When I first took my internship at the management company in Hollywood, they were investing in a social networking site that had all kinds of cool potential. A year, close to a hundred thousand dollars and a total redesign later, the site is actually less popular that where it was before. There were a bunch of reasons for this, but going over the site recently, I came across the most telling one. Not once in the last six months has the founder uploaded anything to his own site. Nothing. And he can’t figure out why no one is joining.
Clay Shirky tells this story about Flickr. Caterina Fake, one of the founders, insisted from the beginning that employees not only have their own Flickr accounts but that they actively comment on the photos of other users. The community didn’t come from nowhere.
Since I took over Fail Dogs, traffic is up for two reasons. One, I update all the time. Two, I’ve systematically gone through and touched almost everybody that matters in that space. In less than 30 days it’s gone from 565,000 pageviews a month to just over 750,000, all because I sat down and got involved. And if you count all the impression off the site itself, we’re just inches away from cracking the million mark.
There is only one way to build a New Media presence.
Your blog will fail unless you post on it. Your delicious account is worthless if you’re not using it. You’ll get nothing from Wikipedia without editing. You’ll never be the source of conversation if you don’t personally start it. Your connections will dry up unless you make consistent contact. And all of the equalizing power of new media is lost on you if you can’t step up and extend yourself.
One day you’ll probably want something from the internet – you’ll have a book to promote, a business that needs customers, someone you need to meet, a ebay auction you’re trying to sell, a job you’re after. It’ll be too late then. You have to start before. And there’s only one way to do that.