I 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”
Street Game Production Notes
I just completed a 5-part audio project entitled “Street Game”. The episodes are embedded here, in chronological order. Playing Episode 01 will play all five in order:
Frank, one of my top commenters on my DatingGenius dating blog was the inspiration for this particular project. I rarely find comments amusing, funny or progressive compared to what I personally know about “the game” (getting girls, whatever), but I found myself consistently laughing, learning and THINKING after I would read Frank’s comments on my blog posts. I was reminded of back in the day when my friends and I would spend hour upon hour kickin’ it about what we learned in the trenches with chicks, coming up with new techniques and throwing out techniques that TOTALLY didn’t produce for us! 😀 I wanted to bring the flavor of that to the net, and I got way more than I expected. Continue reading ““Street Game” Production Notes”
Listen / Download => Street Game 02: Female Players vs Male Players (.mp3) [13:43]
More Episodes: http://billcammack.com/category/datinggenius/streetgame/
Listen / Download => Street Game 01: Denial & Experience (.mp3) [7:32]
Please leave comments/questions/suggestions below in the comments section of this post. This is an evolving project, so your opinion might help us make a better show! 😀
Part 01 of a multi-part episode…..
More Episodes: http://billcammack.com/category/datinggenius/streetgame/
Those of you who are regular readers already know who “Frank” is, haha. He and I recorded an audio podcast this evening that I’ll be editing into episodes for release here in the DatingGenius blog under the show name & category “Street Game”.
The first few episodes are already recorded, but we’re going to be looking for feedback and reader questions, comments and perhaps call-in participation, depending on how the project goes, so stay tuned!
I’ve actually shunned the audio medium, opting to use either text or video. I now see certain advantages to using just audio, such as people being able to listen to the show on more players than they could see videos on and not needing to look at the show while it’s going on, so they can play it in the background while they have other windows open on their browsers or whatever.
Thanks to Frank for jumpin’ in on this experiment with me. For those of you interested in technical information, I used skype, and Frank was on his phone. I’m not sure what direction “Street Game” will go in, but that’s part of the fun. Right now, I’m thinking it’s going to be a daily show. It might be better weekly. We’ll find out.
Anyway… I know we had fireworks yesterday… Get ready for SOME MORE! 😀 hahahaha
For some reason, they’re still outputting SXSW podcasts. This morning, I listened to one that was released four days ago, entitled “Logos: Why They’re Irrelevant and Can Actually Hurt Your Business”. I thought it was an odd and wacky title for a panel discussion, so I decided to check it out. I also wanted to see if what they had to say had any relevance to my personal involvement with logos, or the lack thereof.
I thought the presenters made valid points, especially when it comes to startups and not already-established companies. If nobody knows you, your company or what you or your company does, there’s no need to spend a lot of time on a logo. What does your logo symbolize? Nothing. Because you don’t have any ‘cred’ yet. Let’s say you’re selling soap. You have no track record, so nobody’s going to be looking for your logo as a symbol of excellence. You can put your box on the shelf next to already-established brands as well as generic store soap, and your logo won’t help you sell your soap AT.ALL. Once you get down the line and you’ve established yourself, people might recognize your logo and pull your box off of the shelf as a preference over other brands.
Another problem occurs if your company changes focus AFTER creating a logo. If your logo is a boot and then your company becomes a human search engine firm, that boot’s no longer relevant and either needs to be phased out (costing you more time and money) or worked around.
A third issue isn’t with the logo itself, but in how people access your site to begin with. How much good is your logo doing you if people are only spending SECONDS on your site at a time? Where is your logo placed? What size is it? What does it tell people about your business within that couple of seconds? What do people really look at during that time? Graphics? Text of the information they were searching for?
There were more good points and the audience brought up counter-points, but again, the logos they referenced were of already-established companies, like Dell. Dell already has a track record, so seeing a symbol of theirs might prompt you to pull their item off of the shelf. If it had been a logo for the “Mr. Startup Computer”, it’s not going to mean anything without a track record.
After I listened to this hour-long discussion, I thought about my own experiences in “the space”.
When I started ReelSolid.TV on May 27th, 2006, it was after quite a few discussions with several people whose opinions I valued. I had hours of discussions about focus, the types of videos, transparency… everything that we could think of that it would have meant to take what I already do for broadcast and corporate clients and put it on the net.
I decided that I wanted to do a ‘station’ or a ‘channel’ instead of doing Bill Cammack Televison or the Bill Cammack Show, because I didn’t intend to stick with ReelSolid.TV exclusively, and it didn’t make sense to me to hand off a show with my name on it to other people to produce and edit. Once I had the name, though, I felt like I needed a logo. I had made something with a physical film reel, and we kicked around the idea of using a rock, as in “solid like a rock”. For some reason, as important as I felt a logo was at the time, I didn’t have time to wait to figure that out and started doing my videos without an actual logo, yet with a specific font I liked to use for my opens and closes.
I also had ReelSolid.TV burned into my videos. I figured out pretty early on, thanks to the videoblogging group that people like to rip RSS feeds and act like you uploaded your work to their site. So the way I see it is “Take it all you want. It still has my name on it. Thanks for the free publicity. :)”
So I put in work as “ReelSolid.TV” without a logo, figuring I’d get around to it at some point. On April 01, 2007, I met Cruxy.com‘s Nathan Freitas. We exchanged names, which neither of us recognized. I had never heard of Cruxy.com either. When I told Nate I did ReelSolid.TV, he was like “OH! I’ve seen your show…” and brought up a video that I had done in December 2006 about men’s suits @ Phil’s 1908 here in Manhattan:
I had remembered that someone had given me props for the video and I had thanked them for it on a forum. When I got home and checked… lo and behold, it had been Nate I had electronically communicated with ~4 months ago, but since it was text-based, with no images attached, I didn’t know WHO it was that I was interacting with.
More importantly… Immediately upon noticing Nate’s different reaction to my actual name and the brand I had been building for 10 months at that point, I realized that whenever I decided to step out from behind ReelSolid.TV, I was going to be anonymous and basically would have to mention ReelSolid anytime I wanted someone to understand “who I was” and what I’ve done in the space. From that moment on, I switched my “brand” from ReelSolid.TV to BilCammack.com and recently, to “Bill Cammack”.
What that has to do with logos is that if I had attached one to ReelSolid.TV like I intended to from the beginning, now, I would have been Bill Cammack with the logo of a rock. 😀 booooo hissssss. On top of that, Nate might not have recognized ReelSolid.TV as a brand if my logo had been, say, a rock with “R S” behind it. It would have been another level of abstraction that I would have had to climb out from under if I wanted my propers for my accomplishments.
Ultimately, what ended up working for me was leaving out logos altogether. I saw that people were already ‘confused’ as far as what a ReelSolid.TV production meant. In my particular case, it’s in my best interest for people to know the name of the person involved with the production. That way, they can google me and I maintain my position for “Bill” behind Gates & Clinton.
Having said that… I *did* end up using a logo of sorts. I use twitter by the website because I parse entries visually. I can tell by scrolling which icons represent entries I need to stop and read and which I don’t. I found myself getting thrown off when people changed their icons. 🙂 I would stop to read something, then realize it’s someone I’m not reading, memorize their icon and keep rolling. Also, on other social sites, I would realize that people were using different icons for themselves and, let’s call it “diluting their visual brand”. I decided that unless I had a strategic reason not to, I was going to use the same icon when I joined social sites.
So, similar to how my name became my brand name, my picture became my brand logo. This has had the interesting effect of people recognizing me the first time I meet them, but not being sure where they saw me before. It’s also had the effect of my friend Sean Bohan ‘complaining’ that every time he goes to some site, I have a presence there. 😀
As far as this website, most of the hits I get are from people searching for specific information. Just like the panel stated, people dip into my site and dip right back out. 🙂 There’s like a 20% chance that they’ll go to a second page and about a 0% chance that they’ll go to a third page. 😀 So a logo has nothing to do with my website. People either show up here and know whose site it is, or they don’t know and they don’t care. Mostly, it’s people that are searching for answers to their questions that they find on google and aren’t coming to personally socialize with the site owner, so I haven’t bothered to use my uniform icon/logo for this site.
So, did I agree with the panel? Yes. Other than “Target”, which is really simple, I can’t recall a logo for Flickr, Facebook, MySpace, Ning… I know the icon for iTunes… Basically, I don’t pay attention to logos at all. I think that until your business is in the position of demonstrating value to your potential clients, a logo does nothing for you as it represents nothing at all. When you ARE generating added value, I think you STILL want to consider whether you want to dilute people’s understanding of who it is that’s really making things happen, especially if you’re doing everything yourself.
Like they said on the panel, time is money. Time wasted creating a meaningless (to consumers/clients) logo would be better spent on improving the technical aspects of your app/product/site or decreasing the amount of time before your launch. If you HAVE to have a logo, make something decent-looking and QUICK or pay a student a few dollars to spend THEIR time creating something for you. Most likely, potential clients will respond more favorably to a solid app without a fancy logo than they will to an app that looks nice, but has a spotty performance record due to misallocation of development time.
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
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 & 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! 😀 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.
Raymond M. Kristiansen wrote a post on January 11, 2007 entitled “The Audience of Ten”. He also made a post with the same name to the Yahoo Videoblogging Group. They’re both good an interesting reads if you’re planning to do a “show” on the internet.
Basically, Raymond was making a distinction between having a few viewers and having many viewers. I understood TECHNICALLY, what he was talking about, but I didn’t have any IRL experience that would have made me really empathize with his points. His focus was on the HOW and WHY of doing a show being based on WHOM you were doing the show FOR.
I’ve kept Raymond’s concept in mind over the more-than-a-year since I read it. In the last month, I’ve had reason to revisit the concept to attempt to determine the “sweet spot” of “Audience”, as it pertains to me, personally.
My third and most recent “season” of ReelSolid.TV, my interenet video show, is entitled “Delusions of Grandeur”. This isn’t a personal statement, even though everyone that actually knows me IRL will tell you that DoG fits *me* PERFECTLY! 😀 The reason for the title is that as I contemplated WHY I would do a show, the reason is for the audience. I don’t have to do a show for ME, because I’m already living my own life. I already know what’s happening. I’m already getting laughs or education from what goes on around me. I’m enjoying NYC sights and sounds every day. So it’s not for me that I would make a show….. or, is it?……
Some people just enjoy being famous or internet famous. Some people enjoy being popular, even if they have to play themselves out to gain status/notoreity/fame/infamy. That’s of no interest to me, because I’ve always BEEN popular. I had a pivotal discussion with David Karp on June 10, 2007. I know what day it was because I shot this video:
As part of the discussion that day, David brought up the concept of “popularity”, and I insisted that that had nothing to do with my doing shows. At the same time, he sparked a question for me, which was “What’s the goal? Why do it?” which correlated with Raymond’s question “Who do you do it for?”
DoG is indicative of a cycle. In order to do an internet show, you have to delude yourself into the believe that someone, ANYONE is watching your show. Otherwise, by definition, there’s no point in putting you videos or audio or text ON the internet. It’s a beacon… A message in a bottle. You don’t know WHO’S going to get the message, but you’re hoping… BELIEVING that somebody will. So in order to do a show, you pre-fabricate your audience in your own mind, then you speak to that audience, and hopefully a REAL audience catches on to what you floated out there into the stratosphere.
Some people don’t have this problem. They just love to see/listen to themselves talk. 😀 That’s great for them, because they don’t need an audience. They just need to have a camera pointed at them to feel accomplished and happy with what they’re doing. More power to them! 😀
When I decided on DoG, I wasn’t thinking about Raymond’s “Audience of Ten”. I was thinking about the audience at large. I was thinking about the people that randomly land on my site because of google searches. I was thinking about the people that happen to be looking for a topic that I happen to have had something to say about and just dropped in. I was NOT thinking about “core viewers” or “passionate viewers”. I wrote “Are You A Tech Elitist?” from the standpoint of someone that was focusing on the non-core and recognized a deficiency in my own core relations. With more and more Twitter followers and more and more Facebook and LinkedIn contacts, my time was being spent managing the social media masses instead of relating to the core. This is what brought me back to Raymond’s concept.
When I returned, however, I wasn’t focusing on the numbers being the difference. I was focusing on RELATIONSHIPS being the difference. The perfect example for me is my iTunes feed.
I receive stats on how many times each of my videos is pulled through iTunes. That number has never been higher than 30 within, say, 3 hours of a video release, and it’s currently sitting around 6 within the first hour. iTunes doesn’t give you any feedback about WHO IT IS that’s downloading your videos. Another thing is that when people use iTunes, they can take your show with them on their iPods or iPhones, so all you understand as the content creator is that there was one download of your video. That doesn’t mean that that person didn’t watch it 18 times and show it to their friends. So… In the mindset of focusing on the social media masses, I completely neglected my iTunes feed, meaning that as I redesigned BillCammack.com, mentally catalyzed by Tyme White, I broke my link from my video category to my iTunes feed and didn’t bother to check it because “in the grand scheme of things”, it was only 6 people anyway, right?
I received my wake-up call when my friend Adrienne Brawley asked me “So… what happened to your iTunes feed?”
All of a sudden…. And I mean *ALL* of a sudden, I completely, fully and POSITIVELY understood WHY I needed to fix my feed, and WAY MORE IMPORTANTLY, I recognized the sector of the audience that’s important TO ME when I make videos or write posts. I suddenly realized that amongst the random hits I receive from people looking for dating advice or footage of snow in Manhattan, NYC, I have a few, VERY IMPORTANT hits that I get that are from people that are ACTUALLY INTERESTED in what I’ve said or done now. Interestingly enough, DoG glosses this over, because you delude yourself into believing that lots of people care, which makes everyone like fans in a stadium. It’s the opposite of not seeing the forest for the trees. It’s not seeing the individuals for the crowd.
What it’s about for me certainly isn’t “popularity”, as I told David. Popularity’s useful for people that just want to be admired by a bunch of people they have no relationship to. It’s about having a good conversation IRL with Kenyatta about a blog post we both commented on. It’s about Tim saying he enjoys my work. It’s about Lux being able to rattle off DatingGenius concepts to new people that hang out with us because she’s watched me DEMOLISH people with the DG Live Show so many times already and people always come up with the same arguments. It’s about instigating-ass Annie throwing me under the bus every chance she gets. It’s about Charles laughing with me over something I said or did on the net. It’s about Grace shaking her head when I break down “the real” to her. 😀
So, finally, I understand Raymond’s concept, and I agree with it for the most part. As I do videos going forward, I’m going to do them for the audience that I know I have and that I enjoy receiving feedback from. I might do them for individuals or I might do them for groups. I am NOT going to be focusing outside of that, however I welcome anyone who finds anything interesting to watch, give feedback or join in the fun. 🙂