Not all friends are equal

Given the diversity and sheer size of the Internet this blog is one of millions, like a pebble on the beach, buried among the numbers lucky to be seen at all, a battle every blogger has to deal with over time and knowing what work goes into getting readers we appreciate every reader we have. Yeah, I appreciate you being here, all everyone of you.

My 5 years blogging!

In the 5 years I have been blogging things have changed alot, for the better and worse in some cases, at the start it was a different ball game marketing your blog and getting readers was never a sure thing, the build it and they will come myth* is just that, a myth!

*That was the downfall of the first “dot com bubble burst” with big companies paying stupid amounts for a flashy website that got NO visits!

Everything has moved on so much, grown up if you like and it was in a way what I was waiting for, see when I started blogging hardly anyone locally was online or if they were I had no idea how to reach them, so most of my readers were from places where I did market my blog which at the time were forums and reading and commenting on other similar blogs of friends who are now all doing well too.

While I was getting traffic, readers from them they weren’t who I wanted to connect with in reality. Don’t get me wrong, I liked being connected to them and have made some great friends from these forums, friends I value and respect and listen to. They were in the same boat as me, like minded people trying to navigate the same path, learning from each other.

I wanted to also be connected to people I really knew. They never hung out in these forums for sure.

Forums were like the first wave of social media, very web 1.0 as were blogs when they started, being in their purest form, clean uncluttered and all about the content. Forums were limited in a way that modern social sites aren’t, very linear too. They weren’t used like an “outpost” in the way the modern social ones are, by this I mean social sites like twitter, friendfeed, blogcatalog, etc.

By outpost what is meant, for an example, I write this post, publish it, then the RSS feed from this blog updates this post to the social sites automatically, I don’t have to go to them and share.

(Hope that makes sense) :o/  

Glazed eyes as usual.

An important thing to consider no matter whatever anyone says every forum has an “old boys club mentality” thriving in the backround, IM forums are the worse for it and I am glad to have stopped going to some of them. The one thing I can say is if you stop going to the forums you will lose traffic to your blog, but some who are genuine will come back and do.

Incestuous places!

Which is why you lose traffic, you ended up relying on it and that’s a bad thing.

For those who still use them forums, learn what you need from them and implement it elsewhere, where it matters, where it gets you results.

Ask any blogger what it was like to talk offline to people about it back then and they will all tell you their friends eyes glazed over, it still happens at times but less often now. That is down to more people being online and becoming familiar with terms like blogging via web 2.0 social media, like facebook etc. 

Then the ball game changed and the goalpost moved into view for me in a bigger better way, what I had waited for had happened. Locals got online and in a centralised way on facebook where it became easy to connect with them. I have previously said the reason facebook is a real success is due to everyone having to use real names. (Try finding an old friend on myspace!)

I found my voice.

The last 5 years have now lead to this point in time where I can see the reality of what I wanted back then but couldn’t get, local conections online and locals reading this blog. Part of what I love about the Internet is I am not deaf on here, per se, so way back then in the forums people understood why I liked being online and having a “voice” aka as a blog and what I write elsewhere.

Now the locals can hear me and I them, online better than offline! :o)

I knew I would lose traffic ages ago after the forums and welcomed the change as it was needed in order for me to go in the right direction for me and my plans. The truth is I haven’t changed what I do that much, just improved it over time and learnt things from my own experience as well as what I can learn from others, I now just do all that with a better audience. ;o) 

The connections going on in the backround via facebook inbox, email etc, are interesting mainly due to people wanting to learn more about the very things I already know of and have learnt over the years.

Now together we act on what the core of social media is all about and based on, meaningful relationships, being connected to people you really know, not strangers who just “added” you as a friend in order to build up some following, via fake friends.

That is why I won’t add just anyone as a friend on facebook, I have twitter and other social sites for that, used as an outpost and to connect with like minded people rather than “real friends.”

Facebook for me, is for the real friends I know and it is there you can’t fake crap because they know you all too well. Not that I fake anything anywhere, nothing to hide here. :o)

It’s not a popularity contest.

Being a blogger it would be daft to not have a presence on the social sites, some more so than others, with the publicity twitter is getting everyone and their dog will be using it before long, just use it a way that works for you rather than how others tell you how to use it, don’t be a twit.

I use twitter, but more of an outpost now than before, although you will see me on there being interactive as without being there how can you have meaningful connections? And I get a fair amount of readers from twitter so it does pay to be using it for me and there are some great users on twitter, funny, educational, interesting and more. 

It’s sadly losing some appeal overall for me as the more it goes mainstream the less social it seems to become, it’s turned into some “followfest” sadly, also another thing to be aware of on twitter is the amount of crap links that get shared at times, spammers and general idiots posting things willy nilly on there, be careful what you click at all times.

I will follow you on twitter if you are worth following, or follow me and don’t take the piss.

I won’t click everything you share or reply to every single tweet although I do try and reply to every person who connects with me. There are some ignorant people on there, there are others who just follow way too many people and could never answer everything.

There is a reason facebook limits your friends list to 5000, be serious, can you really have that many “friends?”

How are you using social media sites? 

What do you see as a “friend” online?

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