Tag Archives: blogging

Did I harm my blog by FriendFeeding this year?

Since I’ve been blogging eight years this month I’ve been doing a lot of thinking about my blog and how I want to do things differently in 2009.

I told Mike Arrington, founder of TechCrunch, that I wonder if I’ve made smart time investments in 2008 by spending so much time on Twitter and friendfeed. Yeah, I knew about the Chinese earthquake before pretty much anyone, and 45 minutes before CNN reported it, but doing that required being online with Twitter open late at night after most of you had gone to sleep or were watching some TV.

He just posted that I need a friendfeed intervention, which is why I’m writing this post.

About a month ago I asked people over on FriendFeed and the comments came in hot and heavy. Of course most of them thought I did a good thing by spending so much time on FriendFeed this year.

How much time? I told Arrington tonight that I bet it’s seven hours a day or more. I started in late February. So, that’s around 2,000 hours. What did I get for my 2,000 hour investment this year?

22,997 followers.
6,841 comments. (These are blogs and items I had something to say about, so I left a comment on them).
13,078 likes. (These are blogs and items made by other people that I wanted to share with you).
I manually followed 5,405 people. (You can see all the content they generate in real time here).

Anyway, what did I give up by spending time on Twitter and friendfeed?

  1. A few of my friends think I am not as good a thought leader anymore because they don’t get as many long posts as I used to do.
  2. If you check Compete.com you’ll see my overall traffic went down about 14% this year while FriendFeed’s traffic went up 4,056%.
  3. I don’t get any money from friendfeed, while on my blog I do sell ads now.
  4. I’m not breaking as many stories anymore so I’m showing up on TechMeme less and less.
  5. Arrington himself told me he is reading me less on my blog, although lots of the “A list” crowd have been showing up on friendfeed now that it has hit a certain audience size and is starting to show up on their referral logs.

What did I gain by being on friendfeed and Twitter?

  1. I now get a much wider-range of news and am available to a wider range of people.
  2. My words now get indexed by the two most popular “real-time web” search engines: Twitter Search and friendfeed search. I know people who get their news by visiting Twitter search and looking at what news is “trending,” or becoming more popular.
  3. I am now part of the conversation in a way that I’d never be if I were just blogging. Seth Godin, for instance, only blogs and he rarely gets discussed on Twitter or friendfeed. If he were active he’d be discussed 25x more.
  4. I’ve made a lot of friends that are just reading me on twitter, I’ve met many people at Tweetups and the like that I’d never have met if I weren’t so active.
  5. By being active I’ve been quoted in countless articles about Twitter or friendfeed, which helps me too.
  6. Because I listen to the conversation I am getting better video interviews. Compete.com shows that FastCompany.TV is growing nicely this year and has taken up the slack for my blog. Add that into all my new readers on Twitter and friendfeed and I’m happy about my total readership. Seagate deserves a lot of thanks there for sponsoring FastCompany.TV back when there were no viewers.
  7. I now have a new news source that other bloggers won’t have: a crowd of 5,400 people who are bringing me the best news from around the web in real time. Already I’m seeing stuff there that will turn into blog posts and insights that other people aren’t seeing. Because I’ve build relationships with many of these people over the past year they call me and warn me about important news before they call other people. This “funnel” of news could be a sizeable advantage for someone trying to compete in a very competitive space.
  8. I now have a list of 23,000 people on friendfeed and 44,692 on Twitter that I can show potential sponsors. Before all I could say is my monthly uniques.
  9. In friendfeed Mike Arrington has 15,108 followers and I have 22,999. Mike has a LOT more blog readers than I have, so he should have dramatically more followers than I have on friendfeed. But by participating in these services I have collected more subscribers. Do they offset the same number of blog readers I’d have if I spent so much time blogging instead of hanging out on friendfeed? That’s the question that got Mike and I to talk.

Why does this all matter? Well, if you are going to do this as a business you’ve got to prove how many readers you have and demonstrate both audience size as well as influence.

The other thing that advertisers are asking me for is quantitative data about who is reading me. Some companies now don’t want to reach geeks, for instance. So, they are looking at your social networks to see what kind of audience you’ve attracted.

So, what do you think? Do I need a friendfeed intervention? Looking forward to having a good conversation. Of COURSE we are talking about this on friendfeed. In fact, in multiple places. :-)

Testing out the latest Windows Live Writer

I’m playing around with Windows Live Writer, here’s their blog where you can download it from.

They released a new version last week and it’s a very nice way to edit your blog (it’s an offline editor that lets you write and edit your blog without using a browser). Hooked up to my blog very quickly. Presents me with a much nicer user interface than WordPress.com has. Doesn’t rely on the browser, so I can open and close the browser as much as I want (since I’m playing with an early version of Firefox that crashes a lot on my system that’s a huge advantage). I’ll have to get Maryam using this for her blog, since it’s a lot nicer. Of course it always takes me about a year to convince her to do anything. If you read her blog (I’m her husband) you’d know why.

One more test, I want to see if I can copy and paste accurately from FriendFeed. I’m using Microsoft’s Internet Explorer 8.0, beta 2, and copied this item, and am just pasting it in here:

Google Reader Louis GrayGoogle Reader
Rumors of Upcoming Microsoft Cut-Backs

OK, it did just about the same as copying an item out of Google Chrome and into WordPress.com’s browser-based editor does. Cool.

Anyway, looking good. You should try it with your blog and let us know how it goes.

Why haven’t I always used it? Because I was using a bunch of different computers and didn’t like having a great UI on one, but not on the others (Windows Live Writer doesn’t work on an iPhone, for instance) and I wanted to know WordPress.com like the back of my hand so I could post faster. Now I don’t need that anymore because all my fast posting is done on Twitter or FriendFeed, and also because I’m consolidating my blogging into one computer, so an offline editor makes more sense.

Thanks Microsoft, very nice job!

The Twitterization of Conversations

Yesterday I filmed a video about the half-life of conversations. When I started blogging back in 2000 a blog conversation could go for a week or more. Those days are long gone. In this video I cover why, and show you some ways that tools can be used to lengthen the conversation’s half life (which, on Twitter, can be as short as five minutes).

This video caused a conversation to break out on FriendFeed.

[kyte.tv appKey=MarbachViewerEmbedded&uri=channels/6118/277917&embedId=49424382&premium=true&height=500&width=425]

More on Microsoft and not going to PDC

Frank Shaw answers back. He’s the head of Microsoft’s account at Waggener Edstrom, Microsoft’s main PR firm (and has been for years). Frank’s one of the smartest guys in the PR business, so it’s good for him to step in here. He basically has a finger lashing for everyone involved in yesterday’s incident, including me. I just saw his post in Google Reader, and added this note to it when I put it on my shared items blog:

Frank runs PR for Microsoft for Waggener Edstrom. He takes me to task. Fair enough. I over reacted a bit, mostly because employees were saying that what they said on blogs and on Twitter doesn’t reflect back on their companies, even if they try to disclaim that it’s their opinions. Sorry, that’s just not true. I didn’t make that point well, though, and over reacted. I’m still not going to PDC, it just isn’t high enough value for me. Same reason I’m not going to Apple’s PR thing in the morning. Engadget will beat me all over the place and I don’t have a team to tackle the event. At conferences I rarely get video that fits FastCompany.tv’s style — this year I’ve been to dozens of conferences. How many have you seen video from? Very few.”

To other Microsoft employees, I apologize. Glad to see that Frank addressed this in public.

My feelings got stirred up quite a bit by being on Gillmor Gang and hearing the other participants in the call saying they thought it affected their perception of Microsoft in a negative way, so I figured I’d make a point to get a discussion going. It did that, for sure, and for doing that I’ve done myself some harm. I’ll lick my wounds and come back at it tomorrow.

While blogging in crisis job #1 is listening

Every blogger can bloviate and tell you what he or she sees happening. But I’m noticing a trend among bloggers. Very few listen. I read hundreds of bloggers on a regular basis, along with many thousands who are brought into my view via TechMeme and my hundreds of Google Reader friends.

How many actually are actively seeking out the opinions of others and trying to bring those to their readers. I can tell you how many: almost none.

How many have a Google Reader Shared Items feed like the one I have done for years? A few. Louis Gray is amongst the ones I read often and regularly, but despite a few exceptions here and there very few of the “top bloggers” do that.

How many aggregate thousands of people’s tweets, blogs, photos, videos together and go through and tell you which ones are best like I’ve done every day on FriendFeed since I joined in February? A few do, hello Louis Gray again, but not enough of the top bloggers.

So, if we’re really in an economic crisis (we are, despite the stock market going up 600 points so far today) how can bloggers really be knowledgeable if they don’t read other people’s blogs and prove that over and over and over again by using these tools to demonstrate what they are reading?

Why do I think that’s so important? Well, for balance, for one thing. You saw some people thought I was too negative last week. But if you had looked at EVERYTHING I was putting into this system and reading and writing and doing videos on you would have seen a much more balanced and nuanced view of the world.

I assume my audience is smart and wants to see the world through many viewpoints. I hope you are reading these feeds because there are some damn cool things going through the system and these are my ways of highlighting them and making us all smarter in this time.

Also note that I overlink to people who disagree with me. Why do I do that? Because in these times it’s too easy to buy into your own press releases and start believing you have all the answers. In these times it’s even MORE important to consider the other side, whether we’re talking about the economy or politics.

But maybe I’m alone in that view, it sure seems not many bloggers are willing to show you what inputs they are reading and what’s informing their judgment.

Two-word blogging

Lately I’ve been experimenting with saying less and seeing where that takes us. Today’s two word blog? Depression and Fear.

In a world of information overload maybe two-word posts are going to be a trend. Who knew that two words could kick off so many more words? :-)

Chalk this up to my laziness. I could have woken up early and documented what Microsoft’s CTO said, like CNet’s Dan Farber did. But I didn’t.

Shoot me.