APM week 1
Unsure as to what this was about? Check the pitch.
This is the third year of APM, and after the general interest surrounding APM2011, I wasn't all that surprised that people were asking me if I was planning to do it again before it started. What did surprise me was the number of people who showed an interest, from all spheres of my life. I updated the pitch beforehand to emphasise a little that I'd welcome contributions - pointing out that 2 people took part in 2010, and 5 people took part in 2011.
Even so, I wasn't really expecting the kind of response we've seen this time around. At the time of writing, 40 seperate submissions have been made, from 11 people - and I know that several people have piles of work they've done, but can't get onto the internet yet - and yet more people are promising to backfill the days they haven't done, or catch up. It's actually a little overwhelming. It's not just sketching either, we've seen digital work, pixelart, comics, beadwork and poetry - and there's promises of more media to come.
In the past, my experience of APM has been that the month overall gets quite tiring - it's difficult to maintain pace for the entire month, and it does become a bit of a slog towards the end. About half of the people contributing have stated that they intend to go for the entire 31 days, and about half are just picking and choosing the ones that inspire them. This is a big shift from last year, where only Zebbie and I made a go of it. I think it's incredibly cool that people are going for a picture every day, that's a lot more than I expected.
As many of you will know, this isn't the first time I've ever worked on a communal creative project - and it won't be the last. However, it's the first one where people have really engaged with it without me cajoling them into it. I promoted the existence of the project, but that's all really. I'm always interested in figuring out why these things work or fail, and in this case I'd guess that the enthusiasm was due to a number of factors:
Quite simply put, I've been blown away by what you guys have done here. It's clear to me that this isn't really my project any more, it's our project.
After just two days, I realised that we were on track for 150+ submissions. While it's likely that the number of contributions will slowly peter out over the course of the project, as the novelty wears thin, it's not guaranteed, and either way ~50 is about the sane limit for the number of pictures per page in my old site design.
To me, this looked like it'd be no good, so I reworked the page to include thumbnails and make seperate pages for each day. I think it looks good, but it's a fair bit of work to maintain. If APM were about twice the size of this, I'd need to look into a decent content management system to deal with it.
One of the questions that has come up a few times is 'Can I catch up with previous days?' - the answer is of course yes. There aren't really any rules to how you can contribute, so absolutely go back and draw pictures for earlier days if you want to.
In my case, during this week, I've had four evenings out of the house, where I've gotten home at around 11pm. I wasn't expecting to lose so much time, and it means I'm a few submissions behind. In the past I'd rarely drop behind by more than 1, so my apologies for the delay. I've also spent significantly more time on keeping the page up to date, which was unforseen, but not unwelcome. I plan to get back up to speed by the end of Sunday.
So, this isn't really a surprise - but the visitor throughput of my webspace increased massively since the start of March. There have been approximately 300 unique visitors in the last week, of which about fifty or so are coming back to read the site multiple times. You'll note that it peaked around Monday and fell away afterwards. There are two reasons for this. First, Monday is a really good day for my website hits. I don't know why - probably because people are busy at the weekend, and then check what's going on at work during their lunchtime. (There's usually a spike on Monday lunchtime.) - Secondly, I didn't really make many updates since Monday in this week, and the number of visitors tracks remarkably well with the frequency of recent updates.
To compare, last year's APM gave a very similar trend. Here, the peak visitors were shortly after we started, and the last point you see is a Monday.
Last year, interest in this project peaked at the beginning, then remained constant at around 40 visits per day following that. This year, we have a lot more people taking part, so it might be the case that we get more interest as it goes on. This is good for the possibility of bringing in more interested people, and maybe some of those will feel inspired to make some art too.
Well, that's all I've got to say for now. I have no idea if this is of interest to you, so let me know if you found it interesting or helpful.
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