Relying on Dead Accounts for a Subscriber Base

We rely on dead accounts. Dead or dud accounts should be clutter but they aren’t really. Instead they add to our numbers, and we like numbers as statistics we can see and measure. But, they aren’t all that reliable, or honest.

Twitter followers, Facebook friends, mailing list and newsletter subscribers… if you had to audit your subscriber list would you have even a quarter of those subscribers? A quarter was actually being nice. It is far more likely your subscribers and followers would reduce down to a very small fraction of those currently on your list. But, web publishers don’t yet have to face subscriber audits. I worked in the circulation department of a magazine, a print magazine. Audits were a reality there. Print magazines have to verify their subscriber lists, the people on them have to be real and currently getting the magazine. Advertisers really like having that kind of data when they consider spending their money.

So far the web is different, generally.

As a web publisher are you satisfied with that?

Do you care how many of your followers, friends and subscribers are actually real people (and maybe reading your newsletter too)? You don’t have to care. You can just ignore the whole thing. It’s nice to say you have thousands of subscribers rather than audit it down to a handful.

About once a year I take an axe to my Twitter account. I’m not ruthless about it. I leave some accounts which don’t look very active and probably don’t really care what I’m posting, or if I’m posting. But, I do set limits. It’s a Twitter audit where I only have to please myself.

  • I stop following accounts which have not had a post in a year.
  • I stop following an assortment of accounts which never followed me back. This is not a petty thing – I just don’t see the point in trying to reach out to someone who doesn’t want to listen to me. (Many of those who don’t follow back are just follow-me-back accounts who love having big numbers of followers but long ago deleted you from their own list of followed accounts).
  • I also delete accounts which have nothing to say. If the last half dozen or so posts are all re-posted links… I don’t want to follow an automated account.

I know I still have a lot of accounts which are dud and dead accounts in some way. But, I leave them because it is nice to have some numbers. I’m not immune to that game.

I don’t run a newsletter because I know just how fast I can build a subscriber base – of bots, spammers and dud accounts. Thanks for nothing. I miss running a newsletter. I had a few over the years online. My best was called InkSplatters, for writers.

If you had to audit your followers and subscribers how would it go? Could you be brave and do it or is it just too nice to go along and pretend all those numbers are real?

Some day you may have to prove them. I don’t think digital media will be left to make claims of thousands of subscribers they don’t really have for much longer. At least not sites which want advertisers to pay them for their space.

Social Sustenance for the Self

The problem with joining other sites and networks is the time and energy required to get anything out of being a part of the network. I only have so much quota of social energy and then its gone. I can smile and nod but that takes my time, and patience and kind of belittles me. I’m able to fake having patience to the point where even I believe me. But, I know I really have almost none at all.

Anyway, back to the point, joining social and professional groups, networks and associations. I often think I’d like to be a member. I read the member benefits and think I’d like that. But, in actual practice, it just never works out for me. I lack the energy to be social enough to really get far in a community. A loner type never works out in a community unless they somehow own or founded the community and have others to do the actual social part.

Knowing this about myself I am making a late New Year’s resolution and unjoining several communities and groups which I’m not really gaining anything from. They feel like a drain on me. I can’t support them with the little social energy and patience I have.

What about you? Are you a good socializer? Do you love being part of a community and find your place in one? Or, are you quiet and never seem to quite find the time and energy to really join or do much to take part?

Remember, you have to decide what sustains you and what you sustain. Keep it balanced!

How to Really Get People Interested in Following You

It’s not about tricks, fooling people and just getting high numbers of followers. You need real people, actually interested in following you and paying some attention to what you post, sell and care about.

These following tips will work well for you in any social media and site writing. Take some time to make an impression rather than looking for short cuts which don’t get you far.

Do Your Research

First, find your niche. Build your blog around a topic that you are passionate about. Next, design your blog with a theme that suits its purpose. Peruse the many themes available from Tumblr to give your blog an attractive design (see Resources). Post content on your blog on a semi-regular schedule to attract new eyes and keep your followers engaged. Finally, follow other blogs that cover topics similar to yours and follow back those who follow you.

Create a Buzz

The most successful Tumblr blogs are those that create a genuine buzz, and the most organic way to create a buzz, and gain lots of Tumblr followers a result, is simply to create a quality product. Tumblr is loosely organized around categories such as Food, Fashion, Beauty, Art, Culture and so on; check the Tumblr Spotlight page (link in Resources) to see how blogs are organized by content and review some of them to see successful blogs in action.

Interact

Tumblr is a social network more than just a bunch of blogs, and interacting with others helps you get followed. You can interact with other Tumblr users in several ways: you can “like” posts by clicking the heart icon for each post; you can reblog posts, which is a tribute to the original author and the originating post is cited in a reblog; if replies are enabled for a post, you can leave a short comment; if a blog has an Ask page, you can send the blog owner questions and comments from this page; lastly, you can message a blog you follow using Fan Mail.

Source: Tricks to Make Tumblr Users Follow You | The Classroom | Synonym

What is a (#) Hashtag?

Thanks to the member-driven online information site Twitter, the lowly “pound” or “number” symbol “#” has been elevated to a new role. The hash mark, or pound symbol, (#) is now known by social media users as a “hashtag” or “hash tag”. Posts that have the same keywords prefixed with the # symbol are grouped together in user searches, bringing a level of order to the frenzied chaotic world of Twitter.

Twitter user Chris Messina (@chrismessina) first Tweeted with a hashtag symbol # in August 2007, as a way to define groups on the social media site. The use of the pound symbol to categorize messages and define conversations spread quickly throughout the Twitter community, and is now an integral part of this fast-paced live information network.

via What is a (#) Hashtag? | Hashtags.org.

I can’t resist adding some Internet history along with the information about hashtags.

Hashtags can be used or organize information, create an archive or directory for a group of people. But, I think hashtags are just fun. Stick together a phrase (shortened for space) and add it as a sub-commentary to your post.

Don’t take hashtags too seriously.

Yahoo! Profiles (and Avatars) are Going Away

Yahoo! is phasing out their Profiles. You can’t look up someone else and, I couldn’t even find my own to see what I had written about myself. (Though Yahoo! recommends I save anything in my “About Me” and “My Interests”, I can’t even get my profile to load up at all).

yahoo profiles

I thought I would look up my Yahoo Avatar but that put me back on the “Going Away” page for Profiles. So, it seems the Avatars are also going away.

Maybe Yahoo is using logic in removing things which have not been greatly used. But, I think they have it wrong.

Why not bring the Yahoo Profiles and Avatars into the new world of social media instead?

Connect Profiles and Avatars to Tumblr and Flickr. How much more colourful and interesting they could have made those sites/ services with the addition of the Avatars and an expanded profile. Yahoo Profiles (with it’s long running database of users) could have rivalled About.me for giving people a profile page to connect all your accounts and people in one place.

yahoo avatars

So why didn’t anyone at Yahoo do this?

I don’t know. But, it does seem Yahoo prefers to buy and then bail out on a lot of sites and services. There must be some business or marketing sense to it, I hope. I don’t see it. I do see what could have been wonderful as a web profile being lost instead. For no great reason other than taking the slow road to nowhere.

I looked at Yahoo Groups this week, just out of curiousity. At one time I ran email lists and newsletters through Yahoo Groups, when they were called something else and before then when they were MailCity and eGroups which were bought by Yahoo. But, the Groups are pretty silent now. Why aren’t bloggers using Yahoo Groups to run email lists? It’s free. It’s easy to set up and work with. It’s reliable… isn’t it? Hard to be sure when it looks so stagnant and neglected.

Why Yahoo!. Why?

I don’t want to see Yahoo! die. I’ve been watching them slip away for years though. No one seems to be excited about the possibilities any more. They almost seem content to slip into obscurity.

Google Marketing and Dear Webmaster Letters

Have you had an email asking you to remove a link? There are various reasons someone might ask you to remove a link, some are practical and make sense. Often it’s about a copyrights issue. The new trend I’ve noticed is the request to remove a link for Google.

You get a Dear Webmaster letter, not so unlike a Dear John letter about a century ago during the World Wars. Don’t take offense, it’s just marketers trying to please (or scare) their clients. They don’t really know what they are doing.

A Dear Webmaster letter:removelinksforGoogleThis is the second email (this year) which I have had asking me to remove my link to a site. Not for the reason you would expect. It’s not about how I mentioned the link, or that I linked in a bad way at all. Actually, the link was just an additional resource when I had written about a relevant topic.

Long ago I was asked to remove a link to Starbucks. But, this was back in the very early days. Starbuck’s concern was about their privacy online. That was so long ago everything was still new and no one knew what to make of the Internet and the very earliest websites, networks and web logs. (Yes, bloggers was not even an accepted word yet).

This time, I was asked to remove a link because the company was concerned about Google’s algorithm.  They are not interested in being part of a post, relevant to their content. Their focus is Google, not readers.

To me it is ironic that Google made their latest changes in order to get online content to change from spam created to please Google into writing created to please readers. But, some people do not quite make that connection. Instead they are just trying to turn things around to be what will please Google.

Today I read something where they decided the biggest problem for brands now is to create content people will want to share on social media.

They still don’t get it either.

Google and social media are software, basically. Software does not have a lot of buying power all on it’s own. It needs people with credit cards, online banking or some other method of making payment for goods and services.

Why don’t businesses/ companies still understand they need to attract people – not software?

Each time I think they’ve got it… it just passes them by… like a ship in the night fog.

Anyway, I did remove the link, as requested. It was actually listed once on a blog I moved to a new domain (in one post but showed up on several links with indexing). If any of the people who did this research on what Google likes actually understood how links and blogs work, they would have known that. But, that would be a waste of time when they can do so much automatically with software and then send out a form letter, with more software.

If they had actually checked any of the links, manually, they would have found them all 404. Still on Google, but not actually on the web. I wonder what kind of automatic form letter they will send Google’s bot?

I’m sure there are some marketers who will just never, ever get it.

PS- I was irritated that they want me to respond when I have accommodated them so they can take me off their list rather than nagging at me again. Just in case you wondered… removing a link for this reason (for Google marketing) is not something you are obligated to do. The link is public knowledge and my post was almost ten years old (from 2005). So, if you don’t feel very accommodating when you get a note like this… just ignore it. I just think it’s silly because the first note I got (for a different site) was from a company which had paid me for the link. See how backwards it all is?

I will likely continue to remove links when requested. Why not? It takes me a half minute to edit the post and I don’t mind not giving another site the promotion if they don’t want it when it’s free. Maybe later they can pay me for another link.

Titles Matter Don’t Assume

Titles matter when you post to Twitter or other social media or the actual blog post itself. Don’t assume people will know what you are talking about. A title is especially important when you are sharing a link you want readers to click. Inside your blog post a link should be used for the words which describe the post. Not “click here”.

Don’t send a link to social media like a “click here”.

titles matter

 

If this appeared in your social media feed (Twitter in this case) would you click that link?

We follow a lot of people in Twitter, at least I do. We don’t know them all well and we can’t possibly keep up with all of them. So we catch snippets and some of them catch our attention or interest. Some of them don’t. This interview may have caught your attention if you had known what it was about. But, from this title you don’t have that information.

It’s too bad because a lot of women would have enjoyed the interview. Or, if not, they at least would have appreciated the concept of being a sexpot with stretch marks. Perked your interest? See how that works much better than assuming people will know who she is and what book she wrote. Now you might even look her up on Twitter. But, not so likely before knowing the details.

Are you Preventing Social Sharing on Your Own Site?

 

Have you accidentally blocked social media sharing on your own site?

I tried to share a post on this site (see below) to my Scoop.it account. I was using a bookmarklet (more often called an app these days) but I could not get around this site’s note about their use of cookies. How important was this pop up note versus having a post shared?

For that matter – how important are the cookies? I block third party cookies by choice and I’m not changing that. Why is this site using third party cookies anyway?social media blocked

 

Check your own site(s). If you don’t already have a bookmarklet or app for social sharing go to the site for Chrome, Opera or Firefox (or which ever web browser you use) and take a look at the add-ons for social media. They are really nice for making social sharing quick and simple. I actually have a few of them. This way I don’t need to rely on the site itself to have social media sharing and better still, I don’t need to figure out how their social sharing works.

Retiring my Old HubPages Profile

Laura is secretly handling the Canadian World Domination plot. It’s all very polite and litter free but for the odd moose rampage.

Laura is an eccentric and reclusive ASCII artist. In her spare time she is a freelance writer, running several blogs and social media type sites. She calls herself an Earth Witch (or a Pagan atheist) when no one in particular is listening.

Laura disappears for hours, even days on urban and rural explorations. She travels with the wrong shoes and the right Ontario road map, looking for ruined buildings and abandoned farm houses.

Laura collects postcards, stones, old Canadian coins, bone china bouquets, hand drawn maps, dust bunnies, books about writing, dragons (real ones) and assorted oddities to which she won’t confess. She likes to crochet, embroider, crazy quilt and sew. Her Grandmother used to say, “Once Laura sews on a button it never comes off again.”

“Adorable, in a wicked, modest way that only the ego-maniacal can pull off.” – Says Gracie (friend and fellow web writer).

“This girl writes like other people breathe.” Comment from a regular reader.

Canadian freewriting niche blogger. Online since 1996.

This profile was written by Laura who thinks no one should have to type their own name this many times in a row.

=db=qp=db=qp=db=qp=db=qp=

http://thatgrrl.hubpages.com/hubs/latest?rss

Just seemed like time for a change. Not even sure what I will do with two accounts on the same site. I would have stuck to just one but with the merge from Squidoo we all had to start fresh, new accounts on HubPages.