Sunday, February 28, 2010

Who We Are... & Who Are You?!

The Reedy documentary project has been such an interesting process throughout every phase so far.  We've been reflecting on the way in which this blog and the activities and long-term goal it documents has impacted not only our lives, but those of others as well.  So we thought it would be appropriate to more formally introduce ourselves to our audience and to give a shout-out to our readers and invite you to engage in a more interactive way.

First, the blog now includes a couple of new stand-alone pages that compile some useful information about the project and ourselves.  The "Blog Pages" list in the left-hand menu pane includes links to additional information About the Filmmakers, a complete outline of our Chronological Blog Archive, a Multi-Media Library of compiled uploads, as well as a link back the main homepage.  We hope these new materials are helpful in navigating the blog and understanding why we're doing this project in the first place.  At some point we will likely create additional pages to compile important information, so please let us know if you have any ideas about how to make the blog the most useful.

And now to the really interesting part...  A month ago on February 1, we installed Google Analytics so that we could collect and view data on who's visiting the blog, from where, how often, how long they stay, what they look at, etc.  It took me a while to install it correctly, but the results of this tool are intriguing and make me regret not having it installed it when we first started this project this past August.  We have yet to receive any external comments from the folks who are reading our posts, but now we know more about you!

In our first month of documenting our site's usage, we've logged in 180 visits from 91 unique visitors from 8 countries (including the U.S.):

United States

United Kingdom







...and 20 states!  





New Jersey


New York

North Carolina













We would love to know more about you, this eclectic group of people from a wide range of backgrounds and hometowns.  So we welcome comments on our posts as well as more direct contact if we can share important information with one another.

With Analytics, we can also see search terms when people find us through a search engine, and it provides a valuable window to view references that we would not necessarily think of ourselves or as the most likely path.  For example, there have been several visits, both from the U.S. and elsewhere, that have resulted from searches for other artists included on the recent discography of the Reedy's personal collection. [Note: Timi found some more historical photos that we need to scan as well as several additional LP's to be taken to the library.  So we will soon be posting an exciting update to that discography!]

While we did not anticipate the relative relevance of vinyl recordings and their aficionados, we were already aware that this was an important area of inquiry for our project.  Other unexpected and interesting search terms have surprised and sometimes tickled us such as "Bob Dylan live 1961-2000" (per Timi's love of Bob and him singin' her papaw's song).  Whether through direct search queries for our project and related activities or through back-doors and random short-cuts, we are grateful for your interest and the time you have spent here, however you got here!

In addition to search engines, the Analytics tool shows whether someone types our URL directly or whether they access it through a link from a referring site.  Mostly these are my Facebook friends who visit when I post an update, but it also shows other accessing links like the Berea College website and most recently, where Dan DeClark posted a link and update about our project.  We've already had several visitors thanks to Dan!

Websites like Dan's (see the "Other Valuable Resources" posted in the left-hand menu) have offered another fascinating foray into multiple sub-cultures of scholars, collectors, and enthusiasts of vinyl recordings in general, of particular genres like Bluegrass and Rock-a-Billy, and/or specific geographical landscapes and locales.  The resources, leads, and links that these websites provide have been enormously beneficial to our project, and we are thankful to be acknowledged among contributors to such an important and unique knowledge base.

We are also amazed and humbled by the way in which the blog and documentary project have helped establish a more mainstream knowledge base about the Reedys.  When we first began formally researching and working on our fellowship proposal a year ago, there were only a few references to either Frances Reedy or John Reedy, and most of them refer to him.  

Some of those resources have provided important summaries and leads, such as Eugene Chadbourne's All Music Guide article on John, which he charmingly begins by describing him as "A singer with a mug like a movie star..."  This article also repeats the error about Frances and John's familial relationship, but otherwise it's an excellent account that was also pretty much the definitive and oft-syndicated source of online information about them.

A year later, we have more than just a month's worth of empirical evidence from Google Analytics that we are reaching people and that our work and this story matter.  Any search of John and Frances Reedy and their music will now include our blog among the first page of results.  This technological outlet and achievement allows Frances and John to speak for themselves in a new way, beyond their vinyl recordings, beyond their home recordings, and even beyond time.

We hope that you, our reader, listeners, watchers, stay tuned to the ever-unfolding story and process of "Remembering the Reedys."  But most of all, we hope to hear from you, to learn from you, and to know... How the heck are ya?!

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