A little over a month ago I started this link-a-day experiment, and I’ve been observing the results closely. Herewith, some results.
The plan: Each day, post a link to a provocative or valuable piece (current or older) with a key quote highlighted. Post it at my Wordyard blog and in a few other channels. See what’s working and what’s not.
(1) It’s great to be back to posting daily. Yes, I set a low bar for myself, but still: It’s fun, and a reminder of why this blogging thing made sense in the first place.
(2) It’s easy to keep up. I’m reading widely and taking these notes anyway because it’s just something I do. It makes sense to share them.
(3) The mode of link-sharing I prefer involves including a decent chunk of a quotation that highlights what interested me, and that provides some value to the reader even if she doesn’t click through to the original (though I hope she does). This makes my sharing on Twitter problematic. I’ve experimented with writing separate shorter teases that link directly to the original source rather than to Wordyard; also with linking to the Wordyard post; and with trying to cram both links into one tweet. None of these feels perfectly satisfactory. I’ll keep tinkering.
(4) Facebook is where millions of people hang out to get their links these days but Facebook is also ill-adapted to the sort of linking I want to do. The way it previews links inside the News Feed makes my highlighted blockquotes feel redundant. So I’ve had mixed results: A handful of FB posts have gotten some comments and seem to have turned up in friend’s feeds; a lot haven’t. I should probably redouble my efforts here.
(5) For the first couple weeks I put my links on This. every day. I really like the This. approach (one link per user per day), but it seems structured around a different kind of link-sharing than I’m trying to do. It’s built for each user to post his top story of the day, period, and it allows only very limited room for annotation, so the sort of highlighting I want to do doesn’t feel right. I stopped posting my links there.
(6) I turned on WordPress’s “post to Medium” plugin and began automatically reposting the WordPress posts on Medium. It’s worked out great, and requires zero additional labor. Since I’m doing other writing at Medium as well (for Backchannel), I set up a publication on Medium just for these link posts, which took about two seconds. It’s called The Authentiac (the name has to be more than one word, for some reason). I already have a sizable following on that platform, and at least some of the posts have picked up a little traction there. A
(7) I’m sending the full text of my link highlights once a week in an email to my list (75 and going strong — you can sign up here). It’s pretty easy using the MailPoet plugin, but I have to remember to do it each week. Sometimes I’ve been…late.
(8) For the first couple of weeks I wanted to make everything as simple as possible for myself, and that meant no images. But when I started playing around with images I realized, duh, of course! Adding images makes a huge difference to readership/pickup/engagement, particularly on social platforms. Even when you aren’t really out to goose the numbers and you’re not trying to build a cash business, you still, you know, want people to see what you’re doing. So I’ve been adding images whenever possible.
(9) I feel like this is just the start. The more I do this, the clearer it is to me that there ought to be an entirely more useful and valuable level of organization of these snippets beyond simple reverse-chronology. Whether it’s outlining or tagging or assembly into some kind of narrative, I don’t know. Looking forward to trying to figure that out.
Thanks for joining me on this exploration!
I’m a linkblogger too, and frustrated by shortcomings in just about every option I’ve tried for linkblogging.
Google+ is where I’ve found my largest community. (Yes, Google+. Don’t start.) It has shortcomings as a platform but it’s where I’ve found a great community to connect with, so I’m kind of stuck. I use a service called Friends+Me to automatically syndicate posts to Facebook, Tumblr, and occasionally Twitter. On Twitter, I mostly just post a link back to the original content from the source.
I do post a lot of images, and post far more frequently than you — 15x/day. Necessarily, that means each of my posts are shorter. Often it’s just a link and a few words. Sometimes it’s just an image.
Friends+Me allows me to queue posts over time, Tumblr-like.
Friends+Me is run by literally one guy in, I think, Serbia. Somewhere in Eastern Europe. He doesn’t even have a staff — not even one part-timer — it’s just one guy. If that goes down, I’ll have to re-evaluate my options.
MailChimp is a good option for sending out newsletters. You can feed it with RSS. It’s a set-and-forget thing.
I tried running my own linkblog on WordPress.com in 2014. It ran about four months. I found I was getting virtually all my traffic and comments from social media. Virtually all of it. So I decided it was silly to have that extra step and just went back to linkblogging on Google+ as I have been.
I’d love it if I could have the best of both worlds — interactivity of social media combined with ownership and customizability of a blog. I’d love it if Twitter opened up its 140-character limit so I didn’t have to maintain two link streams — one for everywhere else, and one for Twitter. I wanted a pony for my eighth birthday — didn’t get that either.
P.S. on the title of this post I’m seeing there are supposedly four comments, but I’m not seeing any of them.
P.P.S. I posted this to Google+ as well.
Only seeing my own comment here.
Just came back to correct a very minor point: The developer of Friends+Me is in the Czech Republic.
Hey, Mitch, thanks for the thoughts. I should look at Google+ again. I worry though that investing any effort in it could be a waste since Google seems less and less interested in the project and one of these years I’m guessing they’re just going to turn it off (like they did Google Reader, RIP).
The comment count discrepancy, in a nutshell: I’m using Bridgy and other IndieWeb tools to feed comments and mentions on Twitter back to this site, but they come in in the form of trackbacks, and right now trackbacks aren’t displaying. I need to sort all this out and haven’t had time. It’s on my list…
Scott, there is an extraordinary amount of FUD out there about Google+. The Silicon Valley tech press has latched on to a narrative that Google+ is dead, and will not deviate from it, despite overwhelming evidence to the contrary (and only one significant piece of evidence in its favor — more on that momentarily).
Google+ is continuing to see upgrades. It gets major feature upgrades a few times a year, and minor updates a few times a month. That tells me that Google+ is continuing to invest in it.
Google initially saw Google+ as the new focus of the company, and as a Facebook killer. Google now seems content to run the service as a niche. Much of what the SV press sees as Google killing Google+ is simply transforming the service to meet its new mission, chiefly decoupling other Google services from requiring a Google+ account.
That said, it makes sense for someone to decide to avoid Google+. We can’t all pay attention to all the services that are out there. I don’t do anything on Pinterest or Instagram, for example.
Now here’s the one piece of evidence that makes me raise an eyebrow at the future of Google+: When Sundar Pinchai issued a recent statement about the Apple/FBI imbroglio, he did it on Twitter, not Google+. That seems to me to be kind of a big deal.
I’m constantly leaving myself open to options, both because of the technical shortcomings of G+ and because nothing lasts forever. .