Since I’ve been blogging eight years this month I’ve been doing a lot of thinking about my blog and how I want to do things differently in 2009.
I told Mike Arrington, founder of TechCrunch, that I wonder if I’ve made smart time investments in 2008 by spending so much time on Twitter and friendfeed. Yeah, I knew about the Chinese earthquake before pretty much anyone, and 45 minutes before CNN reported it, but doing that required being online with Twitter open late at night after most of you had gone to sleep or were watching some TV.
He just posted that I need a friendfeed intervention, which is why I’m writing this post.
About a month ago I asked people over on FriendFeed and the comments came in hot and heavy. Of course most of them thought I did a good thing by spending so much time on FriendFeed this year.
How much time? I told Arrington tonight that I bet it’s seven hours a day or more. I started in late February. So, that’s around 2,000 hours. What did I get for my 2,000 hour investment this year?
6,841 comments. (These are blogs and items I had something to say about, so I left a comment on them).
13,078 likes. (These are blogs and items made by other people that I wanted to share with you).
I manually followed 5,405 people. (You can see all the content they generate in real time here).
Anyway, what did I give up by spending time on Twitter and friendfeed?
- A few of my friends think I am not as good a thought leader anymore because they don’t get as many long posts as I used to do.
- If you check Compete.com you’ll see my overall traffic went down about 14% this year while FriendFeed’s traffic went up 4,056%.
- I don’t get any money from friendfeed, while on my blog I do sell ads now.
- I’m not breaking as many stories anymore so I’m showing up on TechMeme less and less.
- Arrington himself told me he is reading me less on my blog, although lots of the “A list” crowd have been showing up on friendfeed now that it has hit a certain audience size and is starting to show up on their referral logs.
What did I gain by being on friendfeed and Twitter?
- I now get a much wider-range of news and am available to a wider range of people.
- My words now get indexed by the two most popular “real-time web” search engines: Twitter Search and friendfeed search. I know people who get their news by visiting Twitter search and looking at what news is “trending,” or becoming more popular.
- I am now part of the conversation in a way that I’d never be if I were just blogging. Seth Godin, for instance, only blogs and he rarely gets discussed on Twitter or friendfeed. If he were active he’d be discussed 25x more.
- I’ve made a lot of friends that are just reading me on twitter, I’ve met many people at Tweetups and the like that I’d never have met if I weren’t so active.
- By being active I’ve been quoted in countless articles about Twitter or friendfeed, which helps me too.
- Because I listen to the conversation I am getting better video interviews. Compete.com shows that FastCompany.TV is growing nicely this year and has taken up the slack for my blog. Add that into all my new readers on Twitter and friendfeed and I’m happy about my total readership. Seagate deserves a lot of thanks there for sponsoring FastCompany.TV back when there were no viewers.
- I now have a new news source that other bloggers won’t have: a crowd of 5,400 people who are bringing me the best news from around the web in real time. Already I’m seeing stuff there that will turn into blog posts and insights that other people aren’t seeing. Because I’ve build relationships with many of these people over the past year they call me and warn me about important news before they call other people. This “funnel” of news could be a sizeable advantage for someone trying to compete in a very competitive space.
- I now have a list of 23,000 people on friendfeed and 44,692 on Twitter that I can show potential sponsors. Before all I could say is my monthly uniques.
- In friendfeed Mike Arrington has 15,108 followers and I have 22,999. Mike has a LOT more blog readers than I have, so he should have dramatically more followers than I have on friendfeed. But by participating in these services I have collected more subscribers. Do they offset the same number of blog readers I’d have if I spent so much time blogging instead of hanging out on friendfeed? That’s the question that got Mike and I to talk.
Why does this all matter? Well, if you are going to do this as a business you’ve got to prove how many readers you have and demonstrate both audience size as well as influence.
The other thing that advertisers are asking me for is quantitative data about who is reading me. Some companies now don’t want to reach geeks, for instance. So, they are looking at your social networks to see what kind of audience you’ve attracted.