Archive for January, 2010

I’m doing my best to drift off to sleep.  But I can’t do it.  My mind is on a mission of some kind.  I haven’t figured out what kind of mission yet, but we have taken our first stop.  The thought that made me stop?  “What if I’m wrong?”

I’ve been doing my best to build calgarysocialmedia.com.  I’ve tried to follow the rules I’ve come to accept as the basis of a good website, and well… it’s just not flowing the way I want it to.  I started out with 5 categories that will make up the navigation, and I’ve been trying to develop and group content within each of those categories.  I’m trying to think about keeping information so it’s no more than 2 clicks away.  I thinking about what I want people to go to when they get to the homepage and attempting to anticipate where else they might want to go… and while I think this would still hold true for a static site, one where the content will not change all that frequently, the website is meant to evolve as rapidly as the subject matter.  And in such a case, a solid, well structured site just won’t do.  Or can you have structure and still have it evolve where it needs to go?  I’m not sure at this point, but all I can think is: “what if all of the fundamentals I thought were true of all good websites really aren’t?  What if I’m wrong?”

I was also thinking about how the web is evolving more as more people come to it.  And the more we interact with it, the more our natural processes are being integrated into what is being built (an idea courtesy of @julien who spoke at Third Tuesday Calgary yesterday).  I think that the standard, structured, static website is on its way out.  The more we want people to interact with our site and with us, the less structured our sites will be able to be.  It’s natural for us to jump from one topic to another.  It’s natural for us to have tangents and to roam.  Look at even how people surf the web.  It’s not done in predefined categories, visitors make up their own using search terms, or they follow the path of tweets from their favourite Twitter folk, or blog posts in their RSS feeds, or whatever happens to be at the top of Digg, or the current top view on YouTube.  Or do they?  What if I’m wrong there?

I’m not yet sure what to take of this first pit stop, but it seems I’m headed in the direction of rejigging what I think makes a good site.  I’m leaning more towards “website model” like a “business model”, there are different kinds for different purposes, I just need to do a bit more exploration on what website models are out there.  If you’ve come across any resources in your wanderings, or have any thoughts with regards to website models, I’d be appreciative if you could share them in the comments.  Also, what do you think still makes a good website?  And what if you’re wrong too?

When I first started out in the social media world, I read all of Chris Brogan’s blog posts.  I followed him on Twitter.  I commented and conversed when I had the guts to.  I took his opinion as true.  I didn’t have enough knowledge to disagree.  As I found other personalities to follow and discovered that there are many people that are just as smart as Chris, I read his posts less and theirs more.  But that’s just part of broadening our horizons.  The more we delve into a topic, the more sources we’re likely to start pulling from for a well rounded view.

Earlier last month, he posted something about the emotional attachment to data management.  As in, when we think we are simply clicking a button to clean up our connections, we don’t realize the emotional impact it has on the person we’re removing. He says:

I’d say that people who use social networks extensively (versus people trying to plumb the system for business purposes) would feel a little something, should they find themselves defriended.

It says you’re not important. It says you’re no longer relevant. It says you’re no longer entitled to a more intimate view and sharing. There are lots of potential combinations to feel when one is unfollowed or defriended.

People.  We’re talking on computers.  There are only so many hours in a day and so many people that fit into those hours with which to have quality conversations and build connections with.  How does someone unfriending you say you’re unimportant?  It’s a button on a computer that we’ve given too much social context and power to.  Now, if this is somebody whom you have repeated conversations with, that adds value to your day, and one day you “unfriend” them.  Yes, that says something.  That sends the message that they’re not important.

But somebody you never talk to?  Come on.  I don’t buy that.  We’ve all become a little too over sensitive to one another.  Don’t get me wrong… sensitivity has it’s place, people’s feelings should always be considered.. but really, if we didn’t make it an issue, or didn’t react when somebody decided they felt unimportant because you unfriended them, what would happen?  Nothing.  Life would continue.  That person would find other people to make them feel important and you would more meaningful connections because of it.

But then again, if it’s a childish attempt to take a stab at you and say “ha! I unfriended you before you could” followed by some snide remark in your status (we’re not longer talking about Chris’ post here), well… that’s just dumb and doesn’t deserve any attention anyway.

Who’s job is it to make me feel like a real person?  Is it yours?  I don’t think so.  That’s my job.  And if I’m not doing it well… then that just my tough luck, isn’t it?