Other Peoples' Good Stuff (OPGS)
I read a lot of online content; this is some of the best stuff I've read this month. It's the stuff that's thought-provoking and worth sharing, even though it might not tie exactly into this blog's normal themes.
ESPN Firing Over a Hundred Employees
This article was published last spring, but I've kept it around because I think the story matters.
ESPN added social/political commentary to many of their stories and shows over the course of the last few years, thinking that it was what people wanted. Unfortunately for them, it wasn't.
First of all, their audience wanted to come home from a long day's work and watch a game, simple as that. They didn't want to hear a social commentary about Colin Kaepernick taking a knee. (and secondly, at least half of those who didn't mind hearing the opinions didn't agree with those opinions!)
In the end, ESPN let a vocal minority of social warriers (ie: a few twitter users and those with a cause) dictate their programming, rather than staying true to their primary audience.
In search of the minimum variable audience
From Seth Godin's blog. Seth reminds that when we try to please everyone, we rarely please anyone. He advises:
The solution is simple but counterintuitive: Stake out the smallest market you can imagine. The smallest market that can sustain you, the smallest market you can adequately serve. This goes against everything you learned in capitalism school, but in fact, it's the simplest way to matter.
When you have your eyes firmly focused on the minimum viable audience, you will double down on all the changes you seek to make. Your quality, your story and your impact will all get better.
And then, ironically enough, the word will spread.
Do you really need to advertise to everyone who might be searching for homes online? Why not choose to have a major impact on / influence over the few hundred people who already know and trust you?
Why social media failed
I get a weekly email from Chris Brogan, and it's usually one of the more thoughtful pieces I read each week. Unfortunately I can't link to this email online, because it's only an email and not a webpage. I'm going to link to Chris's site, and I encourage you to subscribe to his weekly email.
Chris wrote a couple months ago about social media, and why it isn't what it's cracked up to be. I'm going to over-simplify below:
3 Parts to Social Media
1.) Volume wins?
The social media companies need volume, and early users benefited from having lots of volume and lots of clicks/likes. Unfortunately, this changed over time to "fill volume by churning out lots of blather and drivel," and quantity exploded while quality became hard to find.
2.) Revenue wins?
The social media companies are trying to make money, so they tuned their models to maximize revenue. This means content providers have to pay to be seen in most cases. "Content is king" is a quaint concept from a long ago time.
3.) Communication wins!
We've been told there's value in producing tons of content. There isn't.
We've been told to post daily, to use clickable headlines, to add a great image, and to write lists. Stop it.
Social media is just a bunch of software. Storytelling is a core human endeavor. Tell great stories that resonate with the people who matter to you (and to whom you matter to them!)
If you aren't making money from social media (or good connections which later become money), why are you so driven by it? Get back to more social and less media, and watch your income grow.
Staying true to your audience is a big deal - big enough that plenty of experts our there are noticing. But it's harder than ever to do, mostly because there are so many distractions and so many "how-to" articles which forget to mention this simple concept.
- Chris Butterworth