BOB’S BLOG: INKBLOTS: The times are always changing

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Progress and failure.  It’s the stuff of all things, The Inkwell Awards not excluded.

I was thinking the other day about what once was and where we’re at today.  There’s been mostly development and improvement, but there’s been lessons along the way.

WEBSITE: that itself is the most obvious change, no doubt for the better and I’ve already based an Inkblots article on that.

SOCIAL NETWORKS: there’re a necessary evil, but who can keep track of them all, let alone update them all all the time?  We’ve certainly tried, especially with Stacey Aragon and Sarah L. Covert.  But I’ve learned that they can inexplicably go out of fashion. We used to have accounts with MySpace (set up by Bob Shaw) and ComicSpace (set up by me).  CS tried revamping their network which failed miserably and we stopped that option.  MySpace had been dying a slow death for years now to the point of not being a real force anymore.  We later added Twitter (Stacey).  I’m personally not a fan of the limited message venue, but it has it’s followers and we have ours so it’s survived.  Facebook (Group Page set up by Danny Best) has been the one venue that we jumped on early on and has grown stronger every year due to it’s accessibility and many diverse features (in fact Sarah later added our Fan Page).  In fact, it’s our default forum (see below).  One of the last things that Stacey set up before leaving us was the Google+ and YouTube sites.  I think the jury’s still out on those but we continue to keep them updated, especially the award ceremony recordings on YT.

FORUM: We used to have a separate forum site on Proboards constructed by Bob Shaw, once that took over or merged with P.J. Magalhaes Inkers.org forum which had grown stagnant.  We retained maybe half of the members from his forum but eventually gained more members than he had over time….it was a slow, gradual gain with slow, gradual traffic activity.  But no matter what we did, we couldn’t maintain that activity so after the main Inkwell Awards website was revamped by Kris Fenol and Sarah, we transferred the forum to it and closed down the separate site.  Regrettably, activity here was worse than the other one.  I’m told it’s not our fault, that the public has turned away from forums and message boards and grown finder of Facebook.  I expect that we’ll soon close down our site forum. (in fact, I just checked and it’s surprisingly inactive…but probably no one has noticed….time to check in with the Sarah the Techno-Queen).

AUCTIONS: For a brief time we tried an alternate auction venue after having successfully used eBay for fundraising.  After Bob Shaw set up our ComicArtFans gallery, we started our CAF gallery Auctions account which short term contributor Phil Healy handled as a contributor,which had a nice feature of being totally free to use with no fees whatsoever.  In fact, we ran our first Sinnott Inking Challenge auctions there.  But even while more than affordable, there were diminishing returns compared to eBay (even with their fees).  Between that and even less accountability for handling customer-related problems, it simply wasn’t worth spending any more time there after a few months and we’ve remained strong on our eBay Store page ever since.  Plus it didn’t hurt that Sarah and I eventually opened up our own Store at our website.

ROUND-TABLE INTERVIEWS: Does anyone still remember these?  Starting with our first season in 2008 we would hold an interview with all committee members as well as Joe Sinnott and whomever else we could get about inking, why we exist and what our goals are. Participants included Mike Marts, Tim Townsend, me, Danny, Bob Shaw, JimmyT, Bill Nichols, Dave Simons, Mark McKenna, Dan Panosian, Ernie Pelletier, Nathan Massengill and Tom Schloendorn.  We held three of them (2008-2010) which were moderated/assisted by Jennifer Contino, Danny Best and later Charles Edward Sellner.  For 2011 we started one with C.E. Sellner but only myself, Joe Sinnott and incoming Mike Kellar turned in their replies and while waiting for everyone else, we decided that with all of the duties and deadlines to get to that took precedence, that it was perhaps better to drop the tradition. Perhaps one day we’ll add the partial, cancelled interview here at the website.

CLASSIFIEDS: One of many ideas  suggested to us over time was to create a classified section at our site in order for inkers to find open work positions and employers could seek out inkers in need of work.  Up it went and barely anyone came to use it, including the guy who suggested it. We’ll probably keep it going and it’s a good idea in theory, but only time will tell if we can find a way to make it work better.

These are the areas I though about.  If I think of more I’ll make that the topic of another blog entry, but a lot of these kinds of highlights, good and bad, have been discussed briefly on the History page which has become more like my private journal where I share everything, warts and all.   Feel free to share memories of days past that I’ve obviously spaced out about.  Survival is about constant adaption. We’re still here and so is inking.

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