This issue marks the beginning of our eighth year of printing, so it’s time to reflect. I could regale you with seven amusing years’ worth of stories about all the blunders we’ve made. But that’s kind of painful and this page doesn’t have enough room to tell them all. So let’s talk about our last issue instead. If you missed it, on our last cover we had She & Him, who are Zooey Deschanel and some guy. Normally, Zooey Deschanel the actress would never appear in this magazine. Film publicists are a pain in the ass. They’re extremely protective of their property and will string you along for months.
Zooey Deschanel the musician is a different story. A fun little trick you can do with celebrities is, if they happen to be in a band, you can go through their music publicist who always tends to be more helpful. It worked and we set up a photoshoot with She & Him and got way too many awesome pictures of them to print. This presented an interesting problem for us. We’re a really small organization so how the hell do we let Zooey Deschanel’s fans—who it seems like there are more of online than in real life—know about our little magazine? Most of the people we cover are generally pretty stoked that we’re writing about them and they tell anyone who will listen that they were in our magazine. And I love that! Unfortunately we cannot count on She & Him to tell their loyal flock that they are in our magazine.
So I actually started to do a little online PR for the magazine. For the most part, our website just sits there and we hope people find it. We try to do link swaps with like- minded websites, but that’s about it. With the last issue I got a bit more proactive. I emailed some photos to fansites but didn’t get any bites. Then someone suggested I try Tumblr. If you’re not familiar, Tumblr’s an extremely fast moving blogging site where people can share images, links and videoswith their followers in two mouse clicks. I describe Tumblr as Livejournal on meth. My friend came up with a better description when he called it “creative blogging for lazy people.”
I started an ION Tumblr account and put up some of the images of Zooey Deschanel that we didn’t have room to print. It is a very strange feeling when you post a photo, leave your computer for a few hours and return to 300+ emails telling you that your photo has been reblogged by people all over the world.
I look at our website stats every night. It tells me how you found the site, what pages you visited, how long you visited them for, what type of browser you have, who your internet service provider is and what your connection speed is (believe it or not, 2% of people who visit our site still use dial-up). Normally, our web traffic comes primarily from Canada, The States and Scotland (because there’s an I-ON Magazine in Edinburgh and we have a better search engine ranking than them). When our traffic spiked due to the Zooey pics, it was all “What up Brazil, Japan, Australia. Russia and chunks of Eastern Europe? Welcome to the party.”
Seeing our magazine spread all over the globe—and seeing that our photos were deemed “avatar worthy” by various Zooey Deschanel online communities—caused this Grinch’s heart to grow three sizes that day. The last issue with Zooey was such a success that we actually tried to get 30 Seconds to Mars to be on this cover but they were too busy. You’ll have to settle for Diplo instead.
published april 2010 in ion magazine
Photography: Toby Marie Bannister www.tobymarie.com