Wednesday, July 11, 2007

Being an early adopter

Blogger: July 2, 2003 (previous blog - May 5, 2002)
MySpace: December 2005 (I think) September 2004 (thanks Rachel!)
Facebook: May 2006
LinkedIn: July 2004
SecondLife: December 2005
Dogster: June 2004
Twitter: December 2006

A friend was giving me grief later today about my concentration on community (bc of this post) and calling me a commie (which is funny). He then said he knows I care about monetization, but that you cannot have monetization without community - one goes along with the other, and if you ignore community there is not going to be any monetization.

But, I explained to him what the deal is to me.

I have been blogging for four years - my anniversary was July 2, but I did not feel the need to make a big deal about it. I started blogging because a friend recommended it to me (for work); prior to that, I started blogging because I thought it was something cool to try out - and I realized that while friends always thought I had an interesting life and good stories, I found it boring.

But, I didn't start blogging originally for work, or because I thought it would make me famous - like other PR bloggers - but because it interested me.

Yes, I am a secret geek. Always have been.

I joined MySpace because a friend of mine recommended it to me, because she knows I like music and that I would find it interesting. I have - and keep it sorta active, with at least communicating and adding more friends when I find them there.

I joined Facebook because I was already playing around in the community about five months prior, checking it out with a friend's account and seeing what it was about, and formulating thoughts about it. Back then, I did not think much - and I still think there are problems - but the new applications are great, and I think the site has a lot of great potential to be bigger and bigger.

I joined LinkedIn because I thought it was a cool idea, and I was always open to new opportunities that I could find through the network. It helped a friend come damn close to a dream job, so it could work for me.

I joined SecondLife because Eric Rice was having a New Year's party, and he always talked it up to me. So, I had to check it out. I didn't check it out because I thought it was a great community to corrupt or use for PR. I joined because I thought it was something cool to use, and something cool to see, and something that could be fun if I wanted to geek out.

I joined Twitter prior to SXSW, because I read that it was Odeo's new service, and I liked Odeo enough - and love Blogger - to test it out and see what it was about.

You see a pattern? I join these sites out of an interest in them. Not because I am looking at it from a PR view point, but because I like to learn and see what is new out there, and to see what new communities are being formed. Hell, I was early to Orkut and Friendster as well, and see what did and did not work there. There are sites that I join to test out and try, and I forget that I am a member there.

But, this is about walking the walk, and being part of communities. There are tons of bloggers out there - and that's another thing, where I read blogs and watch podcasts to see what is being said, and out of interest - that like to talk about community, but unless it has to do with him/her, they could care less. And, that's what makes bad PR counsel: selfishness, and lack of caring or understanding of communities. And, that is what bothered me at the conference today - it needs to be about the community. You can't just expect people to come anymore, but you need to go where they are and want to be part of that community.

And, you know, the public is starting to see through that - that some bloggers don't really care about community, just themselves and their rankings, and that they are trying to use communities for their own personal and professional goals. You know why I go to BlogHer? Because it's a great event and great people and a wonderful community. And, it's that type of community that we are all looking at, and need to be involved with. You cannot rely on just pitching bloggers and hope for the best. You have to be part of the community - all communities - or you're going to fail.

Remember that the next time you are trying to force something over one community, or pitch bloggers. Think about it in their shoes, what that community might want, and then you will be more successful.

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