THIS week’s Sight & Song, the shortest one yet by a good minute (although Glyn and I did plan to enjoy a cuppa while watching the Belgian entry but my phone ran out of memory – otherwise we’d have been well over the 20 mark) and one I really enjoyed putting together. If it gets to double figures on the play counter I’ll do cartwheels the length of Sefton Park.
As I watched the Maltese final on my laptop yesterday evening, a few things became clear to me. Firstly, that I wanted to have some fun with the incessant downpour of sponsorship banners and adverts which rained down on the show like an unrelenting corporate monsoon. You’ll see bits and bobs of that in the vlog above. Another glaring realisation which dawned is that I stopped digesting the Contest in the way the more successful websites do.
To be a successful Eurovision website in the Teenies, you have to post stories at least five times a day. I work in a digital-first newsroom attracting two million-plus readers each day so I know how important it is to maintain your brand by continually offering the reader bespoke quality content they deserve as a valuable member of your audience.
That’s my job. But Eurovision has always been my fun. So here’s the thing. If I want to get Sight & Song beyond the eight views episode 17 received (at last time of checking) – do I start treating this vlog as a second career?
Definitely not. For a start, I work long enough hours as it is and you don’t maintain a healthy work-life balance by shoveling more work onto one end of the see-saw. I enjoyed Malta’s selection last night, mainly for the opportunity to be a bit silly on social media – but I didn’t feel the urge to post up the results on here while the credits were still rolling. Strangely, I probably would have back in the days of Boom Bang a Blog but that’s because it was affilliated with my job and I always approached it with a news sense and web hits in mind. But not last night, not for Sight & Song. Any fan with a soupcon of interest in the thing would have known what happened and been able to find out from at least 50 different sources on the web and social media. The first thing I did after the show was have a cuppa and watch a bit of Rita on Netflix (it’s very good – a Danish comedy drama about a school – check it out if you can). I would hate for my fun to become a chore. I did a few retweets from other Eurovison-y accounts and that was that.
It’s almost 15 years since I started a highly ridiculous Eurovision website called Whoops Dragovic. It was just me, writing nonsense as though the Contest existed in a shared universe where entrants would pop into each other’s bungalows to borrow a Hostess trolley or a surgical stocking. I don’t think it ever got more than 10,000 hits over its lifetime but I loved the creative opportunities it flung my way. I learned how to put links in an isolated patch of an image when putting the entrants of Oslo 2010 in their own individual cable car suspended over the Telenor Arena but I really should have been looking for ways to get more people paying the site a visit.
But that silliness seems to be lacking in so many Eurovision sites these days. They’re run by teams, chasing exclusives, finding the most sophisticated ways possible to bring that news to their followers within minutes. They’re miniature news operations these days, not solo hobby projects where the whimsy of the Contest is a delight to be revelled in. This is not a criticism, every pastime is reported on in similar fashion these days – but I hope nobody minds if Sight & Song goes back to the old school and wants to take the slow path to Stockholm.
I know there were Spanish finalist which didn’t make it into this week’s episode. I know the Swiss and Austrian entrants haven’t had a single mention yet. They haven’t been forgotten and they will get their mention.
But that will happen the time is right. When it’s fun.
I do hope you’ll join me.