Blog Subscribers, Commenters, Lurkers & Passers-By

Bill CammackI had a conversation a few days ago with a friend who asked me what I thought about blogging / podcasting / creating video content, specifically as it pertains to viewership and even more specifically as it pertains to NUMBERS of viewers for content we post to the internet. Continue reading “Blog Subscribers, Commenters, Lurkers & Passers-By”

Influence and Numbers

Bill CammackThe Emperor wears no clothes.

Here’s how fads occur..

Someone does something that other people agree is a good or stylish thing to do and then everyone copies that person.

Eventually, all the guys want to buy the same car and all the gals want to buy the same boots and sunglasses and nobody realizes they’re all following one person’s idea.

One of the social media fads has been to incorrectly categorize the credit people deserve for how large their social network is.

People who are merely information-passers are being said to have influence. Continue reading “Influence and Numbers”

Disposable Pleasures vs Meaningful Pursuits

Last week, I was discussing the dating scene in New York City with my friend Ilana Arazie does a fun and interesting video blog about dating called “Downtown Diaries”.

I realized after that conversation that I haven’t gone far enough in-depth with my “numbers” theory… about the difference that it makes for a guy to be surrounded by literally MILLIONS of women vs living in the sticks, where you don’t have a lot of women to begin with, they get married earlier, stay married and nobody wants to move there for business opportunities or visit there as a tourist.

This exchange from a James Bond movie reminded me of the clarification that I wanted to make:

Vesper Lynd: Now… Having just met you, I wouldn’t go as far as calling you a cold-hearted bastard
James Bond: No… Of course not…
Vesper Lynd: But it wouldn’t be a stretch to imagine.. You see women as disposable pleasures rather than meaningful pursuits.
~Casino Royale

Now, I’m not comparing The Kid to James Bond AT.ALL, but I felt that line was pertinent because I’ve said stuff like “Women have no leverage in this town, because they’re expendable merely by available numbers”. Without context, that can appear to be a “use it and lose it”, “hit it and quit it” or “love ’em & leave ’em” type statement as opposed to an honest explanation of why tactics that work for women in other parts of the country don’t work here.

The point I really wanted to make (except it’s so OBVIOUS to me that I couldn’t grasp it to express it in print) is that here in New York City, instead of trying to CHANGE A WOMAN, it’s much easier to CHANGE WOMEN. πŸ˜€ Just switch. If you detect an incompatibility, stop spending time with that chick and get a new one to fill her slot. Or, if you were already “dating” several chicks, distribute her time amongst the rest of them. This is why women don’t have any leverage. There are too many lonely women wandering aimlessly around this town with nothing to do with their lives except go to work. They’re just as attractive as you are. Just as intelligent as you are. Make the same amount of money that you do. Dress as well as you do. They’re just as sexy & sensual as you are….. BUT! πŸ˜€ …

You think you should date for a bunch of weeks before messing with a guy and she’s down with it right now
You want to get engaged or married and she doesn’t care or at least doesn’t bring it up
You want him to get a job and she’s willing to feed him and buy him clothes
You don’t want to cook, and she enjoys cooking for her man
You want him to come to the opera with you and she likes sitting with him watching football on Sundays

So that’s the problem for women in NYC. There’s no reason to barter with you. No reason to compromise with you. No reason to succumb to sexual embargo tactics. No reason to “escalate” any form of relationship with you. New York City attracts the top women in the world for career, business or tourism. You’re not surrounded by a bunch of lesser women, like if you were the valedictorian in the sticks. If your “relationship” hits an impasse, it’s easier to drop it and get a new chick than to “work it out”.

Meanwhile, the exact same thing is going on for women with men. There are so many men in NYC that there’s no reason for a woman to commit to one that she doesn’t think is really GREAT for her. This naturally leads to women being single more often than they’re “in a relationship” because they’re busy being choosy. Even the ones who claim to be “seeing someone” are only in the stages of DECIDING whether they want to stay with that guy. Well… that, or she was LYING so you’d stop trying to get some from her. πŸ˜€

The reason this doesn’t work out evenly is that men and women don’t date evenly. Women like to date guys better than them, while guys like to date women they’re attracted to. When was the last time you heard a guy say “She’s really HOT, but she doesn’t make enough money for me to date her”? That’s right. Never. Meanwhile, the women who came to NYC to make moves and build careers and have “the finer things in life” are looking for guys on their level or better. How many male executives date secretaries levels below them? Like he’s the boss of the boss of HER boss? When was the last time you heard of a female executive “dating down”? That’s right. Never. If you do, it’s a big scandal hahaha πŸ˜€ So, the better a woman does for herself, if she follows what society tells her to do, the smaller her potential dating pool is. Meanwhile, the better a GUY does for himself, the LARGER his potential dating pool is.

Because there’s so much choice on both sides, women tend to have a lot of BRIEF relationships in NYC. Now they’re dating someone, now they’re single. Poof. Just like that. Every day, someone’s updating their Facebook status to single or “it’s complicated” or “in a relationship”. That means that every day, the playing field changes. Women that were formerly “unavailable” have now become available. Women that were previously “spoken for” are now free agents. This happens all the time. There’s no reason to believe that because a chick’s dating someone right now, they won’t be back in the dating population a few months from now.

This is why New York City is the quintessential smorgasbord when it comes to women. There are more women of all different sizes, shapes, types, colors, backgrounds, religions, ideologies, whatever than a guy can possibly process in a single day… Meaning you meet women here faster than you can determine that the woman you met just before isn’t the best one for you. This has nothing to do with lack of discipline or morals and has everything to do with abundance of opportunity and selection. It has nothing to do with being greedy or wanting to try out every attractive woman in sight and has everything to do with the fact that as fantastic as a woman might be, there’s another woman on the next block or in the next neighborhood or office building that’s JUST AS FANTASTIC, but WITHOUT the character flaw that a guy would either have to live with or fix if he were dating the same woman in the sticks.

Actually, the best advice I have for women trying to corral a guy in NYC is to make sure they’re dating someone that’s not FROM NYC. πŸ˜€ Just because a guy lives here now doesn’t mean that this culture of opportunity’s permeated his thought processes yet. Find a guy that just moved here and get in good with him before he realizes where he is! πŸ˜€

Are there a bunch of guys that see women as disposable pleasures? Sure. But that’s completely different from knowing a bunch of fantastic women and having no reason to choose between any of them. It looks the same, but the former is the state of being disconnected and a user while the latter is having highly-valued connections with worthwhile women and the self-awareness that the only way you would choose ONE of them… is if you were willing to trade in ALL the rest of them…

~Bill

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Delusions of Grandeur : Stats

This season of my video show/stream/whatever is entitled “Delusions of Grandeur”, basically because the only way I could swindle myself into doing it was to pretend that I had an audience. I already know everything I’m typing, and I’ve already seen everything that I post as a video, so the only reason to post them is for other people to see/read them, for whatever reasons they might have.

The problem with this is that since the audience isn’t real, I do whatever I feel like doing. If I feel like playing guitar, I do that. If I feel like talking to myself, I do that. If I feel like making a 15-minute documentary about Harlem, I do that.


The Harlem Renaissance 5-Mile Classic

Because of this, there are lots of different reasons that people visit my site. They visit from all over the planet, but they basically arrive through a Google search. Maybe a couple of times a day, someone’s actually looking for me (or someone named Bill Cammack), but the vast majority of the time, people are looking for ONE INSTANCE of a topic that they were thinking about at the time and decided to look up on google, like Dating women in NYC and they end up here.

I know this because web sites compile stats (statistics). People go to major lengths to compile and analyze statistics in order to determine what’s working for them, what’s not working and what they want to do next or differently, going forward. There are some major problems with “analyzing stats”, however… rather… I *should* say that if you’re not sure what you’re looking at, you’re going to have a skewed view of your readership/viewership… AND… Even if you *DO* know what you’re looking at, you’re still not receiving information which accurately depicts what’s really happening with your media.

Originally, I thought stats were the answer to DoG, because you would be sure about the size of your audience. Unfortunately, stats are merely general indications of possibilities… not even PROBABILITIES in case you decide to post something similar in the future.

Stats are like getting hit in the side of the head with a tomato.

If you’ve ever tried to hit someone walking down the street with a tomato, you know what I mean. It’s hard as hell, right? πŸ˜€ Wind conditions… Judging how far they’re going to travel in the time it takes the tomato (or egg, if it’s Halloween) to cross the street… Anyway… The point is that when you post stuff to the internet, you’re walking down the street. People are on the other side of the street, throwing tomatoes at you, except you don’t know it because they never hit you. As long as it doesn’t pass your head close enough to make that sound or smash on the gate next to you, letting you know what time it is, you’re going to keep walking down the street like nothing’s happening.

When you make a post, it’s the same way. Unless you see stats or receive feedback from people, it feels like nobody’s throwing tomatoes at you. Thus, DoG is the remedy for inertia in that you imagine a bunch of tomato-throwers. MEANWHILE, depending on how you monitor your statistics, you’re actually missing A LOT OF PEOPLE that *did* hit you.

For example, Tyme White informed me that since I had been separating sections of my entries using the “more” tag, people with feed readers were only receiving the information up to that “more”, and unless they clicked through to my site, they couldn’t read the rest of the post. I removed my “more” tags, because I’d rather have people able to read what they want however they want than have them skip the rest of the article because they didn’t feel like accessing my site… or maybe they COULDN’T access my site, because they pre-loaded their readers and don’t currently have fast internet access or any internet access at all.

Liz Burr informed me that I could use FeedBurner to catch my audience’s feed reader stats. I wasn’t interested in going that route, because I used feedburner for my video blog for well over a year, and although it’s good to see which videos of yours are going out so that you can spot trends or popular videos that you’ve done, there’s something really important that it doesn’t tell you…..

WHO! IT! IS! :/

This is why your stats are a tomato to the SIDE of your head. When you get hit with it, you STILL don’t know who threw it! πŸ˜€

When I used to monitor my iTunes feed with feedburner, if I saw that in one day, 100 of my videos were downloaded once each, I knew I had a new subscriber. I didn’t know WHO that person was, AT. ALL. Therefore, I’m content with my current stats setup as an indication of trends of random people, and I’m not interested in even MORE stats of people who read my posts although I have no clue who they are.

IME, the net is immensely asynchronous and voyeuristic. I’m ‘guilty’ of the same thing. I don’t leave comments on EVERY video I watch or blog post I read. The environment only makes DoG worse, because in one’s own mind, your audience expands and contracts depending on how you feel about what you’re doing. If you feel like nobody’s watching… They aren’t. If you feel like Everybody’s Looking At Youuuuuu….. They Are! Ultimately, there’s no reality at all. It’s just you… floating messages in bottles….

I had a couple of experiences recently that made me want to ‘talk’ about stats. The other day, I was hanging out with a friend of mine, and I went to get out my iPod Nano (which I won in the NewTeeVee Pier Screenings game show audience survey contest. Thanks, Om & crew! :D) to show her this video I had done, and before I even got it out of my pocket, she was like “oh. I saw that.”…. :/ ….. This is always a shocking experience, because I don’t actually HAVE DoG. If I did, I would have assumed that she and everyone else with a computer had watched/read my material. It’s one of the few surprising things in life… finding out that someone knows more than I thought they did. πŸ™‚

This is where I internalized one of the useless aspects of stats… for me, at least… What good does it do me to know that three people in Australia and two in the UK watched my video if it doesn’t help me to understand that my friend I’m hanging out with right now has already watched my video? I’ve had this happen to me lots of times. Most recently, I got in a car with my cousin who had some very interesting things to say about my Fame post. This was ANOTHER shocking experience, because I wasn’t aware that she even knew that I text blogged at all. It took me a while to get up to speed on that conversation, because I totally wasn’t prepared to discuss an aspect of my existence that I didn’t know she knew about… much less that she had thought about at all OR would have had any opinions about it she felt like expressing to me. πŸ˜€

The other interesting ‘stats experience’ was reading Mike Hudack‘s post on the blip.tv blog called “On Stats”. 99% of the videos on my site are served from blip.tv, so I found the first paragraph very interesting:

ThereÒ€ℒs been a lot of discussion over the last few days about how video sites count viewership. This is an extremely important and constructive conversation to have. In general, blip is one of the most conservative video sites on the Web in counting viewership. We only count one view per IP address per session and we have a number of very stringent controls in place to prevent gaming viewership numbers, whether that gaming is intentional or not. We believe that itÒ€ℒs in our interests Ò€” and in the interests of the overall Web video industry Ò€” that we be conservative in measuring viewership. Failing to be conservative invites a backlash from advertisers, investors and content creators as they realize that they canÒ€ℒt trust viewership metrics offered by major Web video platforms. We donÒ€ℒt want to invite such a backlash. We want to be conservative from the outset.

Let’s say an IP address is the “name” of your modem that connects to the internet. If I understood the statement about the counting of blip.tv video views correctly, that means that if you watch a video of mine, then you play it again, it only counts as one view. It will also count as one view if your roommate watches it from the same internet connection. Similarly, if you tell your whole office to watch it and they’re all accessing the same router, they all count as hits from the same IP address. I’ll have to find out how long a “session” lasts, and like I said, I’m not sure I have the exact understanding of how blip handles the count. However, this makes sense, because it stops people from doing the old YouTube trick of refreshing their videos over and over and making themselves look popular & talented when they’re not.

The point for me, as a content creator, is that before I read this, I thought the count was the count. I was actually subtracting numbers of views from my videos. This video, for instance, currently has 315 views:


How NOT To Do Internet Video

Now… Besides the fact that I know more people than that saw this particular video because Kfir Pravda showed it at a conference he was speaking at in Israel, I would have assumed that maybe 200 people watched the video and the other 115 were re-runs. Of course, this doesn’t take into account situations like people downloading my videos and showing them to people on their computers or iPods, as I was attempting to do when my friend informed me she had already seen it.

You see how, again, in the realm of video, there’s the exact same “over/under” as there is in text blogging. Almost simultaneously, you feel like the numbers you’re seeing underrepresent your viewership AND overrepresent it.

Also, like I mentioned before, the numbers are useless anyway, unless you’re trying to sell a show, get sponsorship for a show or make money through revenue-sharing. Even if the stats tell me that a video of mine was watched 60 times from IP addresses in NYC, there are MILLIONS OF PEOPLE THAT LIVE HEEEEEERE!!! πŸ˜€ On top of that, according to Facebook, I have 271 friends in the New York, NY area. So, if I assume (ridiculously) that only people that have heard of me before are watching my videos, and not a single “random”, I still only have about a 1 in 4 chance of guessing who those 60 are. πŸ™‚

The obvious solution here is to fuhgeddabouddit! Forget about stats altogether. They’re making DoG worse instead of better. More confusing instead of less so. The point of DoG in the first place was to kick-start my creativity process and answer the question “Why should I do something, film it and post it… instead of just doing it and enjoying it for myself?”

The answer, strangely enough, isn’t in the stats or the crowds. It’s not even in the audience of ten.

It’s in the One….

Will Your Show Scale?

I’ve been planning on doing a few different shows for quite a while now. Just about everything is in perfect position… however, before going forward, there’s an important consideration… scaling.

My friend Tyme White is always yakking about scaling. “How does it SCALE?” “That’s not going to SCALE!” blah blah blah blah blah…… Unfortunately (fortunately?) she’s right IF you’re looking at your show being a success from when you’re still in the early planning stages.

The way I’m going to define scaling for the purpose of this article is the ability to grow your show, social site, whatever. Just GROW it. Increase your membership. Increase your viewership. Improve your google rank. Get more people interested. Receive more UGC (User-Generated Content). Get more page hits…..

The reason scaling is important… Rather, the reason that YOU should consider your project’s ability to scale is that you might be broadcasting to a niche market. Let’s say, for instance, you want to make a show about DiY Clothing (DiY = Do it Yourself). There are only going to be a certain number of people interested in making their own clothing. A segment of that population watches videos on the internet. A segment of that population will be aware of your show. A segment of THAT population will like your show and recommend it to other people and/or come back and watch it again. A segment of THAT population will become ‘passionate’ about your show and become your core fans.


Threadbanger.com => Rob & Corinne, Justin & Marissa
That’s great for a start, but once you have an audience, what do you do next? How do you get MORE audience? Can you get more? ARE THERE any more people that don’t know about your show already that might be interested? How can you find them? How can you get them interested? What can you change about or add to your show that will reel in an entirely new set of passionate, core fans?

I remember when I became aware of / fascinated by the concept of scaling. I was hanging out in Bed, Bath & Beyond…. I know, I know. It wasn’t my fault. Blame it on Dan McVicar. :/

Bill Cammack & Dan McVicar
Bill & Dan

Anyway… I’m hanging out by the checkout line, and there’s this endless stream of people slowly making their way to the register to pay. So I start imagining how many people are passing me, and it occurs to me that it’s A LOT! πŸ˜€ Then it occurs to me that more people passed me in the last 5 minutes than the total number that subscribe to my show in iTunes. :/ THEN, it occurs to me that if I stood there all day, the number of people that passed me would be greater than the number of people that subscribe to many popular, established internet shows. What I took away from that contemplation was that even if you’re considered popular within your own space or echo chamber, there are still more people to reach…. A LOT more people.

One of the most successful internet video shows that I’m aware of is Rocketboom. In 2006, each daily episode was being downloaded ~300,000 times. Even with numbers like that, comparisons were being made to cable television shows, not network shows, which count their viewers by millions. Recently, this show called “Quarterlife” got booed off the stage for ‘only’ pulling in 3,860,000 viewers on NBC… Obviously more than ten times the daily Rocketboom viewership.

Of course, none of this means anything to people that are expressing themselves by putting video on the internet and have no interest in numbers, stats, revenue-sharing, sponsorships, etc. For those that do care, and whose show’s future may very well depend on scaling, it’s important to consider the “what if?” of potential success.

Actually, before you figure out whether your show is scalable, you need to figure out if your show is SUSTAINABLE, which is an entirely different issue. For the most part, there are no “seasons” in internet-show-biz. It’s a new week… You need a new show. Period. Whatever your cycle is… daily, weekly, monthly… you need to come up with a concept that you can produce consistently and deliver on a regular basis. If you can’t do that, scaling’s useless because your viewers will drift away due to lack of output on your part.

So, do like Tyme does… “Ask NOT, Will it Blend?… but Will it SCALE?”