From the Instigator-in-Chief: I am not Myself These Days

I’m shaking things up a bit. For the next little while, I’ll be posting some personal-ish stuff when we don’t have anything else going. I figure doing that gets us more than we get from me posting a status update on Facebook, and we’ve got the space. I haven’t known whether I’ve been coming or going for the last ten or so days.

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I won’t run down the laundry list of problems I’ve dealt with in the last little while. I’m not convinced anyone wants to read that stuff on a blog — that seems to be what Facebook is for — and everybody’s got problems. Tl;dr version: the activity level here has suffered from my lack of attention, and I’m doing my best to ramp it back up, starting today.

What that means is I’m redirecting most of my Facebook time to the blog. My jaunt into Facebook over the last 10 months was about giving that network an honest chance and exploring its potential for growth. I won’t say it has NO potential, but I will say that I’ve failed to make it work, and failed at the expense of the blogging. So done with it for now.

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I’ll still check in on FB and keep up with my Facebook friends. Post a few status updates a week and share a link or three now and then. But as far as blogging on Facebook goes, I’m done. If you want to keep up with Gene’O though this last quarter of the year, best be reading this blog.

And it’s almost planning time. World Domination season is upon us once more. Time to start talking about what we’re doing in 2016 on the blog, and about how to make more lovely friends 🙂

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We’ll see how it goes. Might not work at all. But since the Facebook thing is no longer working, and this blog needs WAY more content than I’m able to wrangle out of other people just now, well. I’ll just have to produce it myself.

This is a really great thing about Facebook and Twitter: If I spend the next twelve months doing nothing but pay attention to blogs, FB and Twitter will be right where I left them when I decide to go back. The blog works differently. It will run down if I don’t keep it up.

I’m not letting this blog run down. I’ve invested too much into it, and really. Without the blog, there’s no point to the rest.

Brace yourself! Gene’O is coming.

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Social Media Sunday: Facebook v. Twitter

It’s no secret around this place that we spent the winter and spring invading Facebook with our WordPress army. That’s been a success, but a somewhat costly one. I’ve spent the last ten days or so taking stock, figuring out what we’ve accomplished, and deciding where to go from here.social media

From July through November of last year, Sourcerer averaged 11.6 Facebook referrals per month and Part Time Monster averaged 20.2. During that time, I was barely using Facebook at all — just publicizing to some pages and using PMs and groups to chat with a dozen or so bloggers — and Diana was mostly using it the way non-bloggy folks use it. From December through May 12, Sourcerer averaged 71.2 Facebook referrals per month and Part Time Monster averaged 88.2.

Now, those are huge increases but they are tiny numbers. Since our pages have been doing exactly what they’ve always done this whole time, I am assuming the increase is coming from our personal timelines and shares in blogging groups.

If I’d gone big on Facebook for nearly six months hoping for a huge traffic increase, I’d be disappointed. But that’s not what it was about. It was about two things.

  1. Making friends with enough bloggers to make posting a status update on my personal timeline worth the time it takes to compose one, and
  2. getting connected with contributors and collaborators so I didn’t have to do planning stuff on the front pages of the blogs and ask people to visit and read.

That’s been a success, and has made the whole thing worthwhile to me.

Now here’s the rub. I’ve neglected Twitter this whole time. I’ve publicized links and shared and retweeted things from @Sourcererblog as I could. But I’ve barely looked at my personal account and have been lousy about answering notifications for the last few months. And Twitter is STILL outperforming Facebook in the referral department.Twitter-icon-the-bird

I’m adjusting my priorities. I’m friends with plenty of bloggers on Facebook now and happy to be friends with more, but I’m not actively looking at this point and not joining more groups. I’m using Facebook to keep up with the bloggers and groups I already know and getting back to the business of blogging.

I just figure, for the amount of time I’ve sunk specifically into various link-sharing activities over the last five months, the return isn’t that great. Not when a fairly modest Twitter following that I have given almost no engagement to over that period of time is just as happy to click my links as they’ve always been. The conversations are great on Facebook, my friends over there are awesome, and a lot of coordination is going on in Facebook groups, but the sharing of the links, in particular, seems like an inefficient use of time.

So, a goodly portion of my Facebook time is reallocated to Twitter and to the blogosphere. I addition to not doing a good job with my Twitter notifications, I’ve also not been great about hitting my WordPress reader nor about visiting commenters lately. That has to change.

Here’s my plan through October.

  • Keep delivering the content.
  • Grow on Twitter, get more engaged, and do a better job encouraging my followers over there to get to know one another.
  • Remain active in the Facebook groups, share things on my timeline, answer my threads, and do just enough keep up over there until I get the Twitter sorted.
  • Once the Twitter is straightened out, go back to Facebook and form a group. The invitations to that group will originate on my timeline. I’d hoped to be setting up a group next month, but I’m not experienced enough with administering groups, nor do I have a clear enough idea of what my friends would want to feel like that’s a smart use of my time and energy just now.
  • Once the Facebook group is up and stable with 40+ members, have a serious conversation about StumbleUpon. I’m already Stumbling a few things now then and to build up a history.

In the meantime, I’m setting up my Twitter accounts to tweet around the clock at two hour intervals and I’m checking my notifications over there at least every other day. Here’s where I am with @Sourcererblog on Twitter right this minute.

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That spike in the middle is the increase from my last big push in the fall. It’s an increase of 2,000 followers over a two-month period, and I know exactly how that is done. Note that even though I’ve not been actively growing this account since November, nor paying much attention to it, it’s still trending up. Since I shifted to Facebook at the beginning of December, I’ve seen a net increase of 800 followers without even trying.

Now I know what publicizing my links, sharing to hashtags for others on the weekends with a following of 5K, and doing minimal engagement are worth. I want to see what ramping up the engagement and getting smart about sharing our own links will do for the blog. And I want to know what it’s like to manage a Twitter following of 15K. I’m curious.

2014 Annual Report

The WordPress.com stats helper monkeys prepared a 2014 annual report for this blog. (The highlight that tickles me the most is the 144-day streak from April to August.)

Here’s an excerpt:

The concert hall at the Sydney Opera House holds 2,700 people. This blog was viewed about 30,000 times in 2014. If it were a concert at Sydney Opera House, it would take about 11 sold-out performances for that many people to see it.

Click here to see the complete report.

In which I give #WordPress advice

Since Sunday is my preferred day for blogwanking, I’ll just share this today. Let me add. We publish stuff here and use the stats to measure the effect. Then we figure out ways to give our readers more of what they like. Reducing my ability to measure the effect makes WordPress less valuable. I agree with Luther here.

Welcome to infinitefreetime dot com

(Note: I typed this in the old editor, too.)

Dear WordPress:

Let’s talk about your new stats screen for a bit.  I put up a one-sentence post a few hours ago to confirm that other people feel the same way I do, and it’s amassed eighteen comments and twenty likes in that time, so I’m pretty sure I’m not on my own here.  I’ve been actively blogging on your site for about a year and a half, although I’ve had the account for several years longer than that, and I spend a lot of time obsessing about my stats.  An unhealthy amount of time, in fact.

You recently changed your stats page, and by a number of indications you seem to be interested in user feedback on it.  However, using your feedback form really didn’t give me a chance to explain what I actually dislike about it.  It could be…

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