BitDepth 764 - January 04

Stuff I learned about technology and social media in 2010
Things I learned in 2010
My presentations and media are archived for streaming online with Vimeo.

I’ve been on the web for a long time now, but this was the first year that it matured, for me at least, into a medium that marries the meat world with the virtual world into a more seamless experience.
We are less avatars on the Internet now than we are extensions of ourselves there, our conversations, photographs and personal choices in music and video creating rich impressions of our lives that reach far beyond our neighbourhoods and immediate circle of friends.

It’s called social media for a reason. 
I’m as guilty as anyone of having an agenda in mind when I’m on Facebook, Twitter, Linked In and all the other outlets of social engagement. For some, it’s promotion, for others, it’s developing a reputation, for many, it’s virtual skylarking, but the most successful participants in social media do all three and more.

Anyone who follows or friends me in social media knows that I tend to talk shop a lot, but that’s largely because in life, I happen to talk shop a lot. It’s because I have a lot of fun with my work, and I don’t mind sharing that.
Still, last Tuesday evening, I had a remarkable experience at Fiesta Plaza at a tweetup that brought together an eclectic and lively crowd of people who had only their conversations on Twitter in common.

It was a remarkable example of how short the bridges between very different people become when they engage in open, honest engagement using the tools that social media make available to anyone with a computer.

Sharing is currency.
Actually, this is a principle that goes back to before the days of silicon. Back then it was called being willing to “sow your seed upon the stony ground,” and the principle, if not the execution, is the same.
The interconnected web makes it possible for anyone to share their thoughts online, but that has traditionally meant that free stuff is poor quality and the good stuff is either for pay or drenched in advertising.

The exceptions that made that rule are now becoming more commonplace and are trending toward becoming a new status quo. Some of the best stuff on the web is not only free; it is adamantly gratis. There are no strings, no “squeeze pages,” nothing beyond offerings of quality content in return for your attention.

I’ve written in this space before about attention as a currency, but the competition to have people pay to you, personally, it is accelerating. Honest, authentic engagement is the only technique that sustainably and consistently draws an audience.

The most popular content on my website was predictable. Penny and the Jacksons, the Local Lives story on Tribe, but the next tier down from that content remains a consistent surprise to me. I never know what people will find interesting, but I offer it all.

Static websites are doomed.
There was once a time when you could build an attractive website with bright Flashy things, slot some information about yourself into it, post it and forget about it.

You can still do that, but if you do, you might as well take the money you’ve budgeted for that exercise, put it in a pretty box, douse it with kerosene and set fire to it.
As recently as two years ago I’d schedule big changes to the site on an annual basis and make a big hoohah about it all. Now I listen to what people are telling me about their interactions with the site and make changes continuously.
If you have no strategy to build a conversation with your audience and respect the way they interact with you online, it’s best not to bother at all. Better to get a Blogger site and write about your pets and garden. You’ll probably get a better response to your effort and a lot more respect
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