Sunday, March 30, 2008

The A-list just changed and you're on it

As a few of you know, there were several missions to this blog when I started writing it back in August. Now, I'm truly enjoying it.

No, it's not the occasional mention on TechMeMe or Hacker News that spikes the readership through the roof (although I admit that feels good). It's not (entirely) that I have been able to get through to people that I've been trying to find since 'the old days'.

It is, that the blog is finally realizing one of the missions. A very important one to me personally, and ....

By following the technology closely, and yes, being an early adopter, you can accomplish what you want to, if you follow the 'right vehicle'.

When I closed my export company 7 years ago and quietly moved into SEO and SEM, I was doing what I wanted to, and loving it. It came naturally and the results were tremendously gratifying. I called it 'playing chess with Google' and it was fun.

It was apparent to me 6 months ago that the landscape was changing quickly and in order to continue to do what I wanted to, I'd have to come out of the shadows of travel and tourism and Search Engine Management, and find some of the people I knew many years ago (when you could fit the websites on the Net in a book), and also engage some of the 'newer' so-called A-list players.

What I wanted to do was some more traveling, work on something exciting, maybe a start-up, maybe with Google, but not be in business for myself anymore. Evangelist? Writer? Video? You get the idea.

I had numerous conversations over time via Twitter, Facebook, Pownce, and I began getting a little discouraged. (Getting discouraged never stopped me before ...)

Things weren't moving fast enough.

I picked a few SEM accounts as they came along, knowing it really wasn't what I wanted to do anymore.

Warning, here we go again.....

Then came Friendfeed and the piece that I wrote last week which not only caused the largest two day spike to this blog in it's short history, but also brought a barrage of new Facebook 'friends', Twitter followers, and Friendfeed subscribers.

Last night, I started sifting through the list, following back most on Twitter (no we're not talking thousands but that's the way I like it) and more importantly, engaging a small number of people directly on Friendfeed.

Now this was interesting, productive, AND fun, and I really only spent about a half hour doing it.

I wouldn't admit it to myself, but I was quietly jealous of Scoble, Calacanis and a few others that were obviously loving what they were doing. I had been quiet for too long, and the reality was, for a 51 year old guy that feels 30, the doors were tough to open.

The difference between the social networks, Twitter, and Friendfeed is that with Friendfeed, you can literally engage in a one-way (or 10-way) conversation and make a point. You can hit the people that you want to, and start the discussion or join it, and it just works. It's also self-perpetuating if my Feedburner numbers are right.

The other really cool thing (some don't like this but it works for me), is that I don't have to open and moderate comments on this blog. Have something to say? For now, say it on Friendfeed, unmoderated, and have fun.

Of the 'short list' that I made a while back of people I wanted to engage, the ONLY ONE that hasn't returned an e-mail, Facebook e-mail, Twit, or subscribed to my Friendfeed is Michael Arrington (TechCrunch). That's OK Mike. I still read you...

A-listers (new and old) have been called snobs by some. I realized a long time ago that if I was getting 1000 e-mails, tweets, or whatever a day, I probably wouldn't answer all of them either. It's annoying and impossible. The tech paparazzi is here!

So Scoble's reading my Friendfeed as of yesterday. Sure he's a little noisy on Twitter (and I have to turn him on and off). Same for Calacanis and others. (Memo to Calacanis: You should be speaking to your audience, not twittering that you're in the same bar with Lindsay Lohan at 5 grand a table. It's obvious you get excited, but stuff like that is an outright turn off to a lot of people ... and you're spearheading a start-up!).

The point is, that there are many of you out there, just like me. We can, and should, be doing what excites us, because we not only KNOW that we can be an asset to specific companies and/or ventures .... We should be part of the all-important dialog.

IF the Friendfeed gang continues to innovate, Friendfeed will be 'the connection vehicle that works'.

Scoble is excited that he's going to visit Feedfriend on Monday. So am I. Let's see what he finds out :)