Last December I offered my two cents on what’s happening with blogging in response to Jeremiah Owyang’s provocative post that pronounced the golden era of tech blogging dead. Now, I’m not sure how people feel about that a few months on, but something that’s stuck with me is how we gather information online today. Sure, we’re having lots of “conversations,” but readers still crave destinations.
Good writers know that in order to get anyone to look at anything online, you need a hook. When we share links on Twitter and Facebook, they’re only interesting if you can tease people to click into the story. We’re all writing headlines for everything we share with the online community. To me that means we still need blogs, websites…anywhere you can put lots of words and ideas next to each other.
We like info snacking, but we’re really picky eaters. Given the amount of information that’s out there it’s only fair that readers only sample what they like at the content buffet. But make no mistake, curation takes more than the almighty “conversation.” So, writers, don’t despair: readers still crave the yummy content that’s always made the web great.
Someone contacted me recently to do a story about Bring Your A’s Game, my quest to bring the Oakland Athletics back to Philadelphia, and it really sparked my imagination about the campaign again. Last summer was great: the A’s came back to town for interleague; we had fun at Memphis Taproom’s beer garden, and we even rallied for a Saturday night game at the ballpark. I had a great time meeting people, young and old, and talking to them about the A’s and baseball and Philadelphia.
Then things stalled a bit. What do you do next? Sure, these things are long, drawn out affairs, so how do you get people to pay attention to your story? The answer, at least for me, is to remember the passion that drove me to it in the first place. I want to connect Philadelphia’s rich baseball history to something in the present. I want to get people excited about a crosstown rivalry that hasn’t existed in nearly 60 years. It’s not easy.
What awoke in me as I talked about what motivated me to start Bring Your A’s Game was the fun of it. Mostly when I talk about it, I expected people to have the kind of reaction Gargano did when I talked to him in the summer of ’10, which is to say, comically negative. I’m often stunned when people agree that Philadelphia not only could support two ballclubs, but that it should. Maybe they don’t all like the Bring Your A’s Game page, but it’s a good feeling to not be laughed out of the court of public opinion. So I want to do more of it.
I mentioned last week on the long neglected Bring Your A’s Game blog and now I’m serious. I’d love to find new ways to connect to new audiences, especially those that aren’t baseball mad. I want to wage this conversation with folks who don’t know anything about baseball, but who like provocative, disruptive ideas. If you know of such a forum, let me know and I’ll prepare accordingly.
The only way to truly realize your passions is to engage others who don’t share them and invite them to join you. It’s invigorating and a vital way to keep the creative juices flowing. Try it. You’ll be glad you did.
How’s 2012 treating you so far? Things have been insanely busy here. I’ve been hacking my job like a boss so far and the outcome is just what I expected: a heaping pile of exciting, engaging work on my plate. Feel really lucky to be doing what I’m doing where I’m doing it. Can’t share too much, but I think many of you out there will be surprised by some of the things cooking at my day job.
Can’t stress enough to “creatives” that work is only as fun as you make it. Do good work and you’ll impress someone. Phoning it in not only makes you miserable, it also means you have nothing to show for your misery.
But enough about work.Â Continue reading “How’s 2012 Treating You?”
Did something last week that I know most of you will think is crazy: I bought two more years on Flickr. Trust me, I think it’s pretty crazy, too.
I used Instagram for a while, but I realized those pics are trapped in an ecosystem that’s just as complicated as Flickr, but without sets and at much lower resolution.
Privacy is important, too. Flickr offers me options. I don’t need to broadcast everything. If I want to share, I’ll twitpic and be done with it. Filters are nice, but a bit gimmicky and square photos have meant that more than one great image of my son crops his head off when I try to print. Bummer, that.
To top it off, I have a ton of photos hosted on Flickr, going back six years. Do I wish I’d snagged my real name instead of my ’00s alias? Yes, but they’re memories, no matter how silly the permalink.
Am I afraid of what might happen in the near future at Flickr? Of course. The Delicious spinoff went about as badly as possible. But I have to believe that Flickr can be adapted to a more social mobile experience that still delivers what people loved about the service when they first bought a pro account. At least I hope so.
So ‘fess up: who still uses and enjoys Flickr? Let’s connect!
One of my digital New Year’s Resolutions was to “go pro” on Twitter. I’m nearly there and I can tell you it’s not easy. For me it’s meant unfollowing and plugging folks into lists or just disconnecting altogether in order to pay attention to things that are, you know, work-related. In some cases it means severing ties with old co-workers, high school classmates and vibrant locals in exchange for national and regional media, current co-workers and influencers. It’s a window into their process, something that wouldn’t have been possible a decade ago, and it’s more important to my work than ever. Thing is, has this transformation sucked all the fun out of Twitter and Facebook?Continue reading “Unfollowing Is Hard”