More asshat posts in 2008 coming…

Remember the learnings I put up yesterday. What was one of the key themes that I learned in 2007? That if you want traffic you must cause the metaphorical equivilent of a traffic wreck, right? Remember my seven Amazon Kindle videos? Here, let’s look at them again. Note which one got the most views: the one where I was a real jerk. This isn’t by accident. Human beings are attracted to conflict as stories.

UPDATE: This post is in reaction to this post by Scott Karp which was in reaction to how Gawker Media now pays its bloggers.

Me and Mike Arrington shaking hands at a party? No audience attention.
Me and Mike Arrington yelling at each other at a party? Audience gathers around.

Now you know why we find ways to argue during panel discussions. :-)

Amazon Kindle video #1. Unboxing. 10,961 views.
Amazon Kindle video #2. Kindle first use. 8,389 views.
Amazon Kindle video #3. Walking around with Kindle. 1,395 views.
Amazon Kindle video #4. Mike Arrington on Kindle. 10,223 views.
Amazon Kindle video #5. Books vs. Kindle. 13,708 views.
Amazon Kindle video #6. Me being a total jerk to Amazon. 88,134 views.
Amazon Kindle video #7 (Interview at SF State University). 31,432 views.

So, out of these seven posts which one got the most participants? Got me seen as a thought leader? Increased the intelligent discussion? Promoted good feelings? Increased my readership of smart people? Improved my relationship with companies and sponsors? Impressed my friends? Got the kinds of results I wanted?

I can tell you that #6 didn’t help me much at all in any of those areas. Yeah, it got a crowd going, but is that really what we want when we’re producing media? After looking back at it it’s not the kind of audience I want. I want participants, not audience. Why? Well, in 2008 you’ll see that participants are who advertisers and sponsors REALLY want to reach. Even those that buy page-view-based advertisements.

Anyway, Gawker Media is studying the wrong metric, but I’m happy that they aren’t figuring it out yet. That means my new thing has a BIG chance to get going in 2008 (more on that on January 16th). Of course it also means that I’m going to get thrown under the bus on Valleywag even more in 2008 than in 2007 (which will be hard to do, cause they threw me under the bus dozens of times in 2007).

For those who read just the headline: I’m going in another direction in 2008 — I’m going to try to do more posts and videos that make you more intelligent, not take advantage of your “slow down on the freeway when there’s a wreck” instincts.

Starting Thursday. We’re having lunch with Doug Engelbart, inventor of the mouse and smartest guy I’ve interviewed.

80 thoughts on “More asshat posts in 2008 coming…

  1. Video #6 isn’t a train wreck, Robert, it’s your best work. It’s the only one where you really show PASSION. Where you had done the hands-on, had real experience, and then just LET THE WORLD KNOW how bad the Kindle is. To hell with good manners, saying that the Kindle’s designer needs a good ass-beating and firing is important.

    When you try to be a “serious”, “professional” “journalist”, you have such a flat affect, it’s impossible to tell what you’re feeling. When you get pissed off (were you also drunk in that video? If so, drink more!), you’re great.

    It’s better to be great than to be nice.

  2. Video #6 isn’t a train wreck, Robert, it’s your best work. It’s the only one where you really show PASSION. Where you had done the hands-on, had real experience, and then just LET THE WORLD KNOW how bad the Kindle is. To hell with good manners, saying that the Kindle’s designer needs a good ass-beating and firing is important.

    When you try to be a “serious”, “professional” “journalist”, you have such a flat affect, it’s impossible to tell what you’re feeling. When you get pissed off (were you also drunk in that video? If so, drink more!), you’re great.

    It’s better to be great than to be nice.

  3. Be a jerk if the situation requires you to be a jerk.
    Otherwise be politically correct. As long as your posts will stay clever I will keep reading you.
    Have a great 2008!
    Martina

  4. Be a jerk if the situation requires you to be a jerk.
    Otherwise be politically correct. As long as your posts will stay clever I will keep reading you.
    Have a great 2008!
    Martina

  5. Did I overlook the irony? ;)

    You did a good job on the videos and why not let only your visitors decide what’s good for them? Your video #6 was an anchor to hook people to your site. It was a hilarious video. It is not about jerking up but about showing emotions for this is why human beings are considered human beings.

    And after all you published it because you wanted to show it to your audience. Their reason to watch the video is valid. Maybe you should never post any videos with you goofing up then or better: videos that you think you goofed up in.

    I think that you are wrong complaining and griping about your visitors if you fail to hook them for your other content. It is up to everyone to decide what’s intelligent stuff to them and what’s not. After all the term “intelligent stuff” is only an abstraction. Ask 5 Billion people and they gonna give you atleast 5 Billion answers.

    I am thankful for any traffic bomb that hits me. I cannot force anyone to do what I want.

    Life is about emotions and the fun. As far as I am concerned I would just put in a little more fun in the rest of the videos. People like emotions. Even Robots wanna get their hands on them (as far as Data from Star Trek is concerned). ;)

    Keep up the good work!

    Regards,

    René

  6. Did I overlook the irony? ;)

    You did a good job on the videos and why not let only your visitors decide what’s good for them? Your video #6 was an anchor to hook people to your site. It was a hilarious video. It is not about jerking up but about showing emotions for this is why human beings are considered human beings.

    And after all you published it because you wanted to show it to your audience. Their reason to watch the video is valid. Maybe you should never post any videos with you goofing up then or better: videos that you think you goofed up in.

    I think that you are wrong complaining and griping about your visitors if you fail to hook them for your other content. It is up to everyone to decide what’s intelligent stuff to them and what’s not. After all the term “intelligent stuff” is only an abstraction. Ask 5 Billion people and they gonna give you atleast 5 Billion answers.

    I am thankful for any traffic bomb that hits me. I cannot force anyone to do what I want.

    Life is about emotions and the fun. As far as I am concerned I would just put in a little more fun in the rest of the videos. People like emotions. Even Robots wanna get their hands on them (as far as Data from Star Trek is concerned). ;)

    Keep up the good work!

    Regards,

    René

  7. NPR or Shock jock?
    McNeil Lehrer or Jerry Springer?

    Adding value vs. titilating is the way to go in my book. Especially for B2B.

    Would you classify your audience as Business or Consumer? I say Business.

  8. NPR or Shock jock?
    McNeil Lehrer or Jerry Springer?

    Adding value vs. titilating is the way to go in my book. Especially for B2B.

    Would you classify your audience as Business or Consumer? I say Business.

  9. @26. Ineresting idea. Would seem to make more sense than doing a video a day and hoping something sticks

  10. @26. Ineresting idea. Would seem to make more sense than doing a video a day and hoping something sticks

  11. Looking forward to the Engelbart video. His “mother of all demos” (http://sloan.stanford.edu/mousesite/1968Demo.html) is required view, imo.

    As for the Gawker issue. It’s a no-brainer that blinkin’ lights, yelling and T&A get more views. “Qualified viewers,” however, are a different story. Imagine how influential a post on the early Well was (is?) compared with a “normal” post. Why? The folks reading that Well post are heavy influencers. It’s like every one of those views is worth 50 incidental viewers. Somebody will figure out how to create/monitor that metric soon.

    Nokia gave 40 of us at a PopTech precon a free N95. Why? They figured the crowd was made up of people they wanted talking about the device. (It’s pretty good.)

    Ads served up to qualified viewers of blogs and video might just link up with Doc’s VRM. Then we’d see some interesting stuff.

  12. Looking forward to the Engelbart video. His “mother of all demos” (http://sloan.stanford.edu/mousesite/1968Demo.html) is required view, imo.

    As for the Gawker issue. It’s a no-brainer that blinkin’ lights, yelling and T&A get more views. “Qualified viewers,” however, are a different story. Imagine how influential a post on the early Well was (is?) compared with a “normal” post. Why? The folks reading that Well post are heavy influencers. It’s like every one of those views is worth 50 incidental viewers. Somebody will figure out how to create/monitor that metric soon.

    Nokia gave 40 of us at a PopTech precon a free N95. Why? They figured the crowd was made up of people they wanted talking about the device. (It’s pretty good.)

    Ads served up to qualified viewers of blogs and video might just link up with Doc’s VRM. Then we’d see some interesting stuff.

  13. Robert,

    You inspired me to focus on engagement rather than traffic … perhaps we can think in terms of CPE (Cost Per Engagement) and come up with a consensus about how to measure this.

    I define CPE as: “The value of one unit of one person’s engagement with specific media that is strongly associated with a specific sponsor of the media.”

    Here is my attempt: http://podslug.com/blog/?p=115

    I would love to hear what folks think about a CPE model.

    Erik

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