Interview with Saucy Diva

The full interview via e-mail with Saucy Diva of TrinidadCarnivalDiary.com for BitDepth#769, Carnival's Hot Sauce.

Who are you? Of course, you can't tell me directly, but I'm a bit curious about your background beyond your being a "Carnival baby." Do you have a full time job? What sector do you work in? Administrative? Technical? Scientific? Broad descriptions would be fine. I'm just trying to find out who the Diva is when she isn't writing about Carnival.


I write about Carnival 365 days a year Mark; I am a Carnival enthusiast who blogs as a hobby. I have a day job and if you found out where I work I don’t think you would be too surprised.


What is Trinidad Carnival Diary and what is it's mission? How long have you been writing about Carnival now? Why a blog and not a full website? What were the decisions you made and the models you were following when you decided to create the blog?


I thought my blog was a website, it has a proper “.com” and everything! I have been writing the blog since August 2006 and it is a “diary” of my thoughts, opinions and preparations in the lead up to, during and post Carnival festivities in Trinidad. (Author's note: Some of the Trinidad Carnival Diary content, such as photogalleries, are hosted offsite, ergo the question about a “full website,” no slights on her approach to her blog were intended.)


When did you realise that you would be doing this on a daily basis? Did it evolve organically or was there a plan from the beginning?


It was never a plan to blog daily, it just so happened that I feel as if I have something to say and in the vain nature that is blogging I was also spurred on by a challenge in 2007 when a reader remarked that Carnival is over and they wanted to see what I would have to write about next. Once I realized that there IS so much more to say, I have not looked back since and every day, there is a new blog post.


I've noticed a new arrangement with Triniscene. Has that been more profitable for you? What were some of the advantages of moving the blog under the umbrella of a larger Carnival related organisation? Is this something that's shaping up to be a living?


The arrangement with Triniscene is for syndication services; the blog is linked to their website and they in effect get some of my content for an agreed upon sum. I don’t feel as if I am under Triniscene’s umbrella as I operate very much as an independent entity, and they have no control over the content that is on the blog. So if someone has a problem with something I have written, writing to Triniscene is futile.


Since I never set out to blog to make money I will be honest with you and say that I have not tapped into the full potential and opportunities that there are for Trinidad Carnival Diary, however in the future I would love for Social Media to have such a presence in Trinidad that one gets paid to blog professionally!


I've described you as the most successful blogger in Trinidad and Tobago. What are your numbers like these days? Can you share when they spike and when they sag? Have you been planning your posts around analytics data or do you just do your thing as you see fit?


The secret is my husband is the one who obsesses over the numbers he checks Trinidad Carnival Diary’s statistics daily. I am not perturbed, if there was no one reading the blog I would still be blogging (as I have several other blogs that I write that I am sure no one reads!).


Currently I average just over 4,000 hits a day and double that in page views; the trend is a huge jump in numbers as the build up to Carnival nears. The spikes are in January, February, March, July, August and September (band launch season).


What is your relationship with your readers like? Any creepy moments? The engagement is quite strong, and your influence appears to be quite profound. Does that make you nervous, concerned?


Because I try my best to remain anonymous my relationship with my readers is somewhat complicated. I get lots of emails from fans of the blog who love sharing their passion for Carnival; however requests to meet are always met with a negative by me.
I love all the fans of Trinidad Carnival Diary, I answer all their questions and if you saw some of the questions and the patience with which I answer you would understand!


Lets say one of my readers somehow figures out who I am I hardly ever deny it is me if they come up to me at an event or on the road for Carnival. The creepiest moment was when a “fan” recognized me from a pixilated photo of myself I had on the blog; but she turned out not to be a psycho stalker and we are pretty good friends today.


I love how you say my “influence is quite profound,” tell me Mark by what measure have you come to that conclusion? (Author's note: In my own experience, a link from Saucy Diva is likely to drive as much as five times the traffic to a Carnival related story on my website as one from traditional media both in print and on the web.)


And yes I am aware of the fact that other people think I have an “influence” so I am very particular in what I endorse or choose to affiliate with via the blog as a consequence of that knowledge. I mean have you seen all the disclaimers I have that my views and opinions are simply mine?
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