I've been really thinking a lot about Oasis the past few days, which is why there haven't been many posts here. Oasis only gets a limited chunk of my day, so thinking about Oasis has consumed a big part of that time.
Part of what prompted it was my preparing to launch an Oasis podcast. Initially, I was learning how to mix a show that would have been incredibly time-consuming, but sound like our own version of NPR. Of course, then I realized that NPR has hundreds of people involved in making it sound that good. So, I was setting the bar too high, crossfading music through interviews, and such. I came to the conclusion that my job is to just cherry-pick the best parts of the interviews, and piece them together. Stay out of the way as much as possible.
It hit me when I was listening to Kevin Smith's SModcast. I really listen to it because I want to hear Kevin Smith (director of Clerks, Chasing Amy, etc). He and his producer Scott Mosier just ramble on about random topics for udner an hour, but then the show is post-produced and, if they were talking about a barking dog or something, sound is added under them of dogs barking. And I really figured out that I listen for them, not for some great experience. I just want it raw and real.
Also, when I listened to Jian's "That's So Gay" podcast, I realized that I was most engaged when he talked about himself, his life, etc., and when it became about people writing in, and answering their questions, I wasn't as into it.
So, the Oasis podcast should just stand on the notion of the interviews and other content, not how expertly I can put them together. If all this stuff grows and grows, sure, we can get someone to pretty things up. But as I mentioned, Oasis has a chunk of my time blocked off every day, and that time is reading books to review, watching DVDs to review, setting up interviews, doing the interviews, transcribing the interviews, reading other websites, etc., etc. and I'm pretty liberal about it. It's hard to count watching a DVD I want to see anyway as some sort of work, etc. So, doing the podcast needs to take as little time as possible, to deliver as much benefit as possible. It needs to exist in a world of limited time, though, which means tweak it, edit it, post it, move on.
But, my other question is harder to figure out, and I need to keep it focused specifically on the kinds of content I am writing, can write, should write, etc. But what kind of stuff are you waiting for? What would bring you here more often and make Oasis even more of a regular stop?
To be clear, I think a lot of the stuff Adrian is (one hopes) doing will be a big part of that. But he and I have separate jobs. When he launches oasisjournals (soon?), that doesn't affect me. My content will still be taking up the front of oasis magazine.
Also, my job has many different goals. Part of what I do is to post content that reaches out to different groups and pulls in new members. For example, when I did the Gideon Glick interview for Spring Awakening, that was responsible for more than 50 percent of our referral traffic (meaning it was linked directly from other websites), which was huge. Some of them stayed.
My other job is to keep people on Oasis longer. So, once you're like, 'OK, I think I got the whole gay thing sorted out,' what will keep you here? Part of that will be led discussions, and creating some fun new resources. I think the Life Lessons series is a step in the right direction there, and that is a first step. That gives older members of the site, people not even on the site, anyone really, the chance to contribute to something that will (over a period of time) become a valuable resource to people finding us for the first time with a lot of questions and confusion.
But then there's a third audience for what I write, which is all of you who are already here. You are, at present, the biggest audience for the content. So, everything I do is a matter of trying to please those three audiences, and most things hit all three at different percentages.
So, the question is... what do you want more of? What are you surprised to find hasn't appeared here yet? What is the most helpful stuff? What is irrelevant (keeping in mind that what is possibly irrelevant for you might be targeting one of the other audiences more directly) to you?
Some upcoming stuff I'm planning, to give you some idea of the direction of things:
-- I'm trying to get an interview with a guy who wrote a book on cutting and how to treat it, since that is a huge blind spot for me on the site. What is it about, what are the treatment options, what can people do on their own to address it, etc.
-- Working on an interview with a transgender activist (just finishing up the book before I set it up) to provide some more trans-friendly stuff on the site, which along with getting more women featured here is clearly part of something I'm trying to address.
-- More interactive stuff, like Life Lessons. Could be an "Ask Jeff" column, or whatever.
-- Trying to get the book reviews launched soon. I have a few books here that I need to get out to some of the people who signed up to do reviews for the site. need to work with Adrian on getting a new member-type, so those people can see a forum about what's available to review, etc.
-- The podcast. I found *so few* good podcasts for gay youth, that I think this could really be huge. But I am thinking a lot about how to do this so that it isn't my show, since I'm an old man. Want to get ya'll more involved in it, by providing content, possibly making it co-hosted with me and others over Skype, etc. Honestly, the more ya'll take things over, the better it reaches other youth. That will clearly change over time.
So, here's your chance... what do you want to see on Oasis. I'm specifically not looking for a "real job" right now because I want to dedicate myself to doing this for all of you and everyone else that will find it as a result.
But I want it to be about you.
Some of the stuff I love from the old site (polls, more of your stuff on the front page, etc., etc.) will all be resolved with the launch of oasisjournals.com. That site (maybe not on launch, but soon thereafter) will have more user-generated, interactive elements, and you can enter the site through that URL if you want that more than DVD reviews and celebrity interviews.
So, give me my marching orders. I'm here to create the content you want. The more this feels like my site, the more it fails. Give me feedback, give me input, flood me with people you want interviewed, e-mail me with suggestions, pm me about what you like and don't like, offer to host something new on the site, decide ya'll want to create a "spoken word" podcast with people reading their own poems, etc.
And the best part is I am here to make it all happen. For many things, if you have the idea, I have the time to invest and make it a reality.
I have no ego about this site. I'm totally Bryan Adams about it. Everything I do, I do it for you. I am happiest when I click submit and publish something that I think will be well-received.
So, let's open up the floor. What would make Oasis better for you today, and more helpful for kids who are just having questions and going to find the site in a few months.
Let me know...