Feb 26 2009

Almost Back to Normal

Wow, I don’t blog for three days, and my traffic climbs each day!  I’m not sure it’s a good sign if your blog is at its most popular when you’re not writing.

Anyway, the big project that’s been keeping me from daily blogging is almost complete; I can see the light at the end of the tunnel now.  It should go live Monday and need a few fixes that are bound to come up right at first, and then I’ll be able to breath again by the end of the week.  First thing I’m going to do is sleep two days straight.  Then I’ll be able get back to things I’ve been neglecting, like this blog.

I forgot to write about the St. Rose chili dinner last Sunday.  It went really well from what I heard; we nearly ran out of food this time.  It’s too bad all the late Masses in town seem to get out about the same time; we get a big crowd right about 12:15 and then it dies down pretty quickly.  Maybe a discount for early birds?  Hmm, have to suggest that.  I didn’t win the raffle again.  I’ve got some other church stuff floating around in my head to write about some time, but I’ll save that for another time.

I haven’t been paying much attention to Twitter lately either.  I was about ready to just drop it (again), when I ran across this post which says what so many people say about Twitter:

At first I ignored Twitter as just another vanilla social media app. Then I looked into it and just didn’t get it. Finally I signed up and started playing around, but was less than impressed (I followed all the wrong people and felt like I was opting-in to be SPAMmed). But then 2 weeks ago I had an eye-opening experience and came face-to-face with the full value of Twitter, and then just last week I met with Jack Dorsey and became a fullblown Twitter convert.

It seems like that’s always how it works:  Net-savvy person looks at Twitter, thinks it looks kind of silly.  He tries it out, decides he was right the first time: it’s silly.  Then something clicks and suddenly he’s got a thousand followers and thinks it’s the best thing since someone put bacon on a cheeseburger.

So, I’m sticking with it for now, although I haven’t had the time to play with it much.  I did look at a couple of those tools that help you to find people with the same interests or who are in your area, and followed some new people.  Some of them followed me back, and some new ones did too, so I’ve got about 40-50 each way now.  Thing is, it seems like every time you follow a few people, it sends an alert out to all the Internet Marketing people: the ones whose sole activity on Twitter seems to be getting to 10,000 followers and telling everyone else how.  There’s a real pyramid scheme feel to it, in a way.  I suppose those guys will move along when I don’t follow them back right away, and I’ll be left with the ones who might actually be interested in what I say.

It seems like all these internet marketing methods come back to one thing: The List.  No matter what technology and methods you’re using to do it, the goal is to develop a List of people who trust your opinion.  It’s like any real-life sales in that sense, which is probably why I don’t really care for it: next to being a clown, I can’t imagine many things I’d less like to be than a salesman.  But a good salesman’s List is worth gold after a while.  Online, it seems to be the same way.  If you’re a blogger, your List is the people who subscribe to your blog.  If you’re a Twitterer, it’s your followers.  If you collect email addresses in exchange for a free report or something, that’s the List.  On social networking sites, it might be your friends.  There’s really nothing new here except the tools.

But however your List is created, its value doesn’t just come from its length, but also from how much those people trust you.  If I follow 100 people every day on Twitter, it appears that at least half of them will follow me back automatically, so after a month I’ll have 1500 followers.  But will any of these people who have no idea who I am care what I have to say?  If I post a link and say, “Buy this cool product,” no more of them are likely to do so than if I’d sent it to 1500 random people.  I still have to spend time writing content, linking to cool stuff, and developing a personality, before any of them are going to take my opinions seriously.  So even though it might be a tool for growing a long List in a hurry, it still takes plenty of grunt work before the quality is there.

Something to work on in the future, I guess.  In the meantime, there are sites to work on and garden seeds to order.

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