OK so I just finished watching Vincent Price in "The Last Man on Earth". Reading some recent threads, I'm guessing some of you feel like the last choppers on Earth; comments read include: 'the site is dying', 'all the old-timers have moved on', 'things really started going downhill after 2006'. Well thanks, I started
chopping in 2007... I think (sniff sniff)... I'm going to cry.
Eh, not really as I hear these exact
same laments on other sites too. As mentioned above I run a small community site; I get 100s of thousands of hits and have hundreds of return visitors, but less than 80 members and maybe a dozen or so routine participants. Our tourneys were never huge - 22~28 participants - but in Sept I had to sell my soul to get 13 participants. Thirteen. Trust me, I feel your pain.
It's disheartening to me and you because we love
photoshop and are willing (and able) to carve out time in our lives to create. Fewer seem to have this option these days. I was recently unemployed for over a year; job seeking is time-consuming. I had some reserves, but many don't so maybe they give up DSL/cable to pay for essential needs. Then there are the folks with jobs fearful of losing them so they are working like mad and no longer have the time or energy to commit to chopping.
Given when photoshop came into its prime, folk were younger and uncommitted; I know a dozen former talented choppers who just have - or want - to commit time to their expanding families. Chopping was just a (shudder) passing hobby.
And this last point, oh you won't like this... the Golden Age of Photoshop has long passed. Photoshop and similar apps are more available to the unwashed masses. Those looking for 'cutting edge' aren't looking at Photoshop alone. In many ways, sites that now cater to traditional image manipulation are like needlepoint clubs of the past.
So I see two possible solutions, the 1st being simply to manage expectations
rather than make major revisions to attract an audience that may no longer exist. Accept that there will be fewer participants and less voting. Focus on activities that keep the current community together such as group collaborations. On the site I admin'd we created an art deck of playing cards - more collectible than functional - that the community shared with friends and family. Sometimes those tangible objects can draw new faces into the art.
The other solution (which I'm planning now regarding my own site) is to broaden focus into digital arts that use photoshop as a tool to create the final piece. I and my lead admin have interests in 3D, digital film editing, freestyle digital painting, and other related arts. So we really aren't looking to attract more choppers, rather widen the community base and maybe get some nifty multi-media projects launched.
It's all very ambitious but I have low expectations... if it all falls apart I'll still be happy just chopping my days away. The Wacom pen - the sewing needle of the 21st century.
You all have a great week!
p.s. I hate to add a new post (because I'm really not wanting to whore) so just wanted to add that I'm not trying to be dismissive of regular contributors opinions but rather express that your concern is a shared experience outside this site. Nor do I believe that my rationale nor 'solutions' are the end-all. I'd love to be proven wrong: I've admired this site for awhile and very much intend to continue chopping. Thanks.
Going back to quiet observer mode now.