I'm back from a terrific trip to Yosemite with the family. Tent cabins in Curry Village, hiking to waterfalls, bears and deer, lots of cards and games - a wonderful and relaxing trip in every way.
And how great is it to return and find that my other family, my beloved community on Clips Nation, is thriving as well?
For the two-plus years that I've been blogging, I've enjoyed being a the 'man' here at Clips Nation. I started the blog because I wanted to, I have the time to do it, and I've never had a lot of interest in getting help, mainly because I've not viewed it as an obligation so much as an obsession. It was my obsession, and so it didn't really seem to pertain to others. Still, there are clearly times when it's good to have other people taking on specific responsibilities. On the old blogging platform, the user privileges were sort of 'all or nothing.' You could be a registered user and create comments and 'diaries' (now called FanPosts) or you could be the blog owner and do everything, including change the colors if you felt like it. For that reason, when I was in Europe for two weeks in April 2007, I asked for volunteers to create diaries about the games on the schedule while I was gone. Not an ideal solution, but it worked. On SBNation 2.0, there are multiple levels of permissions defined for users, so there's more flexibility.
As you have no doubt noticed, prior to my departure earlier this week I promoted Citizens Zhiv, mikey p and John R to the level of front page authors. For me, this was the perfect time to make such a move. Obviously, there's the simple fact that SBNation 2.0 allows me to do it. More importantly, it has become apparent over time that these three are not just ordinary citizens of Clips Nation. Not only have they been part of the community from the beginning, they are also among the very most active contributors. The roller coaster ride of free agency with Baron Davis and Elton Brand has brought many new citizens to Clips Nation, and on more than one occasion I've seen commenters mention these three by name as being part of what they like about the blog. Having had the opportunity to meet each of these upstanding citizens in person at last year's Clips Nation viewing party makes me that much more comfortable with them.
Importantly from my standpoint, they all also serve important, specific roles. Citizen Zhiv is the president of Club Optimism, not to mention the keeper of the English Language (FSM forbid that I should include an errant possessive in this post). Citizen John R is the resident capologist and stat geek - even if you don't agree with him, he can point you to the information and you can make your own decisions. (John R is also the unofficial watchdog of CN, chasing away trolls, which allows me to play the good cop, and I appreciate that as well.) Citizen Mikey P has settled nicely into a role of RSS reader, voraciously scouring the web for Clipper-related content and bringing it to our attention. All Citizens can fulfill that role from time-to-time, and FanPosts are a great place for that sort of thing. But Mikey has clearly taken it to a different level. It's something that I've never been great at - I like to spend my time working on analysis and crafting longer pieces. So the fact that he's there to take on this very important task (let's face it, some popular blogs do little else) is an FSMsend to me.
I've been gone for four days. In those four days, my three new deputies have posted to the front page of Clips Nation 10 times. They've also created numerous quality FanPosts in that time. (It should be noted that John R invested 'Front Page' effort into his Zach Randolph FanPost, bumping himself from the Front Page because of the Camby signing - the correct editorial decision.)
And the proof is in the pudding as the say. Readership continues to be through the roof in this incredibly busy July. With over 6,100 page views on July 16 and 5,600 on July 15, the simple fact is that two of the busiest days in the history of Clips Nation occurred while I was looking at waterfalls. Obviously the Camby news drove people to look here, but there needed to be something for them to read when they arrived, and I am incredibly grateful and gratified that CN continued to provide superior content for its Citizens in my absence.
At the risk of demonstrating my own obsolescence, I want to point out that most of the top basketball blogs were linking to CN this week. Tom Ziller hyped both Zhiv's Summer League post and his Camby post on BallHype. J.E. Skeets linked from Ball Don't Lie to the Summer League post and to Mikey's Camby post. As a point of reference, I think CN had been linked from Ball Don't Lie twice before this. So yeah, I'm feeling great and a little replaceable at the same time. (If we can ever break the ClipperBlog monopoly on TrueHoop links it will be a major accomplishment. As some of you know, Kevin is actually a guest blogger on TrueHoop when Henry is on vacation, so it's not surprising that he's the 'go to' guy for Clipper news. Still, some day maybe Henry will link us.)
So, ClipperSteve is back, and I'll have a Camby post up later today. But first things first, I simply had to express my gratitude to our new front page writers before anything else. Thanks so much, gentlemen. I know for certain now that I can take a break and leave Clips Nation in excellent hands.