Losing TouchI have been struggling on if I should write a blog post on the feeling I get that I am losing the deep connection I once had with the SEO industry. I know many of you might feel that even implying this, that you think I am crazy. But honestly, I use to know almost every little thing that was taking place in the industry that was public (and most non public) in nature.

As the industry grows, I have to take on more to be able to properly cover the growth of the industry. The more blogs I subscribe to, the more forum threads I need to read, the more stuff I need to write – leaves me with less time to “participate” in the industry I help document. Not participating as often as I like is sad. Heck, I don’t even have the time to reply to most the comments left here or at the Search Engine Roundtable.

So why am I writing about this now and not a week or two ago? Well – Louis Gray wrote a blog post named Bloggers’ Interactions With Readers Decrease With Prominence and showed this chart:

Blogging Stages of Interaction

I would not classify myself as an “industry legend,” I am extremely well read in the industry, but the only “legend” in this industry would likely be Danny Sullivan.

But I honestly feel like I just don’t have the time anymore to do be “in the communication,” like I once was. I now feel more like I am “reporting on the communication,” without always being a part of it. Well, I am a part of it, but not as much as I once was. In the past few weeks I have been trying to be more part of the communication and I will continue to do so.

Louis Gray documents what are “interactions:”

  • Allowing blog comments
  • Responding to blog comments
  • Commenting on FriendFeed about your blog
  • Tweeting links to your blog posts
  • Digging your blog
  • Stumbling your blog
  • Pimping your blog on others’ blogs

Okay, I am not that bad where I do not allow comments – I do. But I am not always good with responding to them. I try so hard to comment at FriendFeed but I rarely do, I do have it set up to auto post to FriendFeed (but most people do that). I automatically Tweet my blog posts, and I do Tweet a few times a day outside of that. I only Digg my blog posts when they come up on my reader (yes, I subscribe to a site command on Digg). I never use Stumble, never. I rarely “pimp” my blog to individuals.

What I think I have learned from Louis’s post is that I am currently a stage three blogger but I am just border line stage four. Louis says, “Two characteristics of Stage 3 bloggers also emerge: The sheer volume of readers makes keeping up with all of them impossible. A new kind of reader shows up, people who exhibit troll-like behavior.”

Am I at that point, sometimes I do feel that way. “It’s these two dynamics that cause some bloggers to head onto the next stage,” explains Louis. But I do not want to head to the next stage – I do not want to lose my connection with the industry. I want to communicate, participate and be like it was three years ago. But is that even possible these days with the volume of bloggers, forums and social networking sites/apps out there?

Is it that there is too much? Or just different methods of participation then in the past? Or maybe it is both. Or maybe I am just crazy and I am participating more then most people and I should not worry about it.

Website Comments

  1. Wife

    What about the ‘ I don’t spend as much time with the wife because I blog/ work all day and night’ post??? πŸ˜‰

  2. Winooski

    I think there comes a point for any participant in social media where they just naturally start prioritizing among the many “communities” they’ve been involved with. (We’re all growing and changing, right?) So I think it’s just a sign of maturity and discrimination that you take a step back and ask, “What should I do?”

    I’m not a blogger myself (unless you count Twitter & Plurk), so I don’t have to deal with that “gotta publish something” compulsion, but if I were in your situation, I might try to hand off the more newsy blog posts to someone else and start contributing more commentary and analysis.

    I mean, if tomorrow Google Trends starts offering this or that additional free metric, maybe there’s a more junior-level person in your organization (either your firm or Third Door Media) who could be the one to break that news, and you could keep working on your longer piece about how people should be distrustful of information that’s provided free, especially when you know for a fact that it doesn’t reflect the real stats you see for all your sites (I’m making that up…well, sort-of…but you get the idea).

    Maybe this post right here is the start of a new chapter for rustybrick, a thoughtful blogger– make that, a thoughtful *writer* who doesn’t have to just churn out post after rapid post, but instead offers his readers more value by sharing the benefits of his expertise and even-handed analysis.

    I say: Think quality, not quantity.

    (Not to imply that your posts are ever anything less than high-quality [:-)])

  3. Hutch Carpenter

    Barry – glad you liked the post. One small correction – I actually wrote that particular post. Louis was kind enough to let me guest post on his blog.

    As for losing your connection to the industry. Look to people like Fred Wilson and Louis Gray as examples. I don’t think any blogger should feel the need to connect with every reader. Just like connecting anywhere else – pick your spots, right?

  4. Leon Schwartz

    Makes all the sense in the world.
    As you become a “legend”, you can’t possibly keep up with everyone.
    That’s where delegation usually comes into play.

    But you’re not a very good delegator.
    And you certainly don’t want to delegate someone to speak with your wife or your father…..

  5. Marcus

    I vote for
    “I am just crazy and I am participating more then most people and I should not worry about it.”

    No worries Barry! I think itΒ΄s safe to say, that you give more to the online-marketing sphere then anyone else in this industry! You provide a valueable service – to sum it up: I would pay for your blogs πŸ™‚

  6. Charlie Anzman

    Barry – I think you know I’ve been following you for a long time. You’re a pretty transparent guy and it’s obvious how hard you work between SEO Roundtable, SEL, SMX, Rusty Brick, etc. I share your feeds on my shared feed because they’re reliable. The interesting part here, is that while some of the first people in SEO (I emphasize ‘some’) think they know it all, you are looking at the landscape AND being honest. Just take a slow look and watch for a while. Your reputation will keep you well above they fray for a long time … Now go take your wife to dinner πŸ™‚

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