Adventures in Microblogging 2012
I’m not sure why, but I’ve spent a lot of time in this desk chair recently, clicking aimlessly through the internet universe. Oh yeah, I know why – it’s a combination of not wanting to go out and spend money, plus not wanting to drive far, plus declining or ignoring almost every invitation that came my way since November 3, plus good old laziness.
The point is, I’ve had a lot of quality time with the internets these days, and I have a few observations to share:
1. Pinterest is reaching its tipping point
Just as blogging and Twitter and Facebook reached their tipping points long ago, so now has Pinterest, that kicky little app that allows you to click on something kewl you see on the internet and “pin it” to a virtual pinboard on your Pinterest page as long as there is an image involved. Like Facebook, it has a social component in that you can follow people and they can follow you back. Also like Facebook and a little bit more like Twitter, you can browse through other people’s pinboards and waste a lot of time looking at pretty, pretty pictures.
Originally I used it to bookmark things I came across that I wanted to save for later: like ideas for accessories for my to-be-remodeled living room, or pictures of celebrity blondes who have dark eyebrows and matching dark roots. Strangely, people started following me there before I even realized you could follow people.
Over the last week or so, the Pinterest-following activity has just gotten ridiculous, and I’ve read no less than 5 articles about the app and how you can leverage it to get more traffic to your blog. For design, craft, fashion, and food blogs, that makes a lot of sense. You can look for recipes or craft projects on Pinterest, and you will find things that other people found and shared there, and clicking on those photos will take you back to those blogs, thus generating more traffic for the blogger.
I am not going to add to that, since it’s obvious that after 7+ years of blogging, nothing I have ever done has markedly increased traffic to my blog in any lasting way, and I don’t believe I have even one inbound click from Pinterest yet. I almost didn’t write about Pinterest at all, because as my pal Julie tweeted, “The whole world knows about Pinterest.” Which may be true for the whole internet world, but I bet some of you guys are sitting there thinking “What the heck is she talking about?” Right? Show of hands?
Note that I am saying “tipping point” which is a positive thing, meaning that Pinterest is starting to reach the relevant masses. I am not saying “jumping the shark,” which would mean that that least tech-savvy of your non-tech-savvy mommy group friends will come up to you and say “Have you heard about this website called Pinterest?” And that’s when you will want to punch her in the face. But you won’t because you love her and you are a refined individual who does not allow mere apps to drive to you to violence.
My abandonment of illusions that I can increase the overall traffic to this site has not stopped me from adding a “follow me on Pinterest” button to my sidebar (to the right. Right there. See it? Also please note the absence of any advertising. I’m done with that, but we’ll talk about that in another post.) And this action of adding its plugin to my site, dear friends, is why I have declared that Pinterest is getting to its tipping point. I mean, when you have an easily-installed plugin for WordPress, everybody and their mother is going to get all up in the boards. Why, I’ll bet there is a widget for Blogger in the works too!
I also incorporated a “Pin It” button into the share button bar below – you can see it at the bottom of this post. If you click it, the Pinterest app will pop up and allow you to “pin” a link to this post, accompanied by this photo:
You must be a Pinterest member to do this. Go ahead, sign up and pin this. I dare you.
2. Bloggers are turning to Tumblr and Posterous for short outbursts and/or crowdsourced microblogging
In the last several weeks (months? I am no longer good at keeping track of time) I have witnessed a strong handful of bloggers – well-respected, accomplished, prolific bloggers – starting posterous and tumblr sites. Those two apps, which have been around for a while, are bare-bones blogging apps that make it easy for you to start a little site. You can publish a full-on blog there without all the bells and whistles of a more traditional blogging platform. Setting one up takes very little time, and if you have a wild hair like I did last year, you might just whip one up. I was realizing that every day, I used a different and perfectly awesome pencil to take my notes or write in my editorial calendar, and I decided to chronicle them using a posterous site. The updates started to become more about Wonderful Cocktails I Have Imbibed, but that’s just the way I roll. I like the original title, and every now and then I still post a photo of a phat pencil, so I kept it.
Anywho. The newest uses of posterous/tumblr – I group them together because I honestly don’t know what the differences between them are besides the branding – are coming from people who have been blogging for a long time in lots of different places. They had ideas that didn’t fit with their current sites, or they wanted readers to be able to submit their own ideas a la Damn You Autocorrect or Shit My Kids Ruined and so they turned to posterous/tumblr to quickly create new ones.
Here are the ones that come instantly to mind:
Have Snark, Will Travel – my dear friend Melanie who has turned out an amazing tome of a blog over the past few years about traveling the globe as a couple realized that she had quite a collection of pictures from her adventures that were just…a little off. She shares her collection here and invites the world to submit their own photos. (This just in. This is a real live blog, not a posterous or tumblr. But the conceit is the same, so check it out. She is an overachiever, that Melanie.)
A Year of Billy Joel – I almost can’t even type this…my friend Will Stegemann has never liked Billy Joel’s music. Le sigh. He’s such an awesome guy, though, that he can still be my friend, and actually, his daily Billy Joel updates are already educating me, because I didn’t start my love affair with The Piano Man’s tunes until Glass Houses.
Pinterest, You Are Drunk – I just found this today and OMG. LMAOROFL etc. etc. These kids today. Tipping point, indeed.
Fun Size Slackmistress – She’s had this site for a while but I just discovered it so since it’s new to me, it gets to be included. Since she doesn’t blog as much on her blog blog, her tumblr allows fans to get updates and see what she is reading and enjoying in the meantime.
3. The Internet is on TV and TV is on the Internet and you can follow each other
Because, in conclusion, it seems that the trend is that everything you do on the internet must have some sort of “following” capability built into it. Enter GetGlue. I have never even seen GetGlue’s site but from the inane updates I see on Twitter and Facebook I bet you $100 that it’s just like Goodreads but with TV shows instead of books. Since all I watch now is The Big Bang Theory, I don’t even care. But you might like it.