Saturday, February 12, 2011

Communicate, Don't Preach, Films


During a recent recording of a podcast with the Mad Hatter (more on that later) we got onto the topic of Twitter and Social Media networking with blogs. It as an incredibly brief exchange, but I found myself reflecting on his basic reasoning for not taking part in twitter: To much talking, not enough listening, and even less honest reading. It's an interesting component of twitter that so many of us use them as mediums through which we extend our blog, and yet so few of us (and even less of the general reader) ever bother to click on the links of others.

For example, I have roughly 360 (on any given day) twitter followers (crap word, but for consistency's sake we'll go with it). You can go ahead and assume right off the bat 35 - 70 of those are bots, 25 to 50 are likely dead accounts, which leaves you with, lets say, 250ish actually followers. So, when I do a blog post, the twitter link goes up, and the links come.... how many do I get? On a good day, four of five clicks and maybe a @ reply mentioning they read it. Now, if I get that link retweeted by a couple other people, or maybe an actual proper website, that number can skyrocket up to 10 or 14. Yeah... that's right ladies and gents, I rock a good, solid, 2 to 7 % reader trackbacking.

Now I wouldn't dare try and expand this to being an exemplification of all members of twitter, but I will say there seems to be a disconnect. I've noticed that celebrities and writers for major online film and news networks seem to do rather well, if not overtly boisterously so, when it comes to having their links clicked on.  A while back I remember Stephen Fry talking about crashing the network of a website he had linked too on twitter for an interview.

Though I would say this is a byproduct of an ever increasing flaw in the way we view ourselves on the internet. There is far too much "READ ME! LISTEN TO ME! WHAT ABOUT ME!?" in our blogging world. I know I can be that way at times, obsessing over whether or not I get comments. But I don't just want people to listen to me, I do enjoy reading others. I try my best to comment, but as of late that's been a bit of a tough one.

But I regress. The point is, if we want people to listen, we should be inclined to do so ourselves. And I don't mean the occasional @ reply, or responding to someone's two sentence Facebook wall post. That's the kind of listening you do at 10:00 at a bar on Friday night with a someone whose attractiveness is relative to your alcohol intake. "Oh yeah, I totally agree with all those words you just said, now will you come back to my place for a quickie?" Just replace 'place' with the online method of your choosing  and you've got yourself the reign of social networking.

Now, I recognize the counter-productivity in ranting about lack of readership when exceeding two sentences not on a social networking site, by doing the very antithesis of all those. Yet, I can't help but feel that a bit of venting is always useful in these circumstances. Besides, you've probably checked your twitter, facebook, and email five times before reaching this sentence.

7 better thoughts:

Alex said...

Very good points! I try not to be too self-promotey (except about art stuff, since there's always the scant possibility I'll make money off something I post!), and it can be frustrating when everyone is all "me me me" on Twitter. I actually read a lot of the links posted on twitter/facebook (if it sounds interesting), and I only retweet articles that I read; I've had some good experiences connecting with others over films in conversations there. But I'm not always good at commenting or expanding the conversation in blog posts I'm clicking on.

I can't wait until we're all celebrities, then twitter will be so much easier!

Yojimbo_5 said...

Yeah, I'm not a Twitterer (140 characters? That's my first introductory clause!), but I do try to read and comment (and listen). More importantly, I try to comment when I just admire thr writing, as opposed to when I agree or disagree with the content. Good writing should be acknowledged.

Good writing, btw...

Castor said...

Ahah indeed, the number of incoming visits from Twitter is truly quite pathetic. And the clicks usually come from the same usual suspect who regulars on the site.

Univarn said...

@Alex I haven't been as good lately about commenting, but I do notice a large discrepancy between those who say they're reading and those who actually do. There's a handful I know honestly do their best to read, and those I know read when they feel like it. It's the ones who say they are but never do that I find irritating.

@Yojimbo Thanks. As to 140 characters, you'd be surprised how far that can you take you. One of the best things it has given me is the opportunity to fine tune my writing. Seek out better ways of saying things in the most concise way without dragging out a conversation. As I just failed to do in this reply :P

@Castor Yep. On the plus side, those same suspects tend to be absolute mint.

edgarchaput said...

I think you are on to something regarding Twitter. I've been using is for a little over a year now, and I really don't have the impression that people use it effectively to discover websites. It certainly doesn't create more traffic at my blog and you know what?... I honestly don't click very often on other links either, so I'm guilty of the whole damn thing as well. I guess I simply use it out of habit.

Regarding the reading of other reviews and blogs, I take that very seriously. It isn't easy gaining respect and popularity in the blogosphere. Work and social life mean I can't be in front of my computer every day, but i try to comment when an article strikes me for the right or wrong reasons. If there is something I learned quickly when I started writing, it's that blogging is most definitely a 'give and take' work in progress.

Fletch said...

Any marketer will tell you that 7% from an online ad is an awesome return. And really, isn't that all that Twitter is (or at least can be, and is in this context). I don't expect a big return on links given there.

For example, you follow 298 people on Twitter. Let's say that just half have blogs (when it's really probably more like 75% or more). Let's say just half of those post a link with any regularity. You telling me that you click 75 times every day or two?

The real issue at hand (though it's not really an issue) is that we follow so many people out of a mutual politeness when really, how many would you say that you REALLY follow?

Take it all with a grain of salt, don't overpromote, and hope that someone retweets your links, cause that's where the big bucks really start flying in.

Univarn said...

@edgar I agree we can't comment all the time, but I think it's important that people do their best.

@Fletch I would buy that, but even if I don't click on someone's everyday I make an honest effort to read their material in groups and comment when I have the chance. In many of the cases above there are people I know flat out don't even bother reading other people's blogs. That being said there are of course websites I visit every day regardless of whether or not they post something, and I would say they account for roughly 30% of the blogs I follow.

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