Analyzing My FriendFeed Stats: I Should Be Direct Posting More

I’m curious about the level of interaction that occurs around the different content that streams through FriendFeed. Distributed conversations are fine by me, and I wonder what sparks them most often for content. So I did a little analysis of the ‘likes’ and comments that have happened for me.

Below are some pie charts. The first set analyze the ‘likes’. To the left is the percentage of my FriendFeed stream that comes from different content sources. To the right, I counted the number of ‘likes’ for the various content sources. For the ‘likes’ I only counted for the month of May, but I think it’s a decent approximation of my overall activity.

A couple observations:

  • Blog posts and FriendFeed Direct Posts are the biggest sources of ‘likes’
  • Google Reader shares and Twitter are a big part of my stream, but don’t generate a comparable percent of ‘likes’

Now let’s see how the comments look:

Would you look at that? FriendFeed direct posts dominate the comments. My blog posts are #2.

What’s It Mean?

I imagine everyone’s experience will vary. For me, I draw four conclusions.

My FriendFeed use is similar to people who Twitter: With FriendFeed direct posts, I’ll sometimes just make an observation. Other times, I direct post a website, generally with a graphic. This strikes me as similar to Twitter in that I’m posting something that can be consumed by anyone who subscribes to me. Also, these posts mean someone can stay within FriendFeed. Seems to make a difference in interaction when people can stay on the site. Like Twitter.

‘Likes’ dominate my blog posts: The Likes:Comments ratio for my blog posts is running at 4:1. For all the concern about fractured comments, I’d say people are overlooking basic recommendations of your content via ‘likes’. It’s not about the comments, it’s about the ‘likes’!

Comments on my posts frequently occur on someone else’s stream: There are several of my blog posts that have generated good comments. They just haven’t occurred on the RSS feed from my blog. These bigger comment fests have been when someone with much larger following and FriendFeed ‘presence’ (and I’m not going to write his name, because I use it too often…). But you know what? I’ll take those comments! They obviously weren’t happening just off my own post. In the long run that kind of exposure is vital for us smaller bloggers.

Google Reader shares suffer from repetition: Good blog posts will often be shared by several FriendFeed members, including those with larger followings. So when I share, I may be following others. So the repetition diminishes the interaction. I still share – there is some interaction. And Google Reader shares end up in several other places, like RSSmeme and ReadBurner. These services will show the most popular shares, so I want to vote for these blog posts.

Final Thoughts

Colin Walker has some interesting thoughts about using FriendFeed as a blogging platform. Looking at how FriendFeed Direct Posts and my blog generate the biggest activity, maybe he’s on to something.

*****

See this item on FriendFeed: http://friendfeed.com/search?q=%22analyzing+my+friendfeed+stats%22&public=1

Ten FriendFeed Visitors Beats 1,000 StumbleUpons Any Day

The average StumbleUpon visitors stay a few seconds on the site and then leave having visited one page. That’s exactly how I use the StumbleUpon toolbar, clicking the Stumble! button quickly unless a site particularly grabs my interest immediately.

Traffic Growth #5 – What Value In StumbleUpon Visitors?
Fog of Eternity – Robin Cannon

Robin’s observation probably rings true for most bloggers. Sites like StumbleUpon and Digg can drive significant traffic to a site. If ad impressions or clicks are important to a blog, then those visitors might have value. If your goal is to build an audience with whom you mutually learn and build relationships, those sites aren’t worth much.

Traffic from StumbleUpon and Digg is like loading up on empty calories. They fill you up for a while, but they have no nutritional value and leave you hungry for more soon thereafter.

FriendFeed, on the other hand, lets bloggers build a solid foundation of long-term readers who in turn serve as the best sources of new readers.

FriendFeed Difference: Trusted Referrals

What makes FriendFeed such a great platform for building your blog readership? Two big reasons:

  • Trusted referrals
  • Blogger participation

FriendFeed enables trusted referrals at two levels of a blogger’s social networks. The first level are those people who subsribe to the blogger’s feed. They’ll be the first to see new content. These members may then comment, share or bookmark the new blog post.

The second level is more distant from the blogger. This is the “friend of friends” feature, as shown below:

With this FriendFeed feature, your blog is reaching people who do not subscribe to you. In the example above, I’m seeing Rex Hammock’s blog post because he’s a friend of Robert Scoble. A crucial thing to notice though…I only see Rex’s blog post because our mutual friend Robert ‘liked’ the post. His action is the key that makes this feature pop up. In other words, you’re not just bludgeoned with a huge flow of unfiltered feeds in the friend-of-friend feature.

I personally have used the friend-of-friend many times to follow new people I didn’t know. I have moved from being a second-degree member of the bloggers’ social network to a first degree member (i.e. a subscriber). This is a powerful feature of FriendFeed, both for bloggers to gain new readers and for members to discover new content.

The pictures below show how the FriendFeed social graph works. The initial picture shows a blogger’s beginning social graph. Four people subscribe to his FriendFeed updates. But those four have their own connections, enabling their networks to see the blog post. If they like it, then their friends will see it too. A viral process for blog exposure:

The outer bands of the blogger’s social graph get exposure to the blog. As the blog is viewed further away from the core, the viral distribution falls off. But some of the members in the outer bands will subscribe to the blogger’s FriendFeed, which increases his core social network:

The new subscribers become the source of additional readers through their social networks. A new blog post comes out, and their friends will see it, bringing new subscribers. And so it goes, on and on. With enough time, a blogger will have a terrific base of people that enjoy discussing similar topics.

StumbleUpon, Digg: Drive-By Readers

Contrast the slow-building, strong ties forged in FriendFeed to the fast, drive-by traffic coming from StumbleUpon and Digg. Sure, the traffic is great. But you likely won’t see those readers again. With StumbleUpon, many of those visitors are just clicking their ‘Stumble!’ button. With Digg, the blog serves as content for a community that exists entirely outside of the blogger’s social graph. So the blog post gets its moment in the sun with the Digg community, which then moves on to other content.

Final Thoughts

FriendFeed makes it easier for a blogger to build readership than did previous options. I also have a suspicion that exposure via FriendFeed makes it easier for smaller bloggers to make it onto Techmeme.

What do you think? Is FriendFeed becoming the true social graph of bloggers and their readers?

*****

See this item on FriendFeed: http://friendfeed.com/search?q=ten+friendfeed+visitors+beats+stumbleupons&public=1

You Can’t Win If You Don’t Play: A Blog Hits 50 Posts

WARNING: this is a navel gazing post. If don’t want to read this, go see what’s on Techmeme.

This blog just hit 50 posts, nearly three months after it started. That number actually crept up on me – hit me when I wasn’t looking.

I wanted to recount a few things of note over the past few months. Ideally entirely in Larry King dot-dot-dot format. But I tend to be more verbose. Anyway, let’s dig in, shall we?

Dot…Dot…Dot

I’m having a lot of fun, the little blog experiment has taken on its own life…getting blog subscribers, FriendFeed followers and Twitter followers means I don’t have to pimp my blog on other blogs as much anymore…that Louis Gray, well, whew boy…one thing I’ve learned, there are informal, unstructured social networks of bloggers…speaking of which, I need a better connection with Sarah Perez…my appreciation for uber blogger Robert Scoble has increased immensely: insightful, witty opinions that fire up readers…best feeling in the world is to put a new post up on the blog at midnight, go to sleep, wake up and see Gmail filled with notifications of new blog comments, Twitter and FriendFeed follows, links from other blogs…my social media consumption workflow: gmail, this blog, FriendFeed, Google Reader, Twitter, in that order…appearing on Techmeme, like getting a plum part on a Law & Order episode for an unknown actor…Techmeme founder Gabe Rivera’s Twitter page currently has a picture of lion eating a zebra, which makes me think, what’s Gabe’s story?…how long until I screw up and write something I shouldn’t?…my blog idea process is ad hoc, haphazard and based on serendipity – every day is a surprise…

Biggest Surprises

I titled this post “You Can’t Win If You Don’t Play” as a way of saying that you need to just participate in order to see the benefits. I could not have foreseen some of the following things that occurred when I started this blog.

LouisGrayCrunched. Louis Gray wrote a very nice post on April 7, 2008 that said this was a blog people should be reading. He did it after I wrote a post reviewing the Toluu service. His post put this little blog on the map for a lot of his readers, many of whom are here now as well. I can’t tell you how grateful I am for his ongoing support.

Proposal to Clean Up FriendFeed Clutter. FriendFeed co-founder Bret Taylor picked up on a post I wrote suggesting ways to better organize the updates in FriendFeed. He posted it to FriendFeed and a there was a really nice discussion there around the ideas.

Web 2.0 Jedi. This post has really surprised me. It was picked up by Digital Inspiration, based in India, which has a huge following (“the 40th most-favorited blog on the Internet”, according to Technorati). Many, many clicks from there, and that blog has been a gateway to bloggers around the world. A number of international blogs have included the graphic and linked to the original post.

Techmeme. Three posts made it onto Techmeme (here, here, here). Can’t believe it.

Social Media Identities. I love the discussion that occurred here. Included industry folks with whom I don’t normally connect.

Twitter Just Grows and Grows. This simple post turned out to be quite popular. It told me there’s a real interest out there in Twitter, and information is harder to come by than I realized. TechCrunch later ran a post about the “real Twitter usage numbers”.

‘Peanut Butter’ searches. I continue to be haunted by the mysterious ‘peanut butter’ search visitors. People searching for ‘peanut butter’ continue to be my biggest source of visitors. Who are you? What search engine are you using (it’s not Google)? What makes you click through? I may never know the answer to these questions.

My 5 Favorite Posts of the Blog

This is like picking your favorite child, but here they are:

  1. FriendFeed RSS Is a Fantastic Discovery Tool
  2. Becoming a Web 2.0 Jedi
  3. Farewell, Pay By Touch, Farewell
  4. Proposal to Clean Up the FriendFeed Clutter
  5. Innovation Requires Conversations, Gestation, Pruning

Best Posts for Comments

These posts were most active in the comments section (including my comments):

  1. Becoming a Web 2.0 Jedi: 20 comments
  2. Social Media Identity: Personal vs. Professional: 16 comments
  3. The Best Blogs You’re Not Reading? Toluu Knows: 11 comments

Most Viewed Posts

  1. How to Write a Farewell Email to Your Co-Workers
  2. Early Adopters: Attention Is Migrating to FriendFeed
  3. Pay By Touch and the Peanut Butter Manifesto
  4. Becoming a Web 2.0 Jedi
  5. Farewell, Pay By Touch, Farewell

Top Referring Websites

My blog really isn’t part of the StumbleUpon and Digg worlds. FriendFeed has become my top day-in, day-out referral site.

  1. Techmeme
  2. FriendFeed
  3. Google Reader
  4. louisgray.com
  5. wordpress.com
  6. Digital Inspiration
  7. Twitter
  8. Stumbleupon

Top Search Terms

Peanut butter…peanut butter…peanut butter! Aaagh!

  1. peanut butter (several variations)
  2. farewell email (many, many variations)
  3. pay by touch
  4. peanut (basically a peanut butter variation)
  5. friendfeed rss
  6. blogs
  7. facebook
  8. reasons for fatigue

And that concludes the navel gazing. If you made it this far, thanks for reading.

*****

See this item on FriendFeed: http://friendfeed.com/e/9c2030a5-c02e-dd79-f274-caf58e1af8e8

How Do Solo Bloggers Break into the Techmeme 100?

26% of US internetters have started a blog
Stat from Universal McCann study, courtesy of the blog 3008

A couple weeks ago, Steve Hodson at Winextra wrote a post that caught my eye. In Why today’s solo bloggers may not see Scoble-like fame…, he observes that the emergence of investor-funded professional blog networks (e.g. TechCrunch) will be the dominant industry structure going forward. Breaking the top end of that oligopoly will be tough for any solo blogger.

However several solo bloggers are regularly in the Techmeme 100, as Steve notes here. It got me thinking about how someone’s blog goes from a little experiment to achieving a large audience and becoming influential. The stat above about 26% of Web users starting blog strikes me as high, but let’s assume there’s a large number of individuals starting blogs.

From where I sit (far, far outside any kind of Techmeme rankings), I can envision three ways the influx of solo bloggers can break into the Techmeme 100. To be sure, there are other rankings beyond Techmeme. For instance, the Technorati 100 is a big deal. Political blog Huffington Post doesn’t show up on Techmeme, but it dominates the Technorati 100. The paths below apply to non-tech blogs and non-Techmeme rankings.

The three paths to the Techmeme 100 are:

  1. Long Slog
  2. Big Events
  3. Celebrity

Long Slog

Slow and steady wins the race. This is the most accessible to a the solo blogger. Through a lengthy amount of time, you accumulate readers. It’s a ground war, where you need to be “good enough” most of the time with flashes of occasional brilliance. Here’s what the growth chart would look like:

Patience. Quality posts. Devoted long time fans.

Big Events

This blog experiences a series of big events that give it jumps in subscribers. Each events attracts a flood of new visitors, some of whom decide to subscribe.

What might these big events be?

  • Recognition by bigger bloggers with huge followings
  • Freakishly popular posts
  • Specialized area of focus that suddenly becomes hot

I think that if a blogger emerges on the other side of these big events to have a wide following, there’ll be this sense that they burst on the scene. But like an actress who suddenly gets hot, you’ll never see all the bit parts and ‘B’ movies that she was in before.

‘Big events’ is the one that’s most likely to get solo bloggers into the big time. This is the path that requires the most luck.

Celebrity

This is a path open only to a select few. Celebrities who have made a name for themselves in other realms, and then turn out to have talent in blogging as well. Celebrity blogs attract subscribers almost from day one:

Marc Andreessen has proven to be quite talented at blogging. And it didn’t hurt readership that he had already achieved legend status based on Netscape. Imagine if Microsoft buys Yahoo and Jerry Yang decides to start blogging on his own. I guarantee that will get subscribers (I know I’d subscribe).

Final Thoughts

Celebrities go right to the front of the line, but they’d better have blogging talent. Long slog blogs are testaments to the love of blogging. Big events seem to be the most likely path for the next Robert Scobles and Louis Grays to emerge.

*****

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Innovation Requires Conversations, Gestation, Pruning

The day-in, day-out work of employees is tough on innovation. You have to get done what your managers, and the company needs today. Now there’s nothing intrinsically wrong with getting the near0term stuff done. Companies would be chaos if everyone did their own thing. But the typical work day is not conducive to maximizing innovations.

Which is where employee blogs come in. Enterprise 2.0, if you will.

Current Workplace Environment

Several things limit the amount of innovation coming out of larger companies.

General Busyness. Andrew McAfee has a nice post on this one. We’re all very busy. It feels that way, doesn’t it? And it’s not just any busyness. Your hours must have an immediate, measurable outcome. That leaves little time for the longer term, R&D-oriented type of thinking that can result in breakthrough ideas. Google’s 20% of time for personal interests stands out as an example of a company fighting this dynamic.

Existing Processes Are Hard to Change. The current products, internal practices, meetings, sales efforts, etc. are all geared to what is going on today. Much of this infrastructure is decreed from the top. New ideas which require these same corporate resources get a tough reception. It’s like you’re adding new work to everyone’s day.

Proximity Drives Relationships. We tend to share our thoughts with those we work with regularly. It’s natural. These form our relationships. So if you have a new idea, you’ll naturally bounce off these folks. But it’s crap shoot as whether you’ll get far this way. Your colleagues may not be interested or are too busy. A good idea can suffer a premature death.

Ideas Go to the Email Inbox to Die. Email is a tough medium for idea exchange. You can send your idea to someone else. If the recipient doesn’t have an immediate response, the email just sits there. And sits there. And sits there. Before long, your email is six feet under. Never to be read again. Email also suffers from limited distribution, unless you spam the corporation with your idea.

Now it’s not like innovation is failing to occur. But do companies’ internal pendulums swing so far toward busyness that they’re not maximizing their vital innovations?

Conversations, Gestation, Pruning

You ever have an idea that you really thought had legs? Well, if you just keep it to yourself, it won’t go far. Your butterfly wing flap needs to be picked up by others. The process of talking out your idea is important for validating it, refining it, seeing if it has potential.

These conversations are hard to have based on the usual workplace dynamics described above. Sure, some will happen. In a company of 10,000 people working 40 hours a week, 50 weeks a year, there are 20 million hours annually. Out of these 20 million hours, some innovation conversations will happen. But enough?

New ideas also challenge the status quo. They need time to sink in. Colleagues know the existing processes, products and services well. How does your idea affect that? How will it improve it? It’s hard to rush people to grok your idea.

This gestation also lets the idea play out more fully. It can be refined, altered, researched. Others pick up the idea and discuss it. It gets socialized. Others can become advocates, including those with a say on corporate resources.

As a result of these conversations and gestation time, some ideas will emerge as real opportunities. Many won’t. In fact, most probably won’t. But that’s OK. Real innovation is hard to achieve; if it wasn’t, we’d all be enjoying our start-up IPOs, right? This pruning is healthy and necessary.

Blogging Is a Natural Channel for Employee Innovation

In my brief blogging experience, my eyes have opened to the power of blogging. You put an idea out there, and see what others think. You make connections. You read other blogs for different perspectives.

A lot of this makes sense for addressing the hurdles to employee innovation:

  • General busyness: Blog posts need not take a lot of time. Ideas can be entered in 10 minutes.
  • Existing processes are hard to change: A blogged idea does not put someone in the awkward position of considering how it will increase their workload and change their routine.
  • Proximity drives relationships: Blogs are location neutral. Anyone can find them. Forget the guy in the cubicle next to you. The employee in Asia might grok your idea.
  • Ideas go to the email inbox to die: Blog posts live on. They’re RSS-able. They’re shareable. They’re searchable. They’re taggable. And they can be accessed by everyone.

Blogs let the conversation continue in an asynchronous fashion. You can comment on a post. Share it with a colleague. Link to it. You can build on someone else’s post. Recruit others to your cause.

All of these factors contribute to the gestation period needed for the new idea to take hold. And they help prune ideas so the ones with the most potential survive.

And a Couple Nice Benefits Also Happen

An interesting thing occurs from this: new employee social networks emerge as connections among bloggers. There are the people you work close to. Those whom you collaborate on projects. And now new connections are made based on knowledge and innovation. Those last ones may be the strongest of all.

Employees can also raise their profile and reputation with their blogging. Here’s a nice example. EMC is deploying web 2.0 technologies inside the enterprise, an effort that is being blogged by Chuck Hollis, EMC VP Technology Alliances. In a recent post, he describes how several internal employee bloggers are “graduating” to be external bloggers. That’s right – they now will engage the market on behalf of EMC.

All in all, blogging holds tremendous benefit for companies. While many employees won’t do it, those that do can become real drivers of innovation.

*****

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The Eight People You Meet in Blogging

A couple big unrelated Techmemes of this past weekend are actually two sides of the same coin.

First, there was the heavy discussion around Shyftr and the loss of a blogger’s comments. The comments exist elsewhere, and bloggers lose connection with their readers. Second, there were a lot of opinions about Andrew Baron’s sale of his Twitter account, and its 1500 subscribers. The blogger is not bemoaning the loss of connecting with his readers; indeed he’s actively encouraging it!

Here’s what these two stories made me ask: Just why are you blogging?

Blogging is a quite personal pursuit, and we all have our own reasons for doing it. Feeling a little ambitious, I sat down and came up with eight different reasons that people blog. The eight people you meet blogging. Here they are, and they are not mutually exclusive.

1. It’s a numbers game

There are a lot of ways to get readership. For some, increasing this number is the be-all, end-all. Blogging numbers are the point, not an outcome of some other reason. Case in point: Faisal Anwar. He writes about his efforts to maximize StumbleUpon traffic to his site. He figured out that funny pictures drive StumbleUpon positive reviews, leading to more StumbleUpon visits. So he loaded his blog posts with funny pictures, to the point of losing sight of his blog’s focus:

Unfortunately for me, I pumped in too much picture to my site almost every day until it became a humor site (that not my original intention).

2. One-way communication

Blogging is a forum for mass dissemination of information and opinion. Probably the best way to think of this type of blog is as a marketing vehicle. Yeah, some response back to you is OK. But that’s not the real purpose now, is it? The larger the number of followers, the harder it is to maintain connections with them.

Andrew Baron’s sale of his Twitter account…what do you think the purpose of his Twitter micro-blog was?

3. Provide valuable information to others

This is probably the most altruistic of blogs. The American Cancer Society maintains Dr. Len’s Cancer Blog. Consumer Reports maintains a safety blog. These blogs can be a bit freer and more opinionated about information, making them more engaging than just static articles.

4. Make money

A time-honored pursuit, making money. Ad money, to be specific. Engadget, TechCrunch, ReadWriteWeb, Mashable. Check out their ads – they have a lot of them. Eric Berlin even notices that Mashable has a lot of ads. These blogs put a premium on speed, frequency and exclusives. And a good dollop of opinion sure to drive page views.

5. Establish your reputation

A perhaps overlooked aspect of blogs is that they can establish your reputation out in the world. Seth Godin asks Why bother having a resume? He argues that instead of a resume, you should have “a blog that is so compelling and insightful that they have no choice but to follow up.”

A friend of mine at a law firm told me about a 3rd year associate who blogs. His intellectual property law blog is read by a number of industry folks, and some senior partners in New York have reached out to him with questions. Talk about establishing your reputation!

6. Influence your industry

Michael Arrington. Robert Scoble.

7. Learn by doing

This is why I started this blog. I’d been primarily at the lowest level of the Web 2.0 Jedi ranks. I then took a job working on enterprise 2.0 product marketing, and knew I had plenty to learn. So this blog is a two-fer. Blogging itself has been a tremendous experience that I really enjoy. And I blog about a lot of Web 2.0 topics. This has forced me to really grok these concepts.

8. Learn by connecting

The interactions on your blog posts can be incredibly valuable and rewarding. You learn so much about how others think. The loss of this connection robs the blogger of feedback about his or her thinking, and that of others. And thus loses an opportunity to grow. This last reason may have been the biggest one to fuel the Shyftr debate over the weekend.

What do you think? Fair assessment? Did I miss any other reasons?

*****

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Bitchmeme Recap: What Happens on Shyftr, Stays on Shyftr

Background: Shyftr is a service that pulls the entire feed of a blog into its site, and lets users comment on the post within its site. The comments never make it back to the original blog. What happens on Shyftr, stays on Shyftr.

The spark: Louis Gray (who else?) wrote about Eric Berlin’s concern over the comments that had accrued on Shyftr, not his own site. A legitimate beef, and one that clearly generated some heat.

The bitchmeme: Some liked the idea of posts and comments being anywhere. Some didn’t. Some liked it. Some didn’t. Some…uh, well…you get the picture. I will note that Tony Hung of Deep Jive Interests became the poster boy for anti-Shyftr sentiment.

The Scoble Factor: The preeminent blogger of our time, Robert Scoble, weighs in with the post, Era of blogger’s control is over. He’s gung-ho about Shyftr and all ways by which his content is distro’d. Now based on Scoble’s preferred use of social networks, this ain’t surprising. He sets up our man Tony Hung as the old-school thinker about controlling content.

Tony Hung: Comes out swinging against Shyftr. Says the aggregation of comments away from the originating blog is wrong. To make his point, Tony proceeds to single-handedly post a comment on every single blog that weighed in on the issue. Tony, that must have taken forever. Next time just put up a comment on one of those aggregator services…

The scorecard: On the question of whether Shyftr has stepped over the comment line or not…

  1. Eric Berlin = yes
  2. Louis Gray = no
  3. Robert Scoble = no
  4. Tony Hung = no
  5. Pauk Glazowski (Mashable) = no
  6. James Robertson (Smalltalk Tidbits) = no
  7. Mark Evans = no
  8. Mathew Ingram = yes
  9. Ross Dawson = yes
  10. Alexander van Elsa = no
  11. John McCrea = no
  12. Frederic (Last Podcast) = no
  13. Mia Dand = no

So that makes the vote…two + three…carry the one….

Shyftr sucks = 3

Shyftr is OK = 10

Denouement: Shyftr announces that it will no longer carry the full feed for any blog post that has conversations “outside the reader”. I think they’re saying no more full feeds? Frankly, it’s a little unclear to me what they’re saying, but I’m not active on Shyftr. Louis Gray gives his opinion on this change here. I’ll probably have to check Shyftr out in more depth sometime.

The final word: Dave Winer provides a helpful definition of “bitchmeme”:

A Bitchmeme is something that happens on weekends when new stories are in short supply so ideas that otherwise would be buried on Techmeme rise to the top. Usually they’re people complaining about something or other which is why they’re called Bitchmemes and not Happymemes or Sarcasticmemes.

*****

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When Your Blog Is LouisGrayCrunched…

Start-ups can go through the Slashdot Effect, the Digg Effect or be TechCrunched. Well, five blogs were LouisGrayCrunched on yesterday.

Louis Gray is a top blogger in the tech world. He covers a lot of good tech topics, perhaps best known for his early and bullish coverage of FriendFeed. Which has borne out quite well. But it’s not like he just plopped some cool blog posts and the world beat down his door. He was like most of us little bloggers! See his post here for background. Money quote: In early 2007,

Writing for my seeming one-person audience was at times frustrating.

Through perseverance, skill, finding his blog’s voice, and a bit of Scoble intervention, he slowly emerged over time to the big time blogger he is now. Basically, he figured it out.

So it’s no surprise he took the trouble to recognize 5 blogs yesterday in his post Five More Blogs You Should Be Reading, But Aren’t. See, he’s been there: “Not being one of the Silicon Valley elite, I’ve always had a soft spot for ‘the little guy’.” This attitude extends not only to promising start-ups, but to bloggers as well. He’s giving back to the blogger community.

The five blogs he recommended in his post:

  1. Charlie Anzman / SEO and Tech Daily (anzman.blogspot.com)
  2. Hutch Carpenter [uh..me] / I’m Not Actually a Geek (bhc3.wordpress.com)
  3. Eric Berlin / Online Media Cultist ( onlinemediacultist.com)
  4. Mia Dand / Marketing Mystic (marketingmystic.typepad.com)
  5. Carlo Maglinao / TechBays (techbays.com)

I didn’t know any of these folks before his post (see! even us little guys don’t do a good job of finding our peers!). But after being listed with them in his post, I suddenly feel some fraternity with them. The Louis Gray April 2008 Five.

I’m now a subscriber to my four other cohorts, via Toluu of course.

Some other notes from being LouisGrayCrunched…

Direct Site Hits. This blog hot six times its usual volume. It got 161 hits for the day directly from Louis’s site. Just as interesting to me were the FriendFeed hits – 41 of them. People are checking out Louis’s FriendFeed for discovery of new stuff. And there was nice discussion around his various activity streams. The blog also got a push from being one of the 7 fastest growing blogs on WordPress for several hours. 79 hits actually. Didn’t realize folks checked out that category so much.

Syndicated Site Views. WordPress doesn’t keep stats of RSS subscribers to your blog. But it does track syndicated views for each post. My top blog post for the day was The Best Blogs You’re Not Reading? Toluu Knows. Half of the post’s 250 hits were via syndication. I assume some of that syndication is through an RSS reader. A blog post about subscribing to new blogs ends up being viewed by a lot of new subscribers…coincidence?

The Rush. I won’t deny it. There was a rush to today’s action. I imagine big-time bloggers – like Michael Arrington, Robert Scoble – are interested in the mass traffic they get, but do not get a daily rush from seeing it. But if your little blog gets a one-day explosion of traffic, then yeah, you’re thrilled.

The Expectations. I do feel a bit different now than I did yesterday. A vague sense of responsibility to keep up the standards here. Louis actually expressed a similar sentiment in a blog post. It’s not a problem. I’m sure I’ll have some posts that folks will really like and a few duds too . Stick with me – it’ll be worth it.

Blogging Karma. In a post from a few days ago, The First 20 Blog Posts Are the Easiest, I talked about blogging karma:

Share the blogging love. Add new blogs to your RSS reader. Add links to interesting posts on other blogs. Post on others’ blogs. Add others’ posts to LinkRiver, del.icio.us, StumbleUpon, etc. And do it for the smaller bloggers, not just the A-list. This is something I need to improve on.

Thanks for sharing the love Louis.

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The First 20 Blog Posts Are the Easiest

A few random thoughts on blogging after writing 22 posts and hitting 4,000 views.

Blogging is fun. I’ve enjoyed this more than I realized I would. Writing really is its own reward. I guess a paper journal might be a good outlet, but the social aspect of this is great. You get to join the conversation at large.

Blogging is work. Figuring out what to write is an ongoing activity for me. Seth Godin said, “I spend most of my blogging time deciding what not to post.” I wonder when I’ll hit that stage.

Long-form blogging. Most of my posts are long form. I enjoy writing through and around a subject. But others seem to be quite talented at delivering posts that are short and a good read. I may have to mix some of those in here.

Spamming Marketing your blog. I’m experimenting with ways to get the word out about this blog. Just the act of publicizing my blog was a hard thing to take on. I don’t like a lot self-promotion, but if you don’t do it, who will? Of course, one could ask, “why do you need to market it?” I’ll answer that a bit more below. To get word out about my blog, I do the following:

  • Add posts to del.icio.us, LinkRiver, StumbleUpon, reddit
  • RSS on FriendFeed
  • Share posts, which turns them into news feeds on Facebook via Feedheads
  • Twitter
  • Comments on other blogs

Marketing via Twitter. The 140 character limit of Twitter requires a bit of creativity. But I try to avoid just putting the blog post title and tinyURL. How do you capture the blog post in a way that makes someone want to read more? This is actually kind of fun.

Marketing via comments on other blogs. This is one that must be done with care. I’ve seen godawful attempts to spam blogs. My favorite poster over at TechCrunch titles himself “I’m not commenting to spam my blog” (or something like that). Here’s my philosophy on this:

  • Your comment should be able to stand alone. The comment should be such that it adds to the conversation, not just link to your blog. After all, you’re a guest on someone else’s blog.
  • If your comment is relevant and useful, someone might actually want to click on the URL you include to read more on your blog.

Karma. Share the blogging love. Add new blogs to your RSS reader. Add links to interesting posts on other blogs. Post on others’ blogs. Add others’ posts to LinkRiver, del.icio.us, StumbleUpon, etc. And do it for the smaller bloggers, not just the A-list. This is something I need to improve on.

You Can’t Win If You Don’t Play. You never know how things will turn out when you blog. This blog continues to get a lot of hits off the search term “peanut butter“. My post about writing a farewell email is the most-read post on the blog. Pay By Touch had a following out there, and this was one of few blogs talking about it. I’m sure there will something in the future that will surprise me. Marketing the blog is a great way to figure out what people are interested in, and I treasure every comment and link to this blog.

No clue how to land on Techmeme. This is apparently a big deal for bloggers. No idea how that happens. May not ever for this blog. I’ll sleep at night.

Don’t put a period after the TinyURL. I use the TinyURL service to shorten the URLs for my blog posts. This is handy for putting a link to a post on Twitter or on a comment at some other blog. Well, it turns out if you put a period at the end of the TinyURL, you get a 404 page. Quite embarrassing, to tell the truth.

That’s it for now. Gotta think about my next blog post.

Feed the Beast

My initial foray into blogging. Not sure what form it will take, nor can I establish a consistent theme for it. But the most important thing is to…

FEED THE BEAST

Blogs generally will not get much readership. Sad fact. This one may be lucky to get anyone beyond myself. But I know for sure that if the you maintain minimal content, infrequently updated, NO ONE will ever bother. So you need to keep the posts going. Just post, baby! If you do it enough, you’ll find your blog “voice”.

The great thing about Twitter is that it’s quite easy to build up content with those 140-character posts. Don’t overthink it, just type and go. And a hat tip to a blogger I’ve never read before today, Andrew Shuttleworth. His post about just getting going was an inspiration for me to just start writing.

Now, can I hook up my Twitter feeds to post here…?