For those of you keeping count, this is my 100th blog post on Blogger. I starting blogging here on December 30 of last year, so that’s 100 entries in 4 months…not bad for a former farmhand who taught himself to read at age 14 by trading blocks of manure for letters of the alphabet. We all have our calling, and I decided that I’d rather put manure on the internet instead of on Alabama topsoil.
Coincidentally, on the day of my 100th entry, I was delighted to see that Iron Man, the movie I lauded in Thursday’s post, made $100 million over the weekend. After seeing the small crowd at the sneak preview on Thursday, I was legitimately worried that this awesome movie would pull a Mission: Impossible 3 and fail at the box office. I want more action/super-hero movies like this to get made. I want Jon Favreau to direct Transformers 2. And I want to see Robert Downey, Jr. climb back into his titanium-alloy armor (why “Iron Man,” you ask? Titanium-Alloy Man just doesn’t have the same ring to it) and light up the screen again.
But it made $100 million. This is huge. It’ll meet solid competition this coming weekend against Speed Racer, but I think that movie caters to a younger crowd than Iron Man does. It looks pretty trippy, and I’ve heard good things, but I have a feeling that audiences will overlook it. That’s kind of too bad, because if it actually is good, it’s the type of movie that needs to be seen on the big screen, not on a TV.
It wouldn’t be a marquee entry without a so-called brilliant idea, so I’ll share one with you. For any of you that care about professional or college sports, you visit ESPN.com at least once a day. The content is constantly being updated, so on any given day you can see between 24 and 48 different front-page articles on the site.
With all due respect to ESPN and what they’ve put together—not just as a website, but as a sports network—sometimes it feels like there’s just too much. Click on the website link right now to see what I’m talking about. There are so many different types of content—you have scores, articles, photos, links to various websites or types of sports, ads, commentary, quotes, fantasy info, videos, search boxes…this list goes on. It’s sensory overload.
If you want to check ESPN at work, the last thing you want is a flashy, colorful page to draw attention to your computer monitor. And if you’re checking ESPN at home, there will always been content that you’re not interested in. In fact, I’d wager a guess that you’re not interested in 95% of the content on the ESPN homepage.
My solution? ESPN Clean.
ESPN should have a homepage that looks very similar to Google’s homepage—clean, simple, quick to load, absolutely no unnecessary content. You can set up your ESPN Clean homepage to include only the content that you’re interested in—choose the sports, specific writers (I read TMQ, but that’s the only article of that type from ESPN that I care about), and types of media (photos, video, etc) you’d like to include, and that’s all you get. No more NASCAR news, no more women’s golf (of course, you could make exceptions—if you don’t care about the NBA, but you like LeBron, you could input that into your homepage’s parameters). Just the sports and the news you care about.
Of course, ESPN wants you to click on ads and to turn on the TV to watch various sports, so they’d have to build that into ESPN clean. Maybe it would have the same ads, but only one would appear on the screen, and it would change every five minutes to another ad.
I think it’s tough to say that you could predetermine all of the types of content you want from ESPN—I mean, I want NFL content, but I don’t care much about reading about Cedric Benson getting pepper sprayed, and at the same time, I don’t want boxing content, but if there’s a big fight people will be talking about, I want to know about it—but I think you could get pretty close.
I hope ESPN makes something like this. And yes, I know you can set your Google homepage to include certain sports info, but it’s not the same as ESPN. If there’s a way to set up ESPN similar to how I describe ESPN Clean here, let me know.
So that’s it for the 100th entry. Thanks to all of you who take the time to check in on this blog, as well as those of you who have sent links to entries you’ve liked to friends and colleagues. That means a lot to me.