It is like organizing a snowball fight in the middle of an avalanche.
It was great to hear Evan Williams (co-founder of Blogger & Twitter) on BBC World Service this morning (5.00 am GMT) talking about failure and success. Knowing that big successful services have been through highs and lows gives me a little more hope.
We are about to see one of our Networks on NING get the switch off ( 6th Spetember) whilst we are still trying to get a new Network on WALL.FM. up and running. It has revealed to me the quest to find a defining mission. Knowing musicians as I do they tend to be free spirits and often the least likely to be communicative. So yes getting interaction and particpiation unless there is an obvious outcome is fairly hard to acheive. Plus there is all the hype out there already about Social Networking which has some truth to it granted. But I see it as a tool for connecting and to be honest most musicians tend to be a little like a bull in a China shop as regards dropping links to their own material. Some do it very well and are inspirational to me and our little project.
Overall I guess we do have a problem with the domain name (yes it is long), We have also issues of communicating what we are about in simple terms and gaining peoples' faith that we can deliver something of benefit. Especially when they are being constantly barraged with content and requests elsewhere.
Over many years I have in many different industries , gone through this whole phase with an idea. You have the initial vision and as you go to put it in to place a whole whirlwind of problems unfold. People come along who for one reason or another decide they will drag their feet or voice objections. Others stand on the sidelines waiting to see what will happen. Once it takes off every one suddenly wants a peice of the action. But when the going is really tough and there are no big rewards it usually comes down to one or two key players, who for altruistic purposes keep the thing afloat through the choppy waters. We are not the only site or group of people going through this. I have been there so yes I kow there is a light there at the end of the tunnel.
The upside is knowing that there are at least a few people who we have managed to benefit and feedback to. Looking at the way things have moved forward we can at least take a little credit for being there and providing support. We can also be reassured that it is all being done on next to no budget, so there is little to worry about. We have no one to let down or interfere with our approach. So yes we are able to completely change direction overnight should we decide to.
Having gone through the back-slide of 2009, where visitor numbers began to go backwards, things have rapidly improved. That was brought about through deciding to negate Facebook for the foreseeable future. Sounds funny but we do not have the time to use the site correctly, so it would be a complete waste of our energy and time. Deciding to concentrate on our own areas and Networks has actually made for a ten fold increase in traffic.
The next stage is to take advantage of that increase, for our own benefit but more importantly for our Members. We need to retain our visitors attention by providing useful and entertaining content that they will feel worthy of sharing elsewhere. We need to build in more relevency and increase the feedback through our blogs. Here it is not so important, this is a means to an end.
if were easy, would there be any point ?