The Magic Of Twitter

September 22nd, 2008 · 1 Comment

Twitter holds an interesting place in the current Internet pantheon. Everyone uses it, but no-one is sure it isn’t a complete waste of time. It seems to be a guilty pleasure in the Internet social networking buffet. However I contend it is the most purely useful of the social networking sites.

We’ve written before about the importance of relationship building. I think that quite simply it is one of the key differentiators between success and failure in any space. If you can make some kind of collaborative work relationship with the right people you can succeed. However making those relationships can be very difficult.

Twitter gives us a chance to simplify the hardest part. I quite frequently send e-mails to bloggers or website owners to see if we can collaborate. Unfortunately that e-mail basically boils down to “Hey will you be my friend?” It’s hard to phrase that in a way to not sound desperate and give the impression that you have value to bring to the table. Twitter helps brush all of that out of the way.

When you join Twitter you have people who you “follow” and people who “follow you.” So basically as soon as you join you can just start “following” people who are in your space. Almost no one has so many twitter “friends” that they don’t notice a new follower, so they come check you out. Usually if they like you they follow you back, and bingo! You’ve skipped the whole uncomfortable “can we be friends” phase.

This lets you get down to immediately starting to “vet” each other and see if you can “take the relationship further.” I know all this metaphorical language sounds creepy, which is exactly why Twitter is so useful. You don’t have to figure out a way to approach people without being creepy, which, sadly, is not easy for me.

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Skellie Brought Me Down Today

September 21st, 2008 · 1 Comment

Today I was reading Skellie’s article on not posting for quite a while and it totally bummed me out. Not necessarily because she’s dealing with some issues regarding her blog and keeping up with it (I’m far too self-centered to worry about that). Instead I was troubled by her claims that she is only giving up $600-$1000 per month by not having ads on her site.

I discovered her blog during one of the periods she was guest blogging for Darren Rowse and I like pretty much everything about her blog. She re-affirmed my hope that you don’t have to make your persona completely public to be successful and she writes very useful articles. She has around 5000 RSS subscribers according to her post, of which I am one.

5000 RSS subscribers is a lot. We have one, me (Annie doesn’t even subscribe). So I find her statement that she could monetize at only about $1000 per month to be a little demoralizing. While I’ve never really wanted to “make money by blogging,” I think her site is indicative of the capabilities of Adsense based revenue. If someone as successful as her could be making a whopping $12,000 per year, what shot do we have?

All of this is validating my fears regarding our Internet Empire. I fear that if we work really hard and apply ourselves, we can make as much as we make now for roughly the same amount of work. Annie and I are both fairly successful people and I enjoy a lot of freedom in my work. It’s troubling to think that a large up-front cost of effort, we can duplicate my current situation.

I know all the super marketing pimps like John Chow will point out that there are way more ways to make money than just advertising. There are of course examples of plenty of people making good money from their websites. As I said we don’t intend our blog to be our sole source of income, or even primary. We’re building an Internet Empire after all. Nevertheless it’s a bit daunting to think that if we scaled the seventy five hundred levels, between our blog and Skellie’s that we would be in the 12k/year range.

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Straight Up From Here: Again…

September 20th, 2008 · No Comments

I am continually waffling back and forth between an unshakable belief in immediately developing a “content network” and a unswerving loyalty focusing on one site. To be honest it is really impossible to run Protoscopic as a solitary site since it is intended to be a case study increating another business. I suppose we could have focused on the business of blogging, but a blog about blogging has been covered ad nauseum by more qualified minds than I.

So we inherently had to have Protoscopic as well as our first business venture, but the question was always:

Are Websites More Like Flowers Or TV Shows

The question boils down to this. Is time a critical element in any websites development, or is momentum the key? Should you focus on one project until it is somewhat self-sufficient before you move on to the next, or is any effort past a certain point a waste? Do websites grow like a garden, slowly and with a modicum of care, or are they like a TV show where you can‘t let up lest they lose momentum?

Limited Bandwidth

Today I believe you should focus primarily on one site. I was convinced by a recurring issue in the development of Walt Disney World For Grownups. We have repeatedly gotten to a point where I am convinced “This is it, it’s straight up from here.” Of course it never is and I grow lax in my promotional efforts in the meantime. While I’m out starting new websites and thinking up new things, the gains we’ve amassed begin to dissipate.

For example, not too long ago we were fortunate enough to get two new forum users are the same time. They were active and exactly the kind of users we were looking for and they were on enough that I was convinced they were hooked. Unfortunately this led me to spend less time “pimping” our site. Sure enough the interest of those users waned and they visited less and less often as they were unengaged due to a lack of new content. I am hoping that as I continue my promotion efforts they will return and help add energy then.

The Future

So unfortunately in the process of waffling back and forth I have created several websites that I am loathe to abandon while I refocus on Walt Disney World For Grownups. I’m hoping I can keep them limping along while I focus my efforts on our main site. I’m sure that if I can just get one more influx of users it will be straight up from there!

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