The Idea Dude


Monday, January 15, 2007

Kid in a candy store

Sometimes, we're overwhelmed by our own agility. Unlike bigger companies who have set agendas for at least 1-2 quarters, ours is a daily regime. I wouldn't want it any other way. The downside is I feel like a kid in a candy store, every feature out there looks cool. So we put out a request on our official blog reaching out to bloggers asking what makes them tick. In the end, as a small team, we have to have the discipline of doing what supports our vision which is to build a business that promotes bloggers. We'd love to hear from them, I eagerly await their responses.

For this quarter, our focus is on the brand of the blogger. I think we've done a great job at promoting content through our TGB network but after 6 months of complete immersion in the blogosphere, I believe the issue is not about traffic. Many will attest to the bump that a Digg event can do to their statistics, but pretty soon, they do subside to original totals which says to me, it's like passing out fliers at Vegas. It's not clear how many readers are 'return customers'. Bloggers too often believe that their content is their brand, but content is a commodity. While many will subscribe to your feed because they think you have something great to say, the ones that really comment and promote you to others do it because they feel some kind of connection or online relationship. The Mom blogs taught me that. Anecdotally, on average, I've seen more comments per Mom blogs entry than any other category. The marketing blogs taught me that if you want to have a brand, you have to create one, it doesn't magically appear.

We need to give bloggers a medium and a reason to collaborate, i.e. we need to jumpstart conversations rather than let it happen organically and when it does, help stitch together the conversation across blogs. Every party has a conversation catalyst, the guy who starts off a topic that everyone proceeds to extend and embellish. Too many conversations are like hubs, started by an A-lister or B-lister and everyone refers to it. Yet conversations should be networks, not hubs, not trees. Our tagcloud should us these conversations do exist but they are like tiny flames that are need to fanned into raging dialogue.

We also need to give bloggers a way to add commentary in a very simple and informal way. Too often bloggers feel like that they have to have something worthwhile to say and spend too long between posts. They need to feel it's ok to say, "I'm having a great day!" or "I just saw the most amazing play". Sometimes the concept of the blog, it's power and reach stops us from expressing these real-world moments because we feel they are too short and have no literary value to our readers. But in fact, it is these thoughts that make us human, make us laugh and cry because it is real. Exploring MySpace makes you realize that conversation comes first and blogging second.

So was it the chocolate truffle or or the hazelnut praline? I can't decide...


Blogger Annoyed said...

Oh how I can relate to everything you said!

I am really fighting the temptation to add in all of the cool (so I think) features for my project and just get the thing out there.

As for blogging, I also agree here. I have thought about many blog entries but didn't write them because they didn't seem worthwhile.

One of my goals is to turn around both of these mindsets.

4:23 PM  

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