At Rum & Monkey, we love our audience. You’ve been here with us since the beginning; on January 30, 2002, when we pulled the giant “on” switch and the city lights all flickered out – we like to think with joy – you were ready and waiting for the products of our fecund finger-tappings.
The Internet, however, has moved on. It used to be enough to tack up a page and leave it sitting there, winningly smelling up its corner of the web while people stopped by to copy embed codes into their MovableType weblogs. These days, you’ve got to throw up – literally throw up, projectile-style – brand pages on Facebook, Google+, Twitter, RedTube and Grindr, and ideally track the hell out of your visitors and sell inferred knowledge about the HIV status of their children to the dazed, pockmarked remnants of the KGB, operating (as everyone knows they are) from a warehouse loft in Sunnyvale.
With this in mind, some time ago, we added a Facebook “like” button to all of our pages. Most people don’t know this, but in exchange for doing so, Facebook provides detailed demographic information to site owners, using the profile details of people who didn’t log out of their site and happen to stop by our site. (Seems legit to us.) Our visits and pageviews are pretty awesome, but we’ve been stabbing in the dark – now, for the first time ever, we could analyze the demographics of our site and better serve you, the user.
This is absolutely true: the key demographic for Rum & Monkey is 14-year-old Indonesian teenage girls.
“No way,” we said.
As it turned out: way.
We’ve been running this site for nine years, people. We’ve run articles about Sarah Palin, Robert Mugabe and George W Bush. We’ve called Ariel Sharon an evil criminal, we’ve discussed the finer points of New Labour politics in Britain, we’ve made web toys about the looting in New Orleans post-Hurricane Katrina (all in the best possible taste, of course). Our hope – nay, our plan – was to attract a disaffected audience with the same disjointed sense of humor.
Now, it could be that Indonesian teenage girls have a particularly adept understanding of global sociopolitical current events, and have been attracted by our intelligent but irreverent coverage of same. More likely, though, they don’t give a shit, and have been skipping right past all that stuff to the Name Generator Generator, rendering our tears, sweat and that time we locked a team-member in his room for three days entirely pointless.
Which is not to undervalue Indonesian teenage girls. I’m sure you’re all great, and you’re in an up-and-coming part of the world that’s rising beyond its troubled past and is sure to blossom in your lifetime. That’s awesome. We just don’t know how the shit to write for you.
So, girls, answer us this: what can we do better? How? Why?
Everyone else out there who’s tried to run a website: how do we pivot from this?
And finally, to the three people who have actually been reading for the LolPalins and the Señor Peegs and all the rest of it: thanks. It means a lot.