Posts Tagged ‘mailing lists’

Bonnaroo? Well, thanks for trying, anyway!

May 14th, 2009

It was a good try, and I thank everyone who helped out with my quest to get to Bonnaroo, but it looks like it wasn’t meant to be.

Radio 104.5‘s voting system was pathetically simple to take advantage of as “email verification” checks are just as easy to abuse as just about any other on-line voting method, and my main competition, “Megan L.”, did a damned intense job of abusing it at the end of the day on May 10.

My hat’s off to her, though if I may snark for a moment, I hope she puts that media pass to better use than might be expected given the photography “skills” evident in her submitted competition photo.

Maybe next time.


In unrelated news, next week there’s a very important anniversary coming up for me to celebrate and contemplate over, and that’s the 10-year anniversary of my launching the Master and Apprentice mailing list and archive for Obi-Wan/Qui-Gon slash. I plan to write up an entry over the weekend looking back on the origins of the archive, the fiction, the “drama”, and everything else as I saw it happen before I left the fandom.

I’m growing tired of Twitter

April 5th, 2009

It took me a while to get Twitter. And then I loved it. I really loved it. I followed so called power users. I watched other people’s Twitter grades and ranks with fascination. Then decided to experiment with Twitter. And through experimentation, I learned a lot about twitter.

I’ve also discovered that I’m tired of Twitter. I’m tired of people talking about the number of followers they have. I’m tired of services like Twitter Grader and Twitterholic. I’m tired of people talking up those numbers, and numbers like how many times you’ve been retweeted, and that your value on Twitter and the interest in following you is dependent upon that. None of this matters. Relationships matter. I’ve yet to see some one explain why having 3000 followers where you engage with 0.01% of your followers, post links and retweets gives value back. I’m tired of being what amounts to a recipient of tweet spam even as I engage in it myself because I want to appear in Twitter’s search engine, get more traffic and have a high rank on Twitter’s services because Social Media people think it gives value and I want to believe they know better than me.

I’m tired of always being on with Twitter. Social media is a performance art. You’re always out there, always selling yourself. If you forget that you don’t have personal relationships with the people that you’re interacting with, you might regret it. If you want to use Twitter to get traffic to your site, attract angel investors, catch the eyes of VC people, try to get a consulting gig, you can’t go off the reservation and babble about how you’re tired, cranky, depressed, broke, dealing with family issues. Your audience doesn’t have the relationship with you to stick with you for that and you look unprofessional. You get more leeway with a personal blog, a LiveJournal account, a FaceBook account. Twitter just is always on and if you’re an introvert, this can be hard to maintain. It is tiring. I’m tired of performing and worrying about my performance being off.

I’m tired of the idea that Twitter improves relationships and develops relationships. I’ve made a few good connections on Twitter. The ones I probably am most glad of are the ones with kaplak and wikihowl. They are ones I probably would not have made otherwise. But most people on Twitter are people I follow in other spaces like LiveJournal, LinkedIn, FaceBook, mailing lists, on their blogs and IRC, who I keep up with via phone calls, at BarCamps, via e-mail and IM services, through private messages on FaceBook. The relationships that I’ve developed on Twitter don’t always feel that deep and when my friends and acquaintances on other services use those services less and use Twitter more, my interest and ability to connect becomes harder because of space constraints and the noise level between their content. I really wish Twitter did what the implication was that it did. I really wish that I could go back to Twitter about 9 months ago. I really wish that as Twitter exists now, that I felt like I was getting more out of my relationships that use Twitter to facilitate them. They don’t. I’m tired of trying to make the effort while feeling like I should be getting something out of it. I’m tired of people following me for no apparent reason who never communicate with me. I’m tired of the idea that I should be getting more connected with people as I feel even less connected.

I’m tired of the hype. Biz Stone said on The Colbert Report that Twitter answered a need you didn’t know you had. That doesn’t necessarily say “Twitter is great and serves a useful need” so much as “Twitter was marketed brilliantly.” CNN talks about Twitter. FaceBook changed to look more like Twitter. News people talk about how Twitter will change how news is reported. Newspapers print Tweets. Twitter will change the world! Celebrities tweet from everywhere. Entertainment Tonight covers people who are tweeting while they are being interviewed. I get it. This is like MySpace about 2 years ago. (And we know where MySpace is going.) I kind of just want to be left alone in a world where I can use it with out everyone and their neighbor going on about how great it is. If we could get back to reporting the news instead of reporting on how people are sharing their news, I might be less tired.

I’m kind of hoping this is a phase and that I will feel better about it later. I really do like Twitter but certain parts of it are just tiring.

#rcc09 RecentChangesCamp patterns

February 22nd, 2009

Session notes:

This presentation is not about grudging about this time. It is about discussing patterns in a non-personal.

Patterns:

  • Absent organizers

Past organizers who didn’t help this year. New organizers who fell off. Things happen in their lives so that they can’t happen.

  • Chaos happening.
  • Challenge of volunteer management
  • Mutual accountability

Wiki people don’t necessarily want to have a person with whom the buck stops because we are wiki people. The flat mush is also an issue because there is no one person who can drive tings necessarily.

  • Venue finding

How hard it is to find a venue? This is a date finding issue. It needs to be done far in advanced.

Issues with who is planning the date. Need more lead time to get sponsorship. We need dates declared.

This year the mailing list had the venue found earlier. It was better than previous years.

  • Mailing list vs. wiki

Some information found on the mailing list should have been put on the wiki that was not on the mailing list. The wiki is a way that some people prefer to communicate only.

Users should be allowed to chose their way to get notifications. Don’t try to force people to get e-mail notifications of changes to the wiki.

  • Stagnant community

There is a feeling with some people that we haven’t grown in terms of how many people attend that some of the early organizers would have wanted to attend. We didn’t do enough out reach to some of the related communities. This could be a big part of a marketing. We didn’t do that in ways that we could have. Outreach needs to improve.

  • West coast attendance

Some people are not going to attend unless wiki events are held in California. If it moved off the west coast, would people attend? Could we do it successfully? How do you tap into local communities tech wise to promote events?

  • Open Space model

This is a good space. Some people are scared to use Open Space. They see it as hippy dippy. There are some cultures aren’t used to it. They are scared of trying to use the space.

  • Persistence of community

What do you do to invite the gifts of people in the community to look into the future? Ask people to help with the future based on how they self identified how to give. Volunteers need to be plugged into a system where they an be most effective. Project management tool might be needed as a way of trying to help organize the event. This could also help create mutual accountability. It helps create a safe space where people can create a safe space where they need to step out.

  • Reinventing the wheel

We know things people need for conference. Every time, identifying those things again takes time. Things include t-shirts, conference space, invitations, facilitator, food, sponsorship.

You could create a date independent invitation where you ask people to help get the space as part of the invitation.

People worked for a month to rewrite the previous invitation. Do we need to do that again? Invitation might need to be customized for different communities. People who aren’t techy. People in neighboring tech communities. People who use them as part of their job (university, government, business professionals). Passionate people who use wikis but don’t see them as part of their use as part of their identity.

  • Sponsorship

We don’t treat sponsors right at RCC. We need to print banners about them. The sponsors aren’t on the wiki as well as they could be. Some sponsors are reliable but a lot aren’t. We need a committee for sponsorship so that there isn’t any duplicating of sponsorship.

  • Conference call

Is conference call a good thing? Is it a walled garden? If we do it, we need an agenda before the conference call to encourage people to attend.

  • Future wiki events

Wikimania is in late August 2009 in Brazil.

WikiSym is in the fall in October in October in Orlando.

Wikimania 2010 will be in western Europe.

WikiWednesdays are local and scattered. There isn’t really formal organization.

We need a RCC in the late winter, early spring for the next one.

People have been tossing up an idea of a west coat wikimedia meet up. It doesn’t necessarily effect our community.

Is there a value opportunity for moving the event? Do we lose momentum by moving the event around? Do we lose the leadership? If it isn’t kept in Portland, there isn’t a great way to do that.

Twitter, fandom and me

November 25th, 2008

Before I begin this, I need to define what I mean by fandom because fandom and entertainment fans (consumers of popular culture) can often look alike but they frequently don’t act the same.

Fandom, Members of fandom:

  • Group that shares a common interest in a media product such as Harry Potter, Twilight, Star Wars, Pokemon, Starcraft, etc.
  • Are actively engaged with the product and other fans by having discussions, creating and commenting on other people’s fan fiction (art, vids, icons, costumes, etc.), attending/organizing conventions, organizing campaigns to save/improve the media product, etc.
  • Form relationships based on shared interest where the relationships with other fans are central to their activities.

Entertainment fans, consumers of popular culture:

  • Do not have a group identity as fans of a show.
  • Are passively engaged with the product by having conversations, commenting on blogs, blogging about the show, consuming the product.
  • Relationships are not at the heart of and purpose of their interactions with others who share their enjoyment of a media product.

Put simpler: Fandom is about relationships.  Entertainment fans, not so much.

Which brings me to Twitter and my sometimes confusing relationship with it as a fan.  And after a number of conversations with other fans, this is a problem that a number of other fandom people on the outside looking in suffer with.  What use is twitter for fans?  What use is Twitter for me as a fan?

I come from fandom out of mailing lists and LiveJournal where relationships are key.  If there is an author I love, I would try to form a relationship of sorts with them.  I might ask to be there beta reader.  I might e-mail or IM them with questions about their stories or what else they are working on.  If they were writing to slowly, I might leave lots and lots of feedback or beg them to WR1T3 M0R3!  I might friend them on LiveJournal to keep up with what is going on with them.  If I get to have a relationship with them, then my enjoyment of the thing for which we share an interest is enhanced.  I have another person to squee with over new episodes, and insure that stories I love will be continued, have some one to unite with against other people in the community I don’t like.  I might also have some one who could attend a convention with me or share a hotel at a convention with me which could make attending that convention cheaper.  I’ve got a friend.  Well.  Sort of.  Once our interests change or if I do something which upsets the person’s ability to enjoy the community or the material, I don’t have a friend any more.  But while we’re both in that relationship, we’re great and we communicate a lot.

If I want to get “ahead” in fandom, if I want to have greater influence, I form relationships with people who are in the position to help me.  I can make friends with fan fiction archivists, with authors who have huge amounts of readers, with content producers, etc.  And if I want to be able to leverage these relationships for my own benefit, I’ve got to actively work on maintain those relationships in order to maintain my status because they key to staying on top, well, the phrase is “What have you done for me lately?”

So along comes Twitter.   Twitter is great.  Twitter is love.  For the social media lover in me, I can’t get enough of Twitter.  It means I can follow people I met at BarCamps, keep up with what is going on in the wiki community, possibly get some traffic for the site I run, can network with people who might have leads for work for me, can interact with news organizations in a way that I haven’t before.

Except, well, for all the great things Twitter does for that, it doesn’t do much for me as a member of fandom.  Fandom is all about relationships remember.  It is one thing to follow a person and comment, but that’s not enough in fandom.  You need to have more focus and extended conversations.  The Twitter format just doesn’t allow for that.  It is too short to adequately share love of the source with or to hold conversations with others.  If you do try to have extended conversations on Twitter, if you’re not providing value to others who follow you, you could lose followers.  Ick.

One of my friends has other issues which put her off Twitter as a member of fandom. Twitter is very immediate.  You can’t hold conversations over an extended period of time because the format doesn’t lend itself to that.  If I am out on Thursday and miss the new episode of CSI and my friend watched it, we can catch up on AIM or blog about it a couple of days later, when we have the time.  Twitter doesn’t allow that.  And when your relationship is dependent on that shared material, the inability to slow the flow of conversation on your own terms?  It can be bad news.

Another friend has issues with some of the comments on Twitter being so banal and unrelated to why they care about the person.  They don’t care that you just woke up, that you’re eating breakfast, that you landed at Heathrow, etc.  They don’t care that you are having a conversation with SEO with some one on Twitter that teaches you a lot. (I get this a lot from my fandom friends on Twitter.  Especially when I start having conversations with people they don’t follow.  They’ve considered unfollowing me because I do that so often.)  What are they getting out of their relationship with me when I do that?

Another issue that comes up is content.  Why follow me on Twitter for news about what I am doing fannishly when you can keep up with that on Fan History’s blog, my LiveJournal or on Fan History’s InsaneJournal asylum?  The information is better, more detailed and easier to follow.  It is easier to keep up to date because the content is much more focused.  The blog is going to be about fandom.  The posts will be once a day.  You’re not going to have to filter around my other random content.  If content is king, then Twitter, unless carefully focused, mostly includes links and doesn’t involve loads of engagement that is off putting, then well, Twitter fails.  Content on Twitter isn’t king when it comes to relationship maintenance.

So relationships that are dependent on Twitter end up feeling shallow, where they feel hard to leverage for your relationships to faciliate your enjoyment of canon and accomplish your goals in fandom.  Things feel even more confusing when Twitter appears to require a large follow list to be viewed as important on or influential on Twitter (and in fandom).  How can you have relationships with people that are meaningful, that give you something back, when you can’t actively engage people because the “content” disappears so quickly and could easily be missed?  In terms of my fandom relationships, I find I can’t maintain them like I can in other places.  I end up having to play catch up with Twitter by reading their Tweets when daily summaries are posted to their LiveJournals.

In the end, what this means for me is I, and a number of my fannish acquaintances, haven’t figured out how to use Twitter for our fannish enjoyment. Yes, I know how to use it to promote my projects. Yes, I love it for networking professionally. I understand how to use it to monitor reputations and get celebrity and entertainment news. I’ve found some great Chicago related social media events. Fandom though… still a problem and I can’t see it changing.

Fandom and traffic

April 20th, 2008

I love looking at Fan History’s traffic information.  Where is the traffic coming from?  Which plugs are effective?  Which are less effective?  This, for me, is really important information as the decision was made, mostly for financial reasons, to not advertise.  With Fan History catering to an obscure niche interest, it means getting and sustaining a large sustainable can be difficult.  In two years, some traffic patterns have become rather obvious that those trying to market to fandom or those who seek to create in fandom projects can learn from.

  • Wikipedia: Wikipedia is your friend.  If your site, blog entry, mailing list is on the right Wikipedia page, you can generate a fair number of visits.  It increases your visibility in fandom and to people officially connected to your fandom.
  • LiveJournal: LiveJournal (and to a degree JournalFen’s more popular communities) is your friend.  A good plug on an active community can net you 50 to 500 unique visits.  If the community allows itself to be spidered, if the community has tags, those plugs can keep on giving.  They help with your search engine  visibility.  For professionals in fandom seeking to promote their project, these plugs also demonstrate an awareness of the fandom community which helps establish those projects as legitimate in the eyes of that community.
  • Fansites: Fansites are a great way to get visibility.  Make fansite webmasters your friends.   Ask them to plug your project.  Explain why it would be good for their audience.  Ask them to get involved with your site.  If a popular fansite plugs you on your main page, they can provide a good 50 to 10,000 unique visitors.    If you’ve got a unique product targeted at that community, that much traffic can be fantastic.  (And maintain relationships with those fansite maintainers. The maintainers are power brokers in their corner and can help you figure out where to target the fandom community to help you grow your audience.)  Many fansites also have ways to add your own links.  AnimeNewsNetwork and Anipike are two good anime examples where you can add your own links.  If you can’t get the maintainers to plug on your main page, do it there.
  • Mailing lists: Mailing lists are not dead in fandom.  A frequent characterization of mailing list folks is that they are opposed to web 2.0 and the whole blogging culture.  Not true.  Many of the folks I know on mailing lists just like that culture.  They do use other social networking tools but mailing lists are a communal way of sharing news with out having to know how to operate in fandom cultures they may not be familiar with. It means that mailing lists can be a great source of traffic as you’ve got a community of people who share.  Even better, people will take things that they see on mailing lists and mention them elsewhere as they share what they like elsewhere.  An active fandom mailing list with 250 to 10,000 members might result in 10 to 50 visits but there is chance of a mention elsewhere that can result in more traffic.
  • Digg: Digg is not always a huge traffic generator and isn’t a traditional fandom tool.  (delicious seems to be the social bookmarking tool of choice.)  Unless you’ve already got a huge website going, you’re not likely to end up on the front page with out something happening.  Digg does help with search engine visibility.   If your Digg link submission involves an article on an obscure topic, it can help to really channel people interested in that topic to your site.
  • Social networking sites: Quizilla, MySpace, FaceBook, bebo, orkut are great social networking sites but they don’t generate much traffic, nor do they create much increased visibility.  The fandom community on those networks isn’t really oriented towards fandom.  You can tell you’ve made it though when you start getting mentions on them.  Fan History does a plug on one of those sites, or gets a mention, it will net maybe 5 to 10 unique visitors in the course of a six month period.   These mentions won’t necessarily help with your search engine visibility, nor help your networking opportunities.  Your time is best spent plugging your project elsewhere.
  • Blogs: Bloggers can be your friend and key traffic drivers.  A big, influential blog that mentions you can get you a lot of traffic.  A smaller blog might add to your search engine visibility.  A small, influential blog might help you get the attention of people who can help your project succeed.
  • Controversy: Controversy can sell and help add legitimacy to your project.  Fan History gets fairly decent sized traffic bumps when people have issues with articles, with privacy issues in fandom or with people who help maintain the wiki.  Fandom Wank can be your traffic driving, search engine visibility, viral link creating friend.  Lee Goldberg slamming on you can give you sympathy and legitimacy.   Having slashers and het shippers duke it out on your site insures they stay and means they’ll probably link to their arguments elsewhere to complain about the behavior of those they don’t like. Controversy may also bring media attention and attention from the people affiliated with your fandom.
  • Specialized content: Specialized content generates traffic.  Fan History gets a fair amount of traffic because we cover topics that are not covered as thoroughly elsewhere.  Cassandra Claire is the best example of this on Fan History.  The Draco/Hermione is another good example.  Alias Smith and Jones is a third.  Thoroughly link and promote this specialized content to make it easier to find. Doing that will help generate viral links with out your having to do the work.

Is marketing a fandom project different than marketing a project that is not fandom related?  Probably not.  A lot of this advice would probably work for a site promoting soap or a non-fandom specific web service.  The difference is that fansites don’t necessarily see good marketing advice as applicable to them because fandom is a hobby or an academic exercise; for them, fandom is not a business and should not operate like one.   They should because nothing is sadder than seeing a good project die through lack of interest.

Canonical URL by SEO No Duplicate WordPress Plugin