have to have perspectives from multiple writers, and new articles every day. My schedule just doesn’t accommodate that structure. I really need three of me: one to write, one to edit, format and publish the articles, and one to promote the site and build readership.
Related to the time issue is the fact that I’m a rather slow, deliberate writer, and occasionally a victim of writer’s block. I always have more than enough ideas, but being able to sit down and convert those ideas to words on a page is a talent that sometimes eludes me. With a blog that’s not a big deal. With a site that needs daily articles that IS a big deal.
Yet another factor is that readership has dwindled over the past year. Interestingly, we are getting an increasing number of hits from web searches, and some of the older articles continue to be read with some frequency. My piece on “The Book Of Matt” is still being read regularly, as is Dback’s article on “Divas!” But we have failed when it comes to generating a regular readership of any size. We started out great with a lot of people from The Backlot. But, as might be expected, the typical Backlot reader was more interested in media and lighter fare than in our typical pieces. And most were also not really committed to the New Millennial ideal. We were too far outside the mainstream for some of them.
I fully understand why we are not appealing to the more “traditional” gay reader. But there is a growing demographic of people in the world who do subscribe to the New Millennial philosophy. However, there’s one big problem – and a rather rich irony – in that fact. New Millennials don’t feel the need to constantly read about being gay. Being gay just isn’t that big of a deal to them. It’s probably not an ideal business model to tailor a gay website to people who don’t really have much interest in reading a gay website.
As I’ve said before, our original vision was that Andy would provide gay history lessons, along with occasional commentary, while Paul would write from the high school perspective (the “front lines” of the new millennial experience) and I would wax philosophical from my contrarian perspective. Unfortunately, Andy left last fall, and now Paul has essentially left as well. With Paul, the issue was partly that readership fell, and there weren’t many comments on his articles. Any writer wants to be validated by having interested and engaged readers – that’s why he writes. But the second reason for Paul leaving relates to what I said in the preceding paragraph. Being gay isn’t that big a deal to Paul, and so once he wrote a couple of articles about how being gay isn’t a big deal to him, there wasn’t much more to say.
Older gay people just can’t relate to an attitude like that. But that attitude will become more and more prevalent as society evolves and homosexuality is increasingly accepted. Gay people will always be significantly different from straight people – there is not much more basic in life than romance and sexuality – but the depth of that difference and its impact on lives will be much diminished.
There is one last personal reason for scaling back the site. Though older, I am a New Millennial thinker myself. And so I have experienced an internal resistance to the need to constantly be reading about gay stuff, and constantly be writing about gay stuff. Being gay is an important part of my identity, but it is just one part among many. Maintaining this site has required me to focus more time and energy on my being gay than I am comfortable with. I can’t speak for anyone else, but for me, that much attention to one part of my life is not healthy, nor is it enjoyable. It short circuits my desire to be a multi-faceted, well rounded human being.
I want to sincerely and profoundly thank all the writers who contributed to this site: Andy, Paul, Lane, Farid, Dback, Ulysses, John and Emilie. From my experience they are all great people, and I have been proud to publish their work. I’ll be happy to publish the occasional “guest article” from any of them if they would be interested. (A couple of them have expressed such an interest.)
I hate goodbyes, but fortunately I don’t have to say that in this situation. I’ll still be here, still expressing my contrarian views. Just in a different format.