Every now and then, I think about this one hip-hop site I used to visit in the late 90s. It was run by one guy who updated his site almost daily with album reviews, news, editorials, and stories of his personal life. After a few years, he put up a post saying that he was pulling down the site. In an age long before social media, he essentially erased himself from the internet, never to be seen again.
He may have just been one person running a hip-hop site from his bedroom without an audience other than me, but he made an impact on my life through his work. He opened my ears to music that I wouldn’t have listened to otherwise. I cared about his well-being when he lost his job and was concerned when he got suspended for performing a rap song at a school talent show that was apparently a bit too heavy on the coarse language. It was one of the first times I felt a connection to someone through their online work.
Having done this now for a decade, it makes me wonder if I’ve had that kind of impact on those who read this.
There was never a vision for In Third Person to reach an audience beyond myself. I’ve primarily used this as a personal diary to scribe my personal thoughts on gaming. Didn’t make any effort to promote it. Didn’t even have a logo until last year, which I made primarily to support my Twitch and YouTube ventures.
In the first year or so of operation, there was essentially no audience. Averaging as low as one view a day, it was probably just me checking for typos. I was totally okay with that, because all I wanted was the satisfaction that came from converting these gaming thoughts into something tangible.
From there, it grew. Yes, there are ups and downs, but the site is far removed from the days of zero visits. When I take a step back and look at the total number of visits and pageviews, I don’t know how to comprehend that number. Don’t mean it as a brag, but for a site where my approach is to make content just for me, it’s weird to see that I’m not alone here.
Which brings me back to that guy and his hip-hop site from decades ago. Among my sea of numbers, have I actually made an impact on someone? Have you ever gotten some sort of value from my work? Entertainment? Education? Did anything connect with you on a personal level?
All I can see are the things directly in front of me. I see pageviews. I see page likes. I try to respond in some way to every comment. A few opportunities to write for external sites have come my way over the years that I’ve taken advantage of. Been fortunate enough to make a few friends along the way as well. Is there more to it than that? I can only glean so much from the numbers.
I will probably never get that answer, and that’s fine. If anything, having been so insular in my approach to this site, asking at all feels counter to my ethos. Will continue to keep writing for me first, but if you ever did get value from what I do here, that’s awesome!