Upcoming Changes to This Blog
For the past ten years, I have written this blog anywhere between five and seven days per week. For almost ten years before that, I produced regular content for the predecessor site to this one. When this blog was at its peak in 2013, I had 100,000 readers, regular appearances in media coverage, a number of TV opportunities, a literary agent, and a growing writing career in both fiction and nonfiction. None of that is the case today, and I don’t see a way to justify continuing to devote so much effort to this endeavor. Several recent posts had readership so low that I could have just emailed all of you a few bullet points and saved myself the trouble.
A number of reasons contributed to the decline, but a few are fairly obvious. First, I vastly underestimated the degree to which my readers cared about my work as opposed to simply hating Scott Wolter and America Unearthed. The (first) cancellation of that series in 2015 started the bleed of readership, and that downward trend never changed. Second, the transition away from an internet of articles toward a social media world of memes, videos, and pictures has further eroded interest in longer writing. Increasingly, there is no place for complex analysis. Over the last five years, I have tried many different strategies to expand my audience across many platforms and media, and nothing has made a dent. Even appearing on national TV did literally nothing for me.
I knew the end was coming when the hate mail started to dry up. In the mid-2010s, I’d get dozens of hate missives each week from apoplectic readers outraged at whatever it was I had said. The hate mail trailed off after 2015 and has largely stopped altogether. It’s a good proxy for disengagement as social media pushes people into bubbles where they may never encounter an unwelcome viewpoint.
On Sunday, one of my tweets had twenty times the number of readers as the weekly average for this blog. Overall, my tweets average around ten times the number of readers as my blog. However, that audience is almost all the same group of people, and it is not growing.
This past week, I borrowed a celebrity acquaintance’s 165,000 Twitter followers in an experiment to see if some higher-profile promotion could drive some more traffic my way and help to grow my social media presence in an effort to demonstrate to literary agents and media types that I have work worth representing. The results were beyond disappointing. The effort netted one like and somewhere south of 30 clicks. I had my largest audience since I was on cable back in 2013. And I got one like. Out of 165,000 people. I doubt I will get that kind of audience again, and it’s clear that I perform way below random chance outside the group that already follows me.
Whatever mysterious alchemy produces engagement, I don’t have it. Things haven’t changed very much since Nicole Kidman said in the movie To Die For that you aren’t anyone if you aren’t on TV.
The History Channel’s efforts to damage my career did not help matters. Leaving aside the time they threatened me with a lawsuit or the times I caught their employees posting inflammatory comments on my blog, their informal efforts caused real damage. My literary agent dropped me when he couldn’t get publishers to give me the time of day. The TV offers dried up next. I didn’t report every TV effort I undertook here on my blog. But I was under consideration for TV roles several times, and I shot a pilot presentation that impressed the producers enough to make plans for when the pilot was taken to series. The same answer came back every time: You can’t shop a show around in Hollywood with me in it because the bigwigs at A+E Networks and their corporate cousins (which include the Disney properties) decided otherwise. Sure, they could all be lying, but why would they all tell the same lie? I heard the same thing from the one literary agent since then who gave me any real consideration. If a book doesn’t stand a chance of finding favor with cable TV and Disney, then it might as well not exist.
I haven’t been featured in a news article in years, despite regularly doing interviews with reporters. I went from being quoted regularly in publications like The Washington Post and The Atlantic to being cut from the New York Times, CNN, National Geographic, and a list too long to name. The balance of effort to reward is far too skewed.
The trouble has always been that success isn’t an individual endeavor. It depends on having a network of people who are positioned to help you to succeed. That has never been me. It’s great that many people receive help and support from higher-ups that led to success. That wasn’t my experience. People tend to help only when they think there’s something in it for them.
So I got left with the aliens. Lucky me.
You don’t need to feel too sorry for me. I work all day at a dull gig writing backend copy for websites. I didn’t really want my legacy to be that I wrote the snippets of text that show up on a Google search for specific industries’ optimized keywords, but millions of people have read them. It would be nice to have a similarly large audience read something that actually had meaning.
The long and short of it is that I know what needs to be done for the next phase of my career, as much as I’m not enthusiastic about doing it.
First, unless and until more people read my blog or visit my website, posting nearly every day is not feasible or sustainable. There just aren’t enough of you to justify that. I won’t stop blogging entirely (and contractually I am obliged to continue efforts to promote my current and future books), but it can’t be as regular or as sustained as it has been for the past decade.
Second, since there are so few readers, having comments on the blog posts is increasingly pointless, especially when they are primarily the same handful of outspoken regulars making the same points over and over. The time it takes for me to read them and wade through all the spam (sometimes up to a 3:1 ratio) is a huge waste. Comments will remain open (with moderation) on this post, but I will be shutting them down soon.
Third, I will need to transition to more social media content, whatever that might look like. I’m not sure what it will look like yet.
Fourth, more of my efforts need to go into providing the best possible start to my new book—not the pyramid one, but the one after that. It will be connected to the upcoming seventy-fifth anniversary of UFOs in 2022, and it will need to be on a tight schedule to make the deadline. The first step is to devote the upcoming weeks to crafting a strong proposal.
7/14/2020 09:14:26 am
I'm glad you won't be quitting entirely! I've just found your blog and added the rss to my reader. Looking forward to looking back through what you've already written.
7/14/2020 09:20:55 am
I've read every one of your blog posts since Season 1, Episode 2 of America Unearthed ("Medieval Desert Mystery") in December 2012. Going to miss your well-researched writing. Thanks for what you've been doing. Good luck in the future.
7/14/2020 09:35:00 am
Your foray into politicking tended to discredit your complex analysis. Please know that any critical analysis of my own in this regard was not done with ill intent. Though I'll certainly miss some of the more benign lunatics you attracted, I'll not miss the imbeciles. Good luck Jason.
7/15/2020 01:10:35 pm
The irony here is positively yummy. This blog has hemorrhaged visitors over the years who did not want to have to scroll through endless beyond the pale comments or did not want to be bullied for daring to post their own perspectives. Guess who has been repeatedly identified as one of the major troublemakers.
7/16/2020 10:21:26 am
"Guess who has been repeatedly identified as one of the major troublemakers. "
7/16/2020 07:11:42 pm
'Tis a bittersweet symphony. But I look forward to seeing you at the next Troublemakers International meeting.
7/17/2020 10:05:51 am
To quote Dorothy, "I think I'll miss you most of all" Kent. Or would that be miss me? Either way, safer travels 'Cuz. Tread loudly.
7/17/2020 08:05:56 pm
Joe thinks that the analyses involving race and politics, which is what colavito was also doing in 2013 when the blog peaked in viewership, also led to a decline in viewership. I guess the recipe for reviving success is to stop talking about race and politics and start talking about race and politics.
Jr. Time Lord
7/14/2020 10:09:40 am
7/14/2020 06:58:07 pm
82 minutes is a surprisingly precise detail in this hitherto unpublished excerpt from "Aesop's Made-up Stories".
Jr. Time Lord
7/15/2020 01:55:22 am
82 minutes is the precise amount of time, I left my date waiting at my house. SHE LET ME KNOW IT TOO!!!
I can follow all your points. Nothing has been in vain, and you created a lasting impact, even if you do not notice it in full. Be sure about this.
7/14/2020 11:04:32 am
It's been a privilege to read your work for the past eight years, Jason. I wish you luck with your upcoming books, and the future of your career.
7/18/2020 10:24:04 pm
Wishing you all the best, Shane.
7/14/2020 11:31:18 am
I've read most of your posts over the past couple of years and have enjoyed your counters to the crack pot AA theorists and pre-Columbian theorists and how they tie to current issues. I have to admit that I haven't read as many fully to date.
7/14/2020 11:40:43 am
Dear Jason, thank you for giving me the gift of you, for the Mound Builder Myth, Jason & Argonauts Through the Ages, Cthultha Myth (exposed), Pyramidiots . . ., and your insightful, factual, well edited body of work.
7/14/2020 12:40:47 pm
7/14/2020 12:46:22 pm
While I rarely comment, your blog has been a bookmark that i have checked almost daily for at least 6 years if I remember right. Some articles I scan quickly, some I read in detail as some are more inline with my own interests. However, I often find your thoughts interesting on subjects I would not have otherwise cared about.
Can i get some cheese with that whine
7/14/2020 12:59:18 pm
Josh Gates, Scott Wolter, Graham Hancock and Schoch and so on and so forth are household names compared to the best known of the debunkers. The money is in telling people about aliens building pyramids not about Egyptians building pyramids.Did you really think that you could spin this gig into two hour long appearances on Rogan, number one best sellers, and quitting your day job?
7/15/2020 08:04:51 am
I wanted the opportunity to write about things other than pyramids and aliens, and I'm tired of them.
7/14/2020 01:31:15 pm
Jason, you're one of the bright points on the web. I read every post and recommend you to all my sane friends. The chase for social-media notoriety may be all too necessary these days, but please, you're doing important work, even if Disney and A+E don't want you interfering with their spread of mental manure. We can't let all the rational voices get shoved to the margins while social media's almighty algorithms drive the world to endless, baseless fury. Hang in there, we need you.
7/14/2020 01:37:11 pm
I will miss your informative articles, but I can certainly understand not wanting to put extensive time and effort into something that is not getting a large readership. I'm afraid I have no advice to give, since I have never even tried to attract media attention, online or otherwise. Sometimes what one is interested in just happens to be out of step with what is popular at the time. Still, I think that you have been performing a valuable, under-appreciated service in bringing attention to the many flaws with fringe history claims, and in tracing the history and context of those claims. I have learned a lot reading your blog, and I thank you for that!
7/14/2020 01:49:05 pm
Jason - I read The Cult of Alien Gods last year and started following your blog a few months back. Not much of a commenter, more of a lurker, but I do want you to know how much I appreciate your writing, both short- & long-form, and I'll definitely look forward to your work in the future. Times are tough for individual writers - I've seen the sort of sentiment from your post in general over the last ~year or so from a few folks I've followed/read for awhile; aggregators preferring bite-sized chunks only exacerbates the issue, and our short attention spans as readers doesn't help. I just want to say thanks for putting in the work, and know that you'll have readers in the future, whichever direction you head.
7/14/2020 03:40:55 pm
Dear Jason, reading your blog posts after receiving your newsletter is one of of my Sunday rituals for a couple of years now. I would miss them, because there's no alternative. But I understand your point completely.
7/14/2020 04:45:09 pm
A cry for help or a recipe for success? Mr. France made a good suggestion about Youtube, but it seems your real passion is complex analysis of young adult fiction.
7/15/2020 07:53:33 am
To the spam filter, which wasn't particularly effective.
7/18/2020 02:25:16 am
I've read every post and comment on this site, without taking married women on an imaginary four frozen pizza date, and I will say your spam filter was pretty darn good. You might say "Well, I deleted them manually" and I will say "Why didn't you delete every post that started with with "Look, asshole" or Bezalel's "Open wide, just the tip" from February of this year?
7/17/2020 03:40:38 pm
Stefan Milo is a lesser known, less knowledgeable and less talented version of Jason. His YouTube channel has 45K subscribers.
7/14/2020 05:14:12 pm
It is hard to understand the low demand since the website makes academic knowledge accessible to the general public.
7/14/2020 05:44:47 pm
Sorry to hear that you will be blogging less. I have really enjoyed reading your content over the last, wow, nearly ten years or so. And I'm sure that in will continue to do so. Will definitely engage more with your work on social media.
An Anonymous Nerd
7/14/2020 05:53:48 pm
The Fringe/Right Brigade always wins sooner or later, I guess, though the specifics vary.
Not the Comte de Saint Germain
7/14/2020 06:09:09 pm
Though I can't match Bigfred's longevity, I've been a commenter here since April 2014 ("Fringe History and the Survival of Esoteric Nazism"), and I've read most if not all of your posts since then. I don't watch any of the cable shows you demolished, but what I appreciated most was the detailed rundowns of fringe-history myths and where they come from. For that reason, I really hate that today's media economy seems to reward short and shallow, and that it seems you'll have to orient yourself more toward that market. But I'm glad you'll still post here occasionally, and I'm very glad you managed to publish The Mound Builder Myth (which I bought) and Legends of the Pyramids (which I will definitely buy when it becomes available). Your interests may increasingly lie elsewhere, but I found these histories of misinformation fascinating.
An Over-Educated Grunt
7/16/2020 06:47:26 pm
I was going to hold comment until I reached the bottom of the screen, but... thank you.
7/14/2020 07:07:54 pm
7/14/2020 07:22:22 pm
I must have ended up on the blog of a different Jason Colavito. The one that I am familiar with recently had a book published by a major press and was also invited to contribute an article to what is already starting to be a seminal collection of essays refuting Graham Hancock's nonsense. This Jason Colavito sounds like someone on a suicide hotline because they cannot even get a short story published in the local community college student literary journal.
7/15/2020 08:02:46 am
There is a massive disparity between my influence and my success. Not to put too fine a point on it, but I don't get paid for academic essays, which aren't really read beyond a small scholarly audience. The mound builder book failed its way down from its start at a big New York house to a regional university press, lost its marketing rollout to COVID-19, and at any rate I won't know its sales figures for a full year. It's lovely to be respected by thought leaders, but it's less lovely to spend one's entire life writing about space aliens and pyramids because one has been locked into a box for fifteen years. There is a whole world beyond that, and sometimes it would be nice to explore it.
7/16/2020 08:36:03 am
I think that you are trying too hard to craft a particular narrative.
7/16/2020 04:43:35 pm
7/17/2020 12:27:41 am
"There is a massive disparity between my influence and my success."
7/18/2020 07:08:08 pm
7/18/2020 11:27:59 pm
It's my understanding that "New York" is commonly used as code for The Slur That Dare Not Speak Its Name. Are you trying to not so subtly reference the
7/19/2020 12:15:34 pm
New York is also the title of a kickass Lou Reed album. Mere coincidence? Or not! And is it not within the realm of possibility that one can find Templar codes in the New York subway graffiti?
7/14/2020 08:43:05 pm
Well, you never lived long enough to become the villain. It would be a much easier path to become the kook and make outlandish claims to get your hits and retweets. Choosing knowledge over nonsense these days doesn't make you a social media darling and that is certainly disappointing. Hopefully at some point the lowbrow uneducated movement fades out and common sense returns. Either that or we just move to the bottom part of this flat Earth and start a better culture where your thoughts and opinions are published and appreciated.
7/14/2020 09:40:11 pm
I’ve been coming to your blog only for the last year or so. Finding your site while looking online for anyone who thought ancient aliens and Scott Wolter were nuts!
7/15/2020 07:52:13 am
Truthfully, I've been writing about TV since 2003. It was my first job after college and has always been part of my writing. The fiction side of how we represent our world has a deep impact on how people imagine reality, and it's all connected.
7/17/2020 12:30:14 am
You say so. Argument by assertion.
7/17/2020 10:15:45 am
Did you mean "proof by assertion" ?
7/17/2020 12:21:47 pm
7/15/2020 07:22:22 pm
"AA and Pawn Stars have just about run their course"
7/14/2020 11:35:46 pm
Every Batman needs a Joker.
7/14/2020 11:57:20 pm
" you aren’t anyone if you aren’t on TV"
7/15/2020 12:52:24 am
I go to your blog everyday and have for years. You have changed my thinking and opened my eyes to many things. I marvel at what you've done on this blog. You must be a genius. If, however, you miss hate attacks, here's one: I dislike some of your UFO articles. The ones where you debunk the UFO lunatics and nut jobs are ok, but when you say the whole phenomenon is non existent and cite various government stories at support your opinion, then these are the ones that I dislike. Furthermore, if you are writing a UFO book as your next project, don't. UFOs are a dead end for all but a very few people. Maybe you can get some work from that skeptic mag.
7/15/2020 02:53:26 am
I for one have loved your blog, it has been my go-to for any historical conspiracy nonsense. Best of luck, Jason.
7/15/2020 03:17:33 am
I’ve been almost a daily reader since discovering the blog several years ago, but I get it. Frankly, I’ve always been amazed by your sheer output of quality analysis, day after day, and wondered how you could sustain it. I’ve very much appreciated your work! I look forward to the rest of your career.
7/15/2020 03:52:10 am
I've been reading your blog for seven years. Then I became a reader of your books. My native language is Russian, and I live in a cultural context that is very different from the American one. But your notes in this blog help me understand the phenomena of modern mass culture in Russian. The course of your thought is always very interesting. Every Sunday, I spent 4 to 5 hours reading and thinking about your notes that appeared during the week. It is a pity that this will not happen again. I look forward to reading your book about UFOs! I wish you creative upehov!
7/16/2020 12:14:45 am
I've been a regular reader since the day, many years ago when the decade was young, my local newspaper published online an article featuring a weird claim which you debunked. I googled your name then reading this blog and its library became a daily occurrence at lunch time. Having been a fond yet sceptic adept of "merveilleux fantastique" through Charroux, Mazière and Hancock when I was a teenager in the 1990s, it was great to revisit these ideas with an adult mind. Your analysis were often sound, provided context and nuance, which made these stories, hoaxes and tales far more interesting. When shit hit the fan recently in the US, I was glad to have read the Mount Builder book you wrote since many outlandish claims from each side started to surface which I was able to recognize for what they were.
7/16/2020 12:54:56 am
That was a disheartening read. To me, you're brilliant and have deeply affected my development with critical thinking. I'll look forward to whatever you can devote to this blog. Honesty doesn't sell. My sincerest thank you.
7/16/2020 12:22:17 pm
I have been here since 2013. Happened to catch reviews of Ancient Alien specifically because I found the show ridiculous, even though I am a scifi author. (You will never find out my secret identity, or as one or more sleuth commenters figured, they got it wrong, ha).
7/16/2020 12:39:24 pm
I entirely agree with you. After the trolls got on this site, they would demean and belittle anyone who disagreed with them and in a lot of cases did not even mention the topic. Jason Colavito's response was....nothing. He refused to ban the trolls and gradually some of the old time posters refused to come onto his blog. He lost these people and they never came back.
7/16/2020 07:24:13 pm
Others would say it's better without Gunn "Stoneholes" Sinclair, a.k.a. Bob Voyles and the Buddhist Circuit Rider.
7/16/2020 09:28:48 pm
Joe Scales and Kent are the only two people who want to change the topic or get defensive when others raise the issue of trolls contributing to the decline of the blog. Positively delish irony!!!
7/18/2020 07:27:58 pm
7/16/2020 07:20:49 pm
@KAL "TV stations" don't produce content, and "TV stations" are up and running. I don't remember anyone trying to guess your identity, but if you can dream it it's real.
7/16/2020 04:34:36 pm
7/16/2020 04:52:03 pm
I will miss your book reviews more than anything, some were a bit of a slog, but you had the occasional banger, like your review of 'magicians of the Gods'.
An Over-Educated Grunt
7/16/2020 06:55:56 pm
I can't even tell you how long I've been here, but from the cheap seats...
7/17/2020 01:40:40 am
Maybe Mr. Scales and I are not the best writers here (I can't speak for him) but maybe we're the best. Not trying to shoehorn Atlantis or Islam or hand-crafted Bic lighter sheaths, or toothpicks and credit cards as tools into everything.
7/17/2020 09:41:52 am
No, you are not the best writers here, or anywhere else for that matter. Your self satisfied, sneering posts are asinine and tedious.
7/17/2020 10:54:09 am
Encouraging people with mental health issues to commit suicide, making overtly homophobic comments and posting the same long winded statement multiple times in the same discussion thread are just a few of the transgressions of Joe Kent. Makes the Atlantis and use of credit cards as a straight edge posts seem quite tame in comparison.
7/17/2020 10:22:55 am
A few of us wanted to keep Jason on the straight and narrow, and he was always fair in allowing critiques in this regard. I salute him for that. Unfortunately, others here saw it only as slight and would go to incredible lengths to combat same with only intellectual dishonesty or just plain imbecility in their arsenal. And speaking of the latter... someone seems to be missing from all this.
7/17/2020 05:33:09 pm
@An Over-Educated Grunt,
7/16/2020 11:31:35 pm
I think this is just a sign of the times. With covid, social changes, protests, etc... no offense but I don’t think a blog focussing on historical nuance and misunderstanding goes very far. And ancient aliens, while it hooks into the underlying racism of the current times, is still probably too niche for your average newcomer. Combine that with Twitter-length attention spans and long, in-depth posts, you get an audience that can’t or won’t keep up.
The Atlantis Expert
7/17/2020 02:12:11 am
Join the dark side, the Atlantis/Ancient Aliens Community is waiting for you. You may have to sell your soul...
7/17/2020 02:55:10 pm
Mr. Colavito said, "When this blog was at its peak in 2013..."
7/18/2020 08:15:45 pm
7/18/2020 10:07:14 pm
I have looked into the reality TV lineup of studios such as Prometheus Entertainment, and indeed during the pandemic they have had to shelter in and cut losses, and not ask people to come into work.
7/19/2020 11:03:47 am
Sorry to see you "cut back". I do think it a sign of our times-the USA Today trend of quick news without in depth thought. Too many tiktok like distractions now. The danger of losing the perspectives of truth and science among all the propaganda and misinformation (fake news right and left) is mind numbing-ly depressing to me.
7/19/2020 03:19:50 pm
The pattern has been established for years. The issue of declining quality of the blog is raised. The same two parties are identified as the core of the problem by those who acknowledge the elephant in the room. The only protests to the contrary come from those same two people. Nothing new to see here. Thankfully the geography for trolls is shrinking. One of the feebs tried similar stunts on another blog like this one and members turned out in force to denounce him and send him packing. Other blogs require visitors to register before posting comments thus making it easier to ban troublemakers. It's win-win. People can freely visit and read the main articles but the emphasis is on quality versus quantity in the comments section. One can feel safe to comment on an article without fear of harassment. Like roaches scurrying for a shaded corner when the lights are turned on troublemakers are forced to try to ply their trade in increasingly limited and marginalized cyberspaces. Good riddance!!!!
7/19/2020 12:57:14 pm
Jason, I came to your blog after watching an episode (apparently a rerun) of America Unearthed where the narrator kept talking about an ancient altar on the east coast. When I searched for that topic, your site was the first to come up. I read the post and bookmarked the blog, and came back to read the other articles. I always enjoyed your posts on horror and Lovecraft, and especially the ones on ancient history and pseudo-archaeology. We cancelled cable TV shortly after that, and so I didn't read the posts on Ancient Aliens or other TV shows.
7/20/2020 08:54:06 pm
It would be interesting to see you bring some of your strengths and explore the mis-dating and outright forgery of much of classical literature and history. Dante even speculated that Latin, rather than being an ancestor language, was a constructed lingua franca. Eusebius, Petrarch's Livy forgery, Plato... It's quite the rabbit hole.
7/30/2020 12:20:35 pm
Jason - I have enjoyed your blog for at least 10 years. As a lawyer, I face sketchy testimony and unsupported opinions often. I have always appreciated your scholarly dismantling of those who are bending and twisting facts into an incredible narrative. Nevertheless i have learned so much about history, anthropology and science in the debates that rage here. Plus you are talking about things that I have found to be "cool" since I was a youngster - UFOs, ancient civilizations, unsolved mysteries, strange phenomena, etc. . .
Your comment will be posted after it is approved.
Leave a Reply.
I am an author and researcher focusing on pop culture, science, and history. Bylines: New Republic, Esquire, Slate, etc. There's more about me in the About Jason tab.
Enter your email below to subscribe to my newsletter for updates on my latest projects, blog posts, and activities, and subscribe to Culture & Curiosities, my Substack newsletter.
Terms & Conditions
Please read all applicable terms and conditions before posting a comment on this blog. Posting a comment constitutes your agreement to abide by the terms and conditions linked herein.