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Why we're doing short posts, and a word about video

by Joel Keller, posted Apr 23rd 2009 12:03PM
TV Squad logoFor those of you who have asked us whether Bob has busted into the TV Squad offices and taken over the blog by force, I'm here to say that nothing of the sort has happened. First of all, we have no offices. And second of all, the short posts Bob has done this week are something new that we're trying out (as I've mentioned in the comment sections of many of his posts this week).

Why are we doing this? Well, why not? There are plenty of occasions when a video or picture -- or even a show we don't cover -- deserves a post, but doesn't need a lot of commentary attached. So, what I've asked Bob to do (actually, it was his idea, and I just said "sure") is to post these things with a few sentences of comment, and then open it up to the readers. Some of the posts have gotten some nice discussion going, which is what we were going for.

But this does not mean that we're substituting these shorties for our normal posts. These are supposed to fill in the spaces between the normal posts we do. More info after the jump.

Earlier in the week, I was grouping the posts too close together, but that has been rectified; expect to see the shorties throughout the morning and afternoon hours. We're still working out some kinks as far as format and frequency are concerned, but hopefully we'll get that worked out in the next week or so.

Oh, a quick note on another change we made recently: We're putting videos on the front page. Most other blogs do it, and it seems like it's about time we enter the late '00s, as well. If it's really slowing down the site for most of you, though, let me know.

On that topic, I've gotten a lot of feedback asking why we use Hulu videos all the time, when they're not accessible outside the U.S. Well, it's pretty simple: AOL is a partner of Hulu. Yes, folks, it's a business decision. But, as people who can view the videos will tell you, Hulu has a good selection and a very nice video player.

However, I want our fans outside the U.S. to see the videos we post, too. So if you can come up with a good suggestion of where we can get legal internationally-accessible videos so we can provide an alternate link, please do so in the comments.

Also, I welcome some feedback on the short posts: whether you like them or not, what we can do to tweak the format, etc. Please drop those thoughts in the comments, as well.

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It's been a few days and I thought I'd wait a bit and give a response. So far, not liking the more posts in general. Especially the paragraph and a video ones.

Now, yes, other sites do it, but not to an annoying degree. I kinda like io9.com's set up of mixing in short posts and longer content. But the major difference is that when other sites have a short post there tends to be a bit more meat to it.

The random preview of Chuck or various show is annoying, but if they were lumped into one daily post of today's shows it might have some value.

Guess I'm suggesting the short posts should have value some sense of news worthy-ness. They are getting better, but really need to cut back on the random video, or content for the sake of content.

April 27 2009 at 5:34 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

I want more reviews. I know you say they don't draw readers, but that is what I want most. I like to read the recaps of shows I don't even watch.

I am not a big fan of the short posts/clips because they seem redundant to me and I have to weed through more stuff. I want news, recaps, reviews and analysis.

Blips and blurbs are not why I read here. And I do think I read here less and less all the time.

April 23 2009 at 10:38 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
3 replies to Karen's comment
The Midnight Penguin

The overall feeling I've gotten from reading the Admin's responses is that you feel it's okay on other sites the way they do things, so de facto you're telling us we should accept it. There used to be a reason that I came here and it was to read the recaps, something I couldn't find on other sites. I can still find some of my shows nowadays, but don't visit nearly enough. If I wanted TVS to be like the other sites, well, I would have been visiting those other sites already.

I dislike the short posts. I agree with previous posters that they seem ripped off from others. Uniqueness is what drew me to this site, if I want repeated news I can go elsewhere. Stating that no one on this site is willing to spend the time admits to laziness and sounds very unprofessional.

With the additions to the site in regards to the videos, I have a heck of a time loading pages now. It freezes and takes minutes to load and I'm on cable. If this continues I will have to take my reading elsewhere. You have already failed the security settings at my place of employment who now have the site blocked - the site has not always been blocked, so I can only guess they coincided with your format change a little while back due to using a lot more bandwith to load a site and network (I'm no techie by any means, but the only reasons sites get blocked are either bandwith hogs/videos, OR they don't have the proper security requirements as we deal with private information).

From the lack of people that are posting here I would have to assume that others have seen the negativity from Admin and don't want to contribute (I like Kate's wet noodle comment), they are okay with the site, or there are only a few people reading the site and/or posts like this. TV is causing me to be fat and may cause future health issues according to some prior posts, maybe I should just give it up anyways, that way I won't need to read about TV anymore.

April 23 2009 at 10:01 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

Joel and Bob,

You both seem very committed to this, and while I've made my feelings clear, I'll have to live with whatever changes you guys make.

But please consider a small suggestion from a longtime reader: moderation. The past three days have simply been overkill on the short posts. It's a perfectly acceptable idea to post viral videos - you never know what you haven't seen yet. But also keep in mind that many of your readers, including myself, read TV Squad in addition to at least 10 other blogs and websites. So many of us have found other ways to see these types of things. For most, it's Gawker, or Perez Hilton, or any other similar site.

Personally, I like to watch "The Soup" every week, where I will probably see every video you've posted since Monday. It takes away from what me and I imagine the majority of your readers come here for: consistently updated TV news, show reviews, and insightful discussion.

Bob, you don't need to post every single video that you come across or that's making the rounds any given day. Chances are we've already seen it, and if we haven't, we probably aren't interested. I appreciate the effort, but trust me, less is more. I hope you take this into consideration, I strongly believe it would satisfy the majority of your readers.

April 23 2009 at 8:52 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to MJL's comment

Hehe... yesterday while cycling I thought

"Hey Bob, how long until the first "Let's talk about chicks, man" post?"

April 25 2009 at 10:35 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Alicia R.

I just don't see where the comparisons of the short posts are like Tweets. I just don't. Yes, they are short, and yes, they are filler, and if I don't give a squat about what they say, guess what people I move on.

Maybe it's because TVS is the only TV site I go too. Maybe it's because I have seen the site go through several changes in the few years I have been here. Maybe I know that people like Joel actually give a damn what we think... and they put up with a lot of BS because of it.

Did Joel have to post ANYTHING about it? No. But just like other "big" changes, the staff at TVS break it down and tell you what is going on.

I like the smaller peices. I even commented on one of Bob's about Miss Cali. I NEVER would have caught that anywhere because I don't watch the Today show, and I most certainly do not cruise Hulu looking for that stuff.

Anyway... I think TVS is doing a great job, and I will be back tomorrow am to read about Grey's. :D

April 23 2009 at 7:27 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

I'd stick around to see how things turn out, but for my opinion, I'd rather do away with the short posts. I don't bother with them anymore

April 23 2009 at 7:19 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

New content needs to be in the form of reviews. That is why I come here. I have been wondering for months why the number of reviews have been cut. Where are the reviews for Lie to Me, Castle, Unusuals, Supernatural (best season ever), Saving Grace (amazing season as well) and more. I don't love the little posts- they are kind of annoying to me, actually- but I can live with them if they are balanced out with posts that actually have some meant. I understand that you are trying to me more "blog-like" but this isn't twitter. If I liked that, I'd follow twitter. Maybe you should just put the small posts on a twitter feed?

April 23 2009 at 7:12 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
2 replies to kate's comment
Joel Keller

Kate, it's pretty simple: we don't review those shows because they won't attract enough traffic. That's why we're going to do the open threads, so people at least have a place to comment.

I'm being sincere when I ask this of you all: do other sites who do recaps, like TWOP, AV Club, etc., get this many complaints when they drop shows and/or don't review them to begin with? Because both sites do many less shows than we do even now.

April 23 2009 at 7:21 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

Actually, I am not a complainer by nature and frankly, I've never been to any of those other sites. I am actually a loyal viewer for several years now and even though I have been bothered for a while by the content, I haven't said anything at all until yesterday (in another post).

But Joel, you asked. Isn't that what this post is all about? I was providing feedback. Feedback that I have been thinking about for a long time, but no one asked and there was no place to say anything. and I really don't like getting the wet noodle for participating in a conversation.

I used to come here and love the posts. What was going on in all my favorite shows, and some I didn't know anything about yet. It seems to me that the art of scripted TV is slowly being stamped into the ground by cheaper to produce reality TV that is as addictive as stale cheetos, (taste good going down, then you want to puke because you ate the whole bag. Yuck.) If there are new exciting shows happening, is it too much to ask that they be supported for a while? In the past there were great discussions going on about some of these smaller shows- I bet they even drove people to watch them for the first time.

What I am saying is that the easiest route is not always the best. You have some excellent writers writing excellent articles- if you want filler- if it generates readers, fine. But can we have a little more meat with our cheetos?

April 23 2009 at 8:31 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

Add this as one more reader whose not coming here anymore. Used to love your side, addictively, three years ago. Now I'm outta here. You may still see me here for the 24 reviews for the next few weeks, but maybe not.

The AOL plugs, the annoying galleries, the US-only videos... I'm outta here.

April 23 2009 at 6:57 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

I would be complaining too if my steak was covered with Cheetos and Pop Tarts, and I definately wouldn't pay for it. But guess what; you're not paying for TVS content either. There is an open invitation to visit this site for free and read what you want. If you don't like an article, don't read it and move on. Simple. Now if you've been kidnapped and are being forced to view every post and comment about it, give us a hint where you're being held and we'll do everything we can to get you freed. Does anyone know where Stringfellow Hawke is?

April 23 2009 at 5:13 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to Dean's comment
John Stewart

You're right. Readers come here of their own volition, and just the same they have the option not to return. This blatant unprofessionalism from Joel and Bob is the final straw, so consider this one more reader lost.

April 23 2009 at 6:50 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

As I have said previously, and will say again...

I do get the idea of more content, as opposed to swapping out lengthy articles for short ones, but have found that I am missing things here and there, because with every publication of one of these mini-posts, the articles I may want to read are being pushed onto page 2, or even 3.

Not always remembering the review I might want to read, or completely missing the interesting articles because they're been banished due to constant posts leaves me with nothing I am interested in being present straight away - a quick scroll, all I see is mini-posts? Then I end up wandering off.

Quality vs. quantity is a fair argument, and I understand that this is not the case as you're not phasing out larger posts for smaller ones, but on a site where there is one main page, and everything disappears after time, don't get too carried away posting posting posting, because you'll loose those grabbing headlines to the nether-world of the non-front page.

April 23 2009 at 4:23 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

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