Blog Analysis: Intensities

Intensities is a blog that was started and entirely written by NYU alum Andrew Unterberger. It was created at the beginning of 2007 and was meant to cover one of Unterberger’s pastimes: popular culture, specifically TV, movies, and music. Unterberger worked on Intensities for three years before eventually starting a Twitter account and putting the blog on indefinite hiatus in November of 2010.

The layout of the blog is mostly pretty generic. I don’t think it looks terrible about it or anything, but there’s nothing about that would instantly set it apart from the millions of other blog accounts on WordPress. A lot of this isn’t Unterberger’s fault, as he hasn’t gone back to properly updating Intensities in almost seven years. But so much of it feels empty. There are no links to social media, no readily visible widgets, the footer just has the default “Blog at wordpress.com”, and the About Me section of the blog hasn’t been worked on at all. There is however another section for information about the author that he apparently titled You Know My Steez that says “Andrew Unterberger is a third-year student at NYU that undoubtedly has way more spare time than you do.”, which, judging how it says third-year, can be assumed he did not revise that segment since he first wrote it up.

The header for the blog seems to confirm what Intensities is shorthand for: Intensities in Ten Suburbs, which turns out to be a play on words on the homophone “Intensities in Ten Cities”, which is also a reference to the movie Wayne’s World. That makes sense, since it’s a pop culture reference, it should go hand in hand with a blog that covers such a subject. It’s accompanied a subheader that says “Just another WordPress.com weblog.” I find it hard to believe Unterberger would decide on something like that, so it’s my guess that it was a default setting.

On the other hand, he’s done a great job with his menu of all sorts of different pop culture topics and tags, which double as the blog titles. It displays the effort and love that evidently went into the content. From categories like Underrated Simpsons Moment, which as the title suggests takes a look at scenes from episodes of The Simpsons that Unterberger felt deserved more credit, to Listeria, listicles that mostly cover the top ten of something pop culture-related (you probably see a lot articles like that in today’s media as well.) These to-the-point titles easily the most user-friendly part of Intensities as it allows users to know what they’re getting from the blog, as well as translating nicely to anyone who also enjoys reading about pop culture.

Most of the blog posts contain some images or YouTube clips, but since it’s been years since the last Intensities post, many of the videos have been taken down and most of the photos are replaced with a sign that says “PLEASE UPDATE YOUR ACCOUNT TO ENABLE 3RD PARTY HOSTING”. This makes it hard to tell if any of them were made by Unterberger, even though it’s unlikely that even a tenth of them were with how easy it is to post them. It can be assumed that at the time of posting, those pictures and video were helpful for accommodating what he was writing about.

While Unterberger has devoted nearly the whole blog to things that have nothing to do with him personally (the exception being most of his posts tagged under It’s All About Me), his most commented-on posts are in regards to something that happened to him. A decade ago, he and his friends Andrew and Victor got together to compete on the second and final season of the VH1 game show The World Series of Pop Culture. Long story short, their team, Twisted Misters, ended up winning the entire tournament with their vast pop culture knowledge, and Unterberger made a point to recap their timeline on the show with a new blog post after each episode they appeared in. The first few recaps got a little over a dozen responses each, as opposed to the single-digit (if any) comments Intensities is used to. But the recap for the World Series of Pop Culture finale raked in 63 comments, an all-time high for the blog. There were even other people who had competed on the show at the time who left a response, usually some form of congratulations. Unterberger also jumps in to reply back to some of the commenters.

Honestly, Intensities had the potential to be a blog I’d visit every now and then if it kept going. It touched on things I’d have been interested in that was current at the time, and it was always detail-oriented, well thought out, and appeared to always respect its readers. I also really like that there’s an Archive section that makes it easier to reach past entries, which in turn makes it a lot easier to catch up if you’re new to the blog or if you fell behind on it.

However, there were still a couple things that didn’t translate well. More often than not, his entries would go on for longer than it would need to, and that runs the risk of the readers checking out before it’s finished. Also, while the titles for the categories he touches on are nice enough, they don’t do anything to help each entry immediately stand out, which could make things seem a bit stale to some.

Objectively, Intensities was a decent enough blog for what it was. Anyone who stumbles upon it will be able to see the effort that Unterberger put into it, as well as the love and passion he has for pop culture. It’s not perfect, but it at least provides a clear enough window into how much care Andrew Unterberger had for all things TV, movies, and music. He in all likelihood will never return to Intensities, given that he now writes for Billboard. But it was still a solid enough project that anyone who was into what he was into from 2007 to 2010 could have found something to like about it.

 

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