It’s been some time now, and I’ve just been watching from a distance, since you stole all my friends and my requisite thunder. I didn’t b*tch and moan too much, I just let it happen and tried, with some degree of success, to carry on without the initial floodgates of fans. I still have some great musicians with me, utilizing the free services to compete with the powerhouses of Bandcamp and Reverbnation and so on… you know them.
But what I’d like to tell you today is this… don’t be me. I’m a cautionary tale. I’m a consequence of too big too soon and as the runner up to best in show, I have some things to warn you about.
1. Stop the fakes.
The number one complaint people had about me is that there were lots of spambots, pornbots and tardbots who took over friend requests and posted nastiness equating roughly to out of control soapscum. You have to figure out a way to rid these things once and for all and save your peeps from enduring endless scum.
2. Default to the path of least resistance.
Just because people sign up for your site doesn’t mean they want to hear from you every day all day. People prefer to opt IN, not have to opt out. Unclicking boxes is harder work than clicking boxes and less fun.
3. Burn The Man.
Here’s a lesson we both could have learned from… Burning Man. What started out as a slap in the face of respectable society is now sponsored by Starbucks and Barnes and Noble. Well, I can’t say that without proof, but the idea is there. We who have these great ideas about bringing people together around something often find we get the crowds, but we think we need bigger and better every year to attract them back.
Sometimes we do. Most of the time, we fail to recreate what drew people in the first place.
4. Curb the enthusiasm.
People aren’t coming to your website to be sold to. They come to “see” their friends. They come to find out what their friends are up to and by default, they will see what their friends are excited about. It’s grassroots marketing at its best. It’s “Hey, I just found the best plumber ever and he had adequate sized underwear on.” You can’t, and shouldn’t, ask for more than that.
But how do you run a site on friend energy alone? Charge friends? Bah. You can’t do that. It goes back to Click Power. Business owners create their own pages and people click away on the things they like, generating interest and creating a handy dandy way of tracking where people’s interests lie.
I made this mistake. I let big corporations take over the first 2/3 of any given page and infiltrate the sidebar and the header and the footer. It got too crowded and our peeps are quite good at tuning out and, worse, logging off altogether.
5. Keep the locker decor to a minimum.
Decorating your page? I let them do it. I let them go nuts and I’m still picking the glitter out between my teeth. Don’t ask how it got there.
Sure people want to be individuals and express themselves through any number of pre-designed templates and countless gifs of cuddly teddy bears choking two headed lizards. We believe in self expression – we”re Americans for cripe sake.
But in the self-expression we run the risk of freezing our friends’ computers, introducing fun viruses that didnt even require the making out part and creating the kind of static that makes heads explode (which is totally worthless unless you get to post it on YouTube). If someone wants to get crazy, let them eat cake…er make their own website… I suggest a wordpress blog…
So those are the highlights, off the top of my head…space. I hope you’re still reading, because I know you think you know everything there is to know about everything. And I’m telling you right now, Ticker is a word for a bomb.
Thanks for the add.
(and at the ready to pick up your pieces at the facebooks burning)
ps. Robin’s Mom hated me like the boyfriend who never opened the door for her. Don’t be Robin’s ex-boyfriend. Make Moms happy.