2014 was a massive, massive year for the New England Revolution, and it was also a big year for The Bent Musket. Apart from significant bumps in visits and page-views, details we won't bore you with here, we had some periods of very exciting engagement with a lot of people, especially during the Revs' cup run to end the season.
That sort of engagement breeds interaction, and on that note, we'd like to resurrect an idea from a couple of years ago: TBM's Reader Awards.
These will be our second annual (we skipped last year though) edition of the awards, and here's what we're breaking down. We will announce TBM's highest-volume commenter, FanPoster, and FanShotter, with the runner-up. By necessity, we are disqualifying contributors, since we tend to be involved in almost every story.
Without further ado, your categories and winners.
The comment section saw growth in 2014, but it is still criminally-underutilized by many of our readers. Yes, I am including most of you reading this. Even if you think you comment fairly often, there's probably plenty more you could say. In the future we may hope to open up other comment-related categories like most-recommended, wittiest, most poignant, or something else; for now, we will go with the reader who left the most comments in the 2014 calendar year.
Winner: Marc Sanches
Marc was a mainstay on the site throughout the Spring and Summer, even when our posting dropped off while Steve was busy studying for the Bar Exam. He was a wellspring of humor during the World Cup, and out of everyone who comments regularly, he seems to have the best grasp on the SB Nation platform's commenting system. All told, Marc Sanches left 1,424 comments, 1,129 more than the next reader in line. In fact, he trailed only Steve Stoehr and Jake Catanese, both site contributors, in total comments.
Runner-up: DB53 (295)
FanPosts are an area we would all really like to see improve. The section is meant to be a place where readers can share opinions, stories, anecdotes, or really anything longer than a link or a paragraph. If we see a FanPost and enjoy it, we as editors can look it over, make it pretty, and place it in the main page layout, which has happened numerous times in the past. Not numerous enough, though; we encourage all of you to make use of this tool in the future.
SkyonAir takes this mostly on the strength of the NWSL brand re-design series from earlier this year. Many of the opinions shared were thoughtful, insightful, and huge improvements on the current scheme in America's top women's league. It was also a great example of one way to use FanPosts, because it provided SkyonAir with a medium to express opinion that, frankly, we as editors did not do nearly enough to showcase. That was an unfortunate timing issue. In all, SkyonAir left eight FanPosts, three more than the nearest runner-up.
Runner-up: LETSGOREVS (5)
I hate to be mean, but when it comes to FanShots, you guys are dropping the ball. There were only three site members with multiple Fanshots in 2014; all three of them are TBM contributors (Steve, Jake, and Brendan Doherty). FanShots are a way for readers to share things they see related to the Revs, the Breakers, the Rhinos, MLS, New England soccer, or even just soccer in general, as they browse through the internet. Pictures, links, tweets, quotes, videos - all of these qualify as excellent, FanShot-worthy content. Don't hesitate to use that tool.
Winner: Three-way Tie between DimitriT, DB53, and bwidell
These are the three non-writers who left FanShots this year. Like FanPosts, we can place FanShots we like into front page layouts. Let's make the increased use of FanShots and FanPosts a goal for 2015.
Well, that's our award show for this year. Maybe next year we can do Best FanPost or Funniest FanShot or something along those lines. This site is nothing without you, the readers; we're looking to you for ideas, inspiration, and content!