mikidemillion

Archive for the ‘social media’ Category

On The Way Here – If You Write It, They Will Come

In Blog Post, Entertainment, Literature, mikidemillion, On The Way Here series, online communities, online networks, pop culture, social media, social networks, Stories, Story, Writers, writing on October 3, 2010 at 6:40 pm

How did you get here from there: past websites, old online communities, failed social networks?  What have you left behind?  Is there anything you’ve learned along the way?

I’ve seen a few things in my online travels and have often wondered if many have had similar online experiences on different sites.  I’d be interested in reading about it.  Drop a link to your stories in the comment section.  I’ll share my thoughts about my online traveling experience in this ongoing series ‘On The Way Here’ and add to it whenever I can.

A place for writers of all kinds

My first participation in social media was a start-up website that targeted local business.  Someone I knew launched it and I helped in the beta test stage by posting a few pieces of online content and making comments on what others posted.  This was before MySpace and FaceBook and that other big website I won’t name and give it any more exposure, the one that rates businesses and has been accused of dirty marketing tactics.

It was fun for a time, hanging around my first online community.  But the site’s focus was on reviewing local businesses and it wasn’t especially exciting to read about the help at Hank’s Hardware or how strong the coffee was at the corner cafe.

It wasn’t the sort of stuff that made me want to rush home and read about it.  I wanted to read about people, their stories, their travels, their thoughts on current events and pop culture.  I wanted fiction and sports and music.  There was so much more out there beyond the local grocery store.  My friends and I wrote some content other than business reviews, but there weren’t many of us with time to post and, it seemed, people were hesitant to write, so after a month or two there was a slow drop-off of participating users.  People were reading but not writing.  And without that fresh daily content there was nothing to entice others to join and participate.

The site was slow loading, the members weren’t participating and it was unlikely to attract local business advertising for site revenue.  I did miss the site when it folded, it was a place where many of us could connect with each other no matter where we were in the country, using the site’s messaging feature and making comments on each other’s posts.  Immediate interaction, more than one person could comment on something in real time.  Not at all like sending an email.

Months later I received an invite from a friend to join another beta website, it was a closed community until the beta phase was complete before it would open to the public.  What kind of site was it?  A place for writers.  To share their writing, to talk about writing, to interact, to socialize with other members, and it was a place for readers to find content from  established and promising writers.

Wow.  I joined immediately.  What a great concept!  It was a perfect mix.  A social network of writers who do what writers do – provide content.  As well as interact with readers.  Targeting writers was ensuring there would be fresh content on the site for potential members.  In a social atmosphere.  You didn’t have to be a writer to join,  you could simply choose to read and comment on the wide variety of posts.

I was timid at first.  So many good writers were posting some great material.  Stories, political views, sports enthusiasts, music reviews old and new, and so much more!  It was exciting to read.  I couldn’t wait to log on to see what was new.  Recent comments scrolled down the home page and it was easy to find the most interesting conversations to follow.  Titles of new content were linked from the main page as well as grouped into broad categories to make things easier to find.  And there was a lot of content.  With many comments.  It was the first place I went to when I had free time.  And the place I stayed until I had to go and do something.  I was hooked.  I even started commenting.  I was participating and interacting with writers.  It was wonderful!

What could go wrong?

I’ll have to go into that next time.