QT Luong in Ken Burns’ National Parks series
This post consists of three points: a reminder, a clip, and an answer.
Missed Ken Burns’ “The National Parks: America’s Best Idea” last fall ? The series returns to prime time this winter, with the first episode airing this Wednesday, Jan 27 on PBS, and then appearing on consecutive Wednesdays through March 3. For local times, check the PBS site. Each episode will be also available for online viewing for a week, following its airing. Note that the DVDshas now been released, if you prefer to watch at your own pace. Ken likes to joke that its a great excuse to upgrade to HDTV.
This appearance was short, but there were only a few other living characters (as opposed to commentators) and the movie was seen by more than 30 million people. I am often asked, what impact did it have ?
Not much happened on the web (where I conduct my business exclusively). Immediately after the broadcast, just a few dozens of people added me as their friend on Facebook, or followed me on Twitter. At first, I couldn’t even see any difference in web traffic in terms of numbers of visitors, although I could see that they were more engaged from the number of page views. It’s only when I used the beta Intelligence function of Google Analytics – which makes it possible to monitor events by analyzing logs in a very sophisticated way – that I could quantify the number of new visitors from the first broadcast: about a thousand, a number drowned in the usual thirty thousand daily visitors. Besides a number of queries for my National Parks book (which doesn’t exist yet), impact on the business was minimal.
However, from October to this date, I went to five gatherings: a group show opening in Thousand Oaks, a diving trip to the Channel Islands, a company function for a client in Walnut Creek, a gallery opening for another artist (Jock Sturges) in San Francisco, and a wedding in Anaheim. In each of those instances, I was surprised that one or more persons recognized me.
The most pleasant, and unexpected surprise is that I was able to reconnect with several old friends with whom I hadn’t been in touch for sometimes more than a decade, as they emailed me upon watching the series.