So I’m back to that Bob book again – I’m another 15 pages in or so. I’ve got a 2 yr old, 2 dogs and a newborn – so not a lot reading time at home. I was able to bring the books bench metaphor into play, mainly due to a post on how to be a [tag]digg[/tag] power user. After reading the post and seeing the number of diggs, 1224, I got to a wonderin. What is genuine in this whole social media thing and how do you filter through the content and self-promotion. So I thought about the Bob book. I actually started thinking about this post a couple of weeks ago when I read [tag]John Scalzi[/tag]’s post on How to Annoy and Irritate People in the Name of Blogging.
The book uses the bench outside of the [tag]Royal bank[/tag] in this small [tag]Ontario community[/tag] as essentially a ranking system of where you are in the scale of things in the community. Being on the bench represents making it essentially. The concept of qualifying for the bench is being legendary and legendary is not so much a legend, more like do you have a Don Quixote thing going on. A passion, some stories and some friends who respect your passion and stories.
So I went to thinking about – what is the online bench? Where is it that the cool people hang and do so out of earning the spot. I quickly realized I don’t know where that is, so I started thinking about personal or social network benches. I also realized the inclusive nature of social networking and social media almost makes it impossible for a bench to exist, but I’m an optimist – so I keep thinking about it.
So is it google hits in a query? Pageviews? People following you on [tag]Twitter[/tag]? [tag]LinkedIn[/tag] connections? [tag]Feedburner[/tag] readers? Gosh I hope it’s not feedburner readers, because my 23 readers are probably not that interesting. These seem like benchmarks, more so than benches, so I would offer that it’s none of the above. Why?
Let’s use 21st citizen as a use case. 21st century citizen on Twitter who is following me and now out of courtesy, for now, I’m following him. I did go to his blog – nice ads! Everywhere! It’s the low bar of “click and add” which makes it difficult to justify the stuff of legends. This creates just a real noisy twitter environment, so here are 21C’s metrics:
• Following 7,568
• Followers 6,666
I have a sum total of 16 people I’m following and just can’t keep up, some folks just have too much time or people posting on their behalf. My checking on twitter 3-4 times a day is becoming like that first IM sign on after vacation. You sign on Sunday night and get the deluge of all those offline messages, which are no longer important. So what do you do with 7569 people worth of tweets?!?! I’ll acknowledge that it is possible that 7569 is the stuff of legends and could qualify for the bench. Just need to figure out where the bench is.
There are similar “friend flewsies” on nearly every network I’m on – so if links, views and metrics don’t do it, what does? I think it’s the transition to the real world. Who calls you and who do you call? I had originally thought email might be the winner, but I audited my outlook address book and I have numerous people I have never talked to, but sent email and many people who are contacts, not friends. So your phone address book seems as close as possible from a metric driven bench.
So maybe I’m doing this this whole social media thing wrong. Maybe I should just link, add, nudge and poke as many people as possible or whatever a given network kitsch action is. Nah, just doesn’t feel right. I’ll just continue to attempt to post fairly meaningful stuff, not so meaningful, things of interest and just see what happens.
Then again, maybe the real benchmark is the number of Viagra emails I get, if that’s the case I think I win and have found the internet bench and earned my right to sit outside the internet Royal – guess I have to sign up for [tag]second life[/tag] and create a bench.