Connecting With Fans Is About More Than Getting People To Pay Attention To You

from the a-connection-goes-beyond-first-access dept

When I first start talking about this whole CwF+RtB thing, I tended to focus more on the "RtB -- Reason to Buy" part of it, because I naturally assumed that was the big problem. After all, the big thing we kept hearing was how creative folks weren't able to make money any more. However, the more I've been discussing this with people, the more I realize that many, many folks out there have serious problems with the first part, the "connecting with fans," part. I recently got an email from an artist who seemed upset, saying that he was giving out all of his music for free, but fans weren't interested. Similarly, I recently got into a discussion in the comments with someone from a newspaper who insisted that I was wrong in saying news organizations need to better enable their community. His argument was that newspapers put up comments, just like we have at Techdirt, so they're doing the exact same thing as we are.

Both of these appear to be cases of cargo cult copying, where someone tries to copy just the superficial outwardly obvious aspects of what others are doing, without taking the time to understand (1) the deeper underlying reasons why they work for some or (2) recognizing how that might (or might not) apply to what you're doing yourself. Connecting with fans isn't about "oh just give away content for free," or "oh, put up some comment forms." It's about actually figuring out what your community wants, interacting with them, and giving them what they want. It's about actually participating in some manner.

I was thinking about all of this as I read an interesting blog post by Marcus Taylor, where he explains the process by which he became a fan of the singer Jason Mraz, who had that catchy hit single last summer that many of you probably heard. But just hearing a catchy hit song being played over and over again isn't enough to make someone a true fan. Taylor points out that it went way beyond that, and took him not just listening to much more of Mraz's music via various online offerings, but then coming across some interviews with Mraz, where his personality shines through. Taylor points out that it took some time, but he finally realized that he didn't just like Mraz's music, but he liked Mraz -- and that made the jump possible. From there he comes up with a short list of "ways to make fans fall in love with you":
  • Be yourself -- Most people despise a fake personality and can smell it a mile off, be your self and people will appreciate that.
  • Be transparent -- don't hide the fact that you're a small local band if that's what you are -- if you're honest and likeable then your fans will be more inclined to help you get to the next step.
  • Be professional but not too serious -- After all, life's too short for being too serious and worrying about everything, have fun but remain professional.
  • Leave breadcrumbs everywhere -- better yet, leave breadcrumbs that show off the points above and give your fans a good reason to love you. Remember not all fans react to the same mediums as strongly so keep producing images, videos, and text content to bait them.
Obviously, this doesn't apply for everyone, and there is no "magic formula" for figuring out the best way to connect with fans, but it's certainly about doing a lot more than tossing out some free content and a comment form and wondering why fans aren't rushing to you. You actually need to be a part of that process, and actually let your personality come through. Being human really counts for something, and it's a point that's ignored all too often.

Along those lines, this upcoming Tuesday, at the a2n conference in Berlin, I'll be leading a brainstorming session generating ideas for musicians to better connect with their fans.


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  1.  
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    Dark Helmet (profile), Sep 2nd, 2010 @ 7:11am

    Critical mass...

    While the formula is different on how to get there, isn't the key to the CwF thing to reach a point of critical mass, where the artist themselves is no longer doing the majority of the fan gathering? Obviously they have to keep the connection going, but I always thought the idea was to give reasons to fans to be interested enough to bring others in on their own....

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Sep 2nd, 2010 @ 7:19am

    think you meant "comment forums"

     

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    IronM@sk, Sep 2nd, 2010 @ 7:27am

    Re:

    Nope. Form is correct. I order to post this comment, I filled out a form and clicked submit.

     

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    fogbugzd (profile), Sep 2nd, 2010 @ 7:28am

    Like employee satisfaction

    In many ways CWF is a lot like what good managers know about employee satisfaction. Employees want to feel like they are being listened to, and that their opinions matter. They want to feel like the company sees them as more than an interchangeable cog on the wheel. Many studies have found that pay is a secondary factor in employee satisfaction if the employees feel connected to the employer.

    Like employees, fans want to feel like they are noticed. As an artist gets a lot of fans it is impossible to notice each one, but that isn't really necessary. What is necessary is for the fans to know that the artist is listening. Fans also want to know what is going on.

    Throwing out a comment section is sort of like the boss who puts up a suggestion box but then never pays any attention to the suggestions. Comment sections and suggestion boxes are only effective at CWF (or CWE, in this case) when they are part of a communication circle.

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Sep 2nd, 2010 @ 7:56am

    For me is just interacting with your fans through public means not private ones.

    Like TV reality shows.

    Or like the deodorant guy or was a soap guy I don't remember, was the one that responded to tweets on Youtube and created a frenzy. That is connecting with people.

    When you can't give what they want at least give them something to laugh about it.

     

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    Vidiot (profile), Sep 2nd, 2010 @ 8:02am

    Great advice

    Taylor's got it nailed. I saw this firsthand last month, when a random reference made me search out avant-garde cellist Zoe Keating (http://www.zoekeating.com); between her site, Twitter feed, other Google hits and some YouTube videos, I was completely connected... and it was the "crumbs" that did it. Her "pay-what-you-want" approach sealed the deal. Why is this so hard to understand for some?

     

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    coldbrew, Sep 2nd, 2010 @ 8:35am

    I hadn't read those comments. That's pretty funny. They were essentially trying to get free consulting by insulting TD. They are a stubborn bunch, and seem like they are above it all.

    Sort of O/T: Does anyone think Apple's new Ping network will allow music artists to connect better with their fans?

     

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    Regular Reader, Sep 2nd, 2010 @ 8:56am

    Techdirt Community

    I find it highly engaging that Mike may read and disagree with the people in comments to further evolve a point he's making. I also like knowing that he's probably reading my comment and if warranted, he would react to it.

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Sep 2nd, 2010 @ 9:08am

    Re: Techdirt Community

    I think that is the biggest issue especially with comment foms. Most forums out there, such as on newspaper's pages, are just not monitored at all. There is just people arguing. There is no moderation of them and the hosting party does not do anything to engage through them. As a result, they're sort of funny, but serve no real purpose.

     

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    Frances, Sep 2nd, 2010 @ 9:11am

    Fascinating but worthless

    It's fascinating to watch you work through this issue and think that you've discovered something new or different. Newspapers have been connecting with fans for a long time. They've nurtured voices, targeted demographics and built personalities whenever it was necessary or possible. The affections people have for the old brands and the printed editions are the only reason most newspaper are alive now and generating content for you to wrap your analysis around.

    The issue has nothing to do with being liked because that's a hurdle for everyone. If the customers don't like your product, they're not going to come back. No. The original debate was linked to a story about the power of copyright not whether someone can get a date to the prom.

    The debate was and is about economics. You can call it sharing and wrap some pretty utopian bow around the issue, but there's a long term problem when people can spend ten minutes mimicking someone else's week of work.

    Look at this story on BoingBoing:

    http://www.boingboing.net/2010/09/01/united-airlines-and.html

    Cory Doctorow doesn't even mention the Washington Post or the original author by name. Almost every salient detail is repeated, many in a huge block quote that is two times bigger than Doctorow's lines. If any schoolkid turned this in, they would be dinged for plagiarizing because there's no original work what-so-ever, but Doctorow probably thinks it was all fair use and he's just being a cool, Web 2.0 dude. And you'll probably start talking about how the Washington Post should worry more about being liked and the easiest way to do that is to just give everything away for free.

    When this is the ecosystem for news, everyone has an incentive to stop doing work and start plagiarizing. It's called the death of the commons.

    So quit dreaming that this is all about being charisma and recognize that the copyright debate is about ecology and economics. Sheesh.

     

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    Bryan Rosander (profile), Sep 2nd, 2010 @ 9:46am

    Some techniques I have liked from other people:
    Participate in a larger community. If you play music, play covers from artists in your community. Comment on their blogs. Recommend them to your fans. If a fan covers something of yours, makes fan art, reviews you, or references you, reward them by showing it to the rest of your fans.

    Agreed with the Anonymous Coward - Establish some consistent means of communication with your fans, especially an open one. If you have comments, respond when appropriate. While responding to every e-mail is admirable, it does very little to build up the community as a whole. Some people do post appropriate e-mails and respond publicly. Forums and comments are still better because community leaders can help answer questions and provide a connection to the artist.

     

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    Mike Masnick (profile), Sep 2nd, 2010 @ 10:10am

    Re: Fascinating but worthless

    It's fascinating to watch you work through this issue and think that you've discovered something new or different.

    I have never suggested that this is new or different in any way. In fact, I've said exactly the opposite. That this is quite old and standard. What I find interesting is how many people have so much trouble implementing it.

    Newspapers have been connecting with fans for a long time.

    If that were true, there wouldn't be a problem.

    They've nurtured voices, targeted demographics and built personalities whenever it was necessary or possible. The affections people have for the old brands and the printed editions are the only reason most newspaper are alive now and generating content for you to wrap your analysis around.

    Targeted demographics and building personalities are not what connecting fans is about. You're still thinking in market research terms, not human terms.

    The issue has nothing to do with being liked because that's a hurdle for everyone.

    Did you even read the post? It's not about being "liked."

    The debate was and is about economics. You can call it sharing and wrap some pretty utopian bow around the issue, but there's a long term problem when people can spend ten minutes mimicking someone else's week of work.

    Of course the debate is about economics. Why do you think I've spent so much time explaining basic economics to you? But what's amazing is you still don't seem to grasp the basic economics of supply and demand. Even in these two sentences, first you say it's about economics, and then you immediately show you fail to understand basic economics.

    If your newspaper loses its readers because someone else "mimics" your work, then you have not connected with fans, and you have not given people a reason to buy. It's your failure to understand the difference between the infinite and the scarce and how to set up your business that has led to your problems.

    Cory Doctorow doesn't even mention the Washington Post or the original author by name. Almost every salient detail is repeated, many in a huge block quote that is two times bigger than Doctorow's lines.

    And your problem with this is what, exactly? Be specific, because it seems like your problem is that someone didn't get credit.

    Doctorow probably thinks it was all fair use and he's just being a cool, Web 2.0 dude.

    I certainly don't want to speak for Cory, but my guess is that he doesn't think any of that. He thinks he's providing useful information for his community.

    And you'll probably start talking about how the Washington Post should worry more about being liked and the easiest way to do that is to just give everything away for free.

    Hmm. You didn't even read this post, did you? It's not about being "liked." It's about actually connecting. And, no, the "easiest" way to do that has nothing to do with giving away things for free. That's a give it away and pray strategy that I've said is not the best idea time and time again.

    But, honestly, I find it odd that your focus is on the "easiest" solution. You're looking for the short cut, and you're still not understanding what connecting with fans means.

    When this is the ecosystem for news, everyone has an incentive to stop doing work and start plagiarizing. It's called the death of the commons.

    If there were any evidence that this was true, you would have a point. But there is not.

    So quit dreaming that this is all about being charisma and recognize that the copyright debate is about ecology and economics. Sheesh.

    Of course it's about economics. And who said anything about "charisma." You're still looking at this from top down and it shows. You're not talking about "connecting," at all. You're talking about being liked, personality and charisma. That's not connecting, that's preening and demanding people act in the way you want them to act.

    An important rule in connecting with a community is that you can't control how the community acts.

    And, if we're going to talk economics, let's talk economics. And it needs to start with you understanding the basics of non-rivalrous, non-excludable goods and what they do to the rest of the market. Because so far, you don't seem to understand that point.

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Sep 2nd, 2010 @ 10:48am

    Re: Fascinating but worthless

    Where's Bob?

     

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    Suzanne Lainson (profile), Sep 2nd, 2010 @ 11:01am

    Customer management

    The challenge for anyone in the relationship building/management business is the time in takes to relate to the people who want your attention.

    If you have people emailing you, they would like a response. If you want to build an online community, you need one or more people monitoring conversations, injecting new content, making sure bullies don't drown out the discussions, etc.

    So the bigger your fan or customer base, the more staffers you need to hire to properly relate to your fans/customers without coming across as impersonal.

    There's an art to it and many musicians and many companies don't have it down. But yes, there is a business model out there for musicians, artists, writers, newspapers, etc., to listen and converse with the people coming to them. And it requires a certain personality type (e.g., social, empathetic, perhaps funny) that not everyone, including musicians, has. I would even go so far as to say that the personality is more important than the music. If you can relate to your fans and make them feel important, they'll gravitate to you even if your music isn't especially distinctive.

     

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    Suzanne Lainson (profile), Sep 2nd, 2010 @ 11:13am

    Re: Customer management

    "Stan," by Eminem is a powerful song because it captures the mentality of a fan who thinks that he and the singer can be friends. That's one of the challenges with fan management. Fans want that personal attention.

    Stan (song) - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia: "In the video, Stan is bleaching his hair to look like Eminem. Then his girlfriend (played by Dido) tells Stan that he is taking his affection for Eminem too far, making Stan furious because she called him Stanley. Then in the first verse, Stan is writing to Eminem for the third time, hoping his hero will write back. Rain and thunder can be heard in the background throughout, as well as the sound of the pencil scratching onto the letter. He explains the level of his devotion ('I got a room full of your posters and your pictures, man') and maintains that Eminem 'must not have got 'em', his previous two letters. In addition, the song 'Old World Disorder' is referenced as the 'underground shit that you did with Skam.' Stan also reveals that his girlfriend is pregnant, and that he is going to name his daughter Bonnie (a reference to Eminem's song ''97 Bonnie and Clyde' from The Slim Shady LP), and empathizes about the suicide of a family member ('I read about your Uncle Ronnie too I'm sorry/I had a friend kill himself over some bitch who didn't want him')."

     

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    Frances, Sep 2nd, 2010 @ 11:16am

    Re: Re: Fascinating but worthless

    Did you even read the post? It's not about being "liked."

    Yes, I did. Perhaps you forget this phrase, "Taylor points out that it took some time, but he finally realized that he didn't just like Mraz's music, but he liked Mraz..." Sheesh.

    If there were any evidence that this was true, you would have a point. But there is not. \

    I show you one typical example from BoingBoing, yet a few paragraphs later you say there's no evidence.

    And your problem with this is what, exactly? Be specific, because it seems like your problem is that someone didn't get credit.

    Shoot. I use the word "plagiarism" and you still don't get it. It's easy to pack your page with interesting stories when you don't need to pay for the legwork to actually report them. It's easy to spend your time on analysis when you can trust traditional newspapers to do the basic fact checking. In the case of BoingBoing, it's easy to fill your page with beautiful photographs when you don't pay the photographers anything. It's much easier to have something neat and interesting waiting for the reader when you spend 10 minutes on a story instead of 10 hours. The lack of credit for the Washington Post is just an extra insult.

     

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    Frances, Sep 2nd, 2010 @ 11:24am

    Re: Re: Fascinating but worthless

    If your newspaper loses its readers because someone else "mimics" your work, then you have not connected with fans, and you have not given people a reason to buy. It's your failure to understand the difference between the infinite and the scarce and how to set up your business that has led to your problems.

    Let's say that the "reason to buy" in this realm is really the reason for a person to go to a website because we're still giving away the news. (Not for long.)
    People go to a website for a number of reasons but one consistent reason that they turn to a news site is to learn something new. So that means if I go to plenty of trouble to gather something new and intriguing, I lose one of the "reasons to buy" when someone else copies the entire store as Doctorow did. Suddenly the reader doesn't see much difference between the Washington Post and BoingBoing because they both tell him essentially the same thing. They become equal.

    Now it's okay if some website becomes and equal when it's playing by the same rules. But a reporter at the Washington Post would be fired for doing what Doctorow did.

    Instead of talking about whether someone thinks you're cute enough to press the like button, we should be talking about the amount of legwork that goes into an article. My point remains that if we don't reward writers for doing the research, people will stop doing research.

    BTW, you come off like a fool when you keep talking about infinite goods and artificial scarcity. Salaries, health care and homes are not infinite. And we've already seen that there's not an infinite amount of news coming out of the Seattle Post-Intelligencer or the Rocky Mountain News. It may cost next to nothing to replicate news but it is very expensive to research it.

     

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    Mike Masnick (profile), Sep 2nd, 2010 @ 11:33am

    Re: Re: Re: Fascinating but worthless

    Yes, I did. Perhaps you forget this phrase, "Taylor points out that it took some time, but he finally realized that he didn't just like Mraz's music, but he liked Mraz..." Sheesh.

    Uh. Ok. Way to totally miss the point. No wonder whatever newspaper you work for is failing.

    I show you one typical example from BoingBoing, yet a few paragraphs later you say there's no evidence.


    No. You showed an example of what Boingboing did. You did not show how that caused the Washington Post to stop doing what it does -- which is what you claimed.

    Come on, do you really think people don't read what you wrote?

    Shoot. I use the word "plagiarism" and you still don't get it.

    No, I get the claim of plagiarism. But I'm asking you why that caused the Washington Post to stop doing what it does.

    Plagiarism and copyright infringement are two separate things, and you seem to want to shift back and forth between them constantly.

    t's easy to spend your time on analysis when you can trust traditional newspapers to do the basic fact checking. In the case of BoingBoing, it's easy to fill your page with beautiful photographs when you don't pay the photographers anything.

    Again, I'm not sure what your point is. You know damn well that WaPo and BB serve two different purposes, so I'm not sure what your complaint is.

    It's much easier to have something neat and interesting waiting for the reader when you spend 10 minutes on a story instead of 10 hours.

    And, again, I will point out that if Cory telling people about the key points in a story is enough to make WaPo go under, then WaPo is failing to do its job.

    I find it odd that you skipped over all of the stuff about connecting with fans. Telling.

     

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    greg.fenton (profile), Sep 2nd, 2010 @ 12:57pm

    Re: Re: Re: Fascinating but worthless

    Ask yourself this: why would people go to BoingBoing instead of WaPo to get an article/story/scoop that WaPo originated?

    What is it that BoingBoing is doing to attract users that WaPo is not doing? And no, "stealing content" is not the answer because they both have the content.

    If BoingBoing is being successful simply by "stealing" from others, then why doesn't WaPo become successful by "simply mimicking" BoingBoing?

     

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    Mike Masnick (profile), Sep 2nd, 2010 @ 1:01pm

    Re: Re: Re: Fascinating but worthless

    Let's say that the "reason to buy" in this realm is really the reason for a person to go to a website because we're still giving away the news. (Not for long.)

    That's not a reason to buy. A reason to buy is a reason for someone to give you money. You're confused again.

    People go to a website for a number of reasons but one consistent reason that they turn to a news site is to learn something new. So that means if I go to plenty of trouble to gather something new and intriguing, I lose one of the "reasons to buy" when someone else copies the entire store as Doctorow did.

    Your problem, again, is that you don't understand reasons to buy. They're *SCARCE* value. Things that people can't get elsewhere. The reason you're in trouble is your focusing on the things people can get elsewhere. That's the mistake we were warning you about.

    Suddenly the reader doesn't see much difference between the Washington Post and BoingBoing because they both tell him essentially the same thing. They become equal.

    Again, if the only reason people come to your site is for the info that can easily be replicated, you're doing it wrong. Seriously. I'm really trying to be helpful here. You're betting the farm on a false understanding of basic economics. That's really really bad.

    Seriously. And if some random blog can somehow destroy your entire business, why the hell aren't you beating them to it? Why not set up your own blog? After all, you did all the damn reporting, obviously you know it better than Cory does. So why not do it better?

    Now it's okay if some website becomes and equal when it's playing by the same rules.

    Wait, so because you are too clueless to put together a good blog that people are interested in, no one else should be able to? Holy crap.

    Instead of talking about whether someone thinks you're cute enough to press the like button

    Seriously. Why do you keep saying that? It makes you look like a total idiot which I'm assuming you're not. We're NOT talking about getting someone to click a "like" button. The whole freaking point of this article was that this is not just about getting someone's attention.

    we should be talking about the amount of legwork that goes into an article.

    Uh, yes. Lots of legwork goes into getting an article. We agree. That doesn't change anything, however.

    My point remains that if we don't reward writers for doing the research, people will stop doing research.

    See, but you're talking about two separate things here. Rewarding writers for doing research is something totally different than caring if Cory Doctorow writes a blog post about the article. Your inability to put together the most basic of business models should not be blamed on others giving you attention.

    BTW, you come off like a fool when you keep talking about infinite goods and artificial scarcity. Salaries, health care and homes are not infinite.

    Only one looking foolish here is you. I never claimed that salaries, health care or homes were infinite. Wherever did you get that idea?

    And we've already seen that there's not an infinite amount of news coming out of the Seattle Post-Intelligencer or the Rocky Mountain News. It may cost next to nothing to replicate news but it is very expensive to research it.

    Ugh. You can lead a horse to economics, but you can't make him think apparently.

    Yes, *creating* news reports is a scarcity. We've said that time and time again. Creating content is a scarcity. Why do you pretend we haven't? But once it's created, it's infinite, so you need to understand those basic economics in order to put in place a smarter business model.

     

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    greg.fenton (profile), Sep 2nd, 2010 @ 1:05pm

    Re: Customer management

    Suzanne, isn't the old way of doing business have the exact same problem? In order to get your music out there, you need to press vinyl, market, knock on DJs' doors (and grease their palms), etc... ?

    How is this "connect with fans" any different than in the past? The only real change here is that the moneys flow from slightly different channels, and the middlemen (those with the resources to press vinyl) have less power.

    So the promoters of the past need to change their ways. With digital technologies, artists (or their fans!) can cut into the promoters' business, so the promoters have to work harder to earn their keep. But the successful ones will leverage the efficiencies of technology to reduce their costs, increase their coverage and ultimately make more money.

    Artists today can be as involved or as removed as they would like. Does Annie Lennox really write her own Facebook updates? From the way I read them, I doubt it. Does David Byrne really write his own blog? I believe he does. Yet I follow both and feel connected. I certainly get more up-to-date information about their shows and new releases than I have in the past, because I sought them out via direct social channels rather than the days of the middlemen seeking me via broadband.

     

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    Suzanne Lainson (profile), Sep 2nd, 2010 @ 1:23pm

    Re: Re: Customer management

    How is this "connect with fans" any different than in the past?

    It isn't. And it isn't any different from Zappos.

    Most companies aren't all that good at customer management and most musicians won't be either.

    You'll do a good job with it if that is your priority and if you assign enough resources to deliver. Zappos isn't the cheapest place to get shoes (which is why I don't use them). But some people are willing to pay a premium for free shipping and good service.

    A local musician who plays cover songs but gives everyone who comes to the show a good time will have fans.

     

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    chris (profile), Sep 2nd, 2010 @ 1:37pm

    Re: Re:

    yes, but the forms help form a forum.

     

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    Dark Helmet (profile), Sep 2nd, 2010 @ 1:40pm

    Re: Re: Re:

    "yes, but the forms help form a forum."

    For, um, what purpose? For 'em to reply?

     

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    chris (profile), Sep 2nd, 2010 @ 1:45pm

    Re:

    Does anyone think Apple's new Ping network will allow music artists to connect better with their fans?

    it depends on who uses it. the value of a networks is based on the of the number of users:
    https://secure.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/en/wiki/Metcalfe%27s_law

    that is why facebook is what it is, and why other social networks fail or have value in strange places, like google's orkrut, which is largely unoccupied, except for brazil, where it is wildly popular.

     

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    Karl (profile), Sep 2nd, 2010 @ 1:55pm

    Re: Fascinating but worthless

    Hi, Frances.

    You know something interesting? The example that you cited, actually proves that you're mistaken:

    Look at this story on BoingBoing:

    http://www.boingboing.net/2010/09/01/united-airlines-and.html

    Cory Doctorow doesn't even mention the Washington Post or the original author by name.


    What he does is include the title of the WP article, including a link to the original story. That's the common practice when citing things on the internet.

    Almost every salient detail is repeated, many in a huge block quote that is two times bigger than Doctorow's lines. If any schoolkid turned this in, they would be dinged for plagiarizing because there's no original work what-so-ever

    Plagiarism would not apply here. Doctorow did not present the work as his own. He re-wrote a summary of the article in his own words - which is not plagiarism. (In fact, traditional newspapers have been re-writing AP news stories for decades; it's a common practice.)

    When he did use a verbatim passage from the article, he put it in a "huge block quote" precisely to signify that it was not his own words. And he gave a link to the source of that quote.

    Furthermore, his summary of the article was (deliberately) not very detailed. If you want to know the "whole story," you would click through to the WP article and read it. His version does not "compete" with the WP's story, it acts as a "teaser" for it - driving traffic to the Washington Post.

    In other words, the Washington Post should encourage more uses like Boing Boing's, because they'd make more money.

    but Doctorow probably thinks it was all fair use and he's just being a cool, Web 2.0 dude.

    Regardless of Doctorow's opinion, his use is a textbook case of fair use. It's practically why fair use was created.

    And the "blockquote" tag is made specifically for this purpose. It has been a standard tag since HTML 2.0 (at least), which has been around since 1995. The only way he could get more "Web 1.0" than that is if he used a "blink" tag.

    And you'll probably start talking about how the Washington Post should worry more about being liked and the easiest way to do that is to just give everything away for free.

    I notice that the Washington Post story isn't behind a paywall...

     

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  27.  
    identicon
    Frances, Sep 2nd, 2010 @ 2:43pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Fascinating but worthless

    Seriously. And if some random blog can somehow destroy your entire business, why the hell aren't you beating them to it? Why not set up your own blog? After all, you did all the damn reporting, obviously you know it better than Cory does. So why not do it better?

    Okay, let's try an analogy. I run a store. A kid comes in a shoplifts 20 things, sets up a table on the street outside, cuts the prices in half, brings the goods right to people's car window, and starts stealing-- I'm sorry-- sharing my customer base. I start complaining.

    "Why don't you do it better?"

    I can't. If I go out of business, there's no one from whom I can shoplift the goods. That's why I keep talking about ecological collapse.

    Furthermore, the WaPo can't go back in time and make its story different or better. And if the WaPo does add more and better, BB can just come along and update their story in 10 seconds. The sucker doing the work loses if the public doesn't distinguish. And why should they make a distinction if the BB article contains 95% of the same material?

     

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  28.  
    identicon
    Frances, Sep 2nd, 2010 @ 2:51pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Fascinating but worthless

    You showed an example of what Boingboing did. You did not show how that caused the Washington Post to stop doing what it does -- which is what you claimed.

    The WaPo has laid off hundreds of people over the last several years. It's news output is dramatically lower than it used to be.

    The game of denial your playing is much like the one played by global warming deniers or birthers. No evidence is good enough. Everything is questioned and the retort is always, "You don't get it.:" Typical demagoguery.

    There will be no statement from the editor saying, "We fired our reporter because BB stole our goods." But if there are two businesses producing products that are roughly interchangeable and one has a dramatically lower cost basis, well, the expensive business is going to disappear.

    Great, people will say, because that's the progress of capitalism. But it's a deep problem if the expensive business was really doing the work. Imagine that there are two chemical companies. One just dumps their waste secretly using the mob while the other spends a fortune jumping through all of the EPA mandated hoops. The cheap business may win, but it's not a victory for society.

     

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  29.  
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    Frances, Sep 2nd, 2010 @ 2:56pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Fascinating but worthless

    I find it odd that you skipped over all of the stuff about connecting with fans. Telling.

    I had to go to a funeral.

    Again, I see no difference between how you build your community and how newspapers (and TV news stations and many others) have interacted with their customers over the years. When I say that, you just say that I don't get it. Well you're definitely not building a connection with this reader.

    I do see deep differences, though, in the cost structure of your business and that continues to be my point. Many blogs remind me of Molly Ivins's claim that George Bush was born on third and thought he hit a triple.

     

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  30.  
    identicon
    Frances, Sep 2nd, 2010 @ 3:01pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Fascinating but worthless

    Again, I'm not sure what your point is. You know damn well that WaPo and BB serve two different purposes, so I'm not sure what your complaint is.

    Do they? The meme floating around Web 2.5 land is that news just diffuses through a social cloud and people just absorb what they need. News is like air. It just finds people.

    If that's the case, then BB and WaPo serve much the purpose for readers. And even if the readers make a distinction, it's entirely possible that they'll skip reading the article when they get to the WaPo because they've already read it on BB. BB can get the ad revenue, but WaPo pays for the health insurance, the pension, the disability insurance etc.

     

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  31.  
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    Richard Hack (profile), Sep 2nd, 2010 @ 3:05pm

    Sharon Corr does this very well

    A couple years ago, Sharon Corr's sister, Andrea, lead vocalist of the Irish rock band The Corrs, put out an album. She had a Bebo page and a MySpace page and a Web site, but they were maintained by somebody who didn't have a clue. Despite the fact that Andrea is loved by her fans, her album basically bombed. I suspect part of that was because her outreach was mismanaged.

    Fast forward to today. Her sister, Sharon Corr, has a new album coming out next week (after being delayed for nearly a year). Sharon has been interacting directly with her fans in almost every venue. She Twitters and was voted "Ms. Twitter" by her fans in the UK. Her husband even Twitters. She has a Youtube channel and regularly posts videos and "video chats". Last Valentine's Day, she went off to London for the weekend and left a Valentine's Day kiss video on her Web site. Her Web site is well maintained. She's done tons of radio interviews and appeared on various TV and performance venues with all manner of artists including Jeff Beck.

    All in all, her interaction with fans has been little short of brilliant. The Corrs have always been known for being nice to fans, but Sharon has topped the band as a whole. The Corrs were never much for Internet outreach, but Sharon appears to be advised by someone more competent.

    The amusing thing is that she's quite anti-file sharing and her husband Gavin Bonnar (a Belfast lawyer) is rabidly so. I had a huge Twitter debate with him over file sharing at one point, which is hard to do in 140 characters.

     

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  32.  
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    greg.fenton (profile), Sep 2nd, 2010 @ 8:42pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Fascinating but worthless

    The kid stealing stuff from the store is him taking a scarce resource. When he takes it, the store owner no longer has it. Your analogy is completely wrong. In the digital world, no one has lost anything...though I know that you are about to make a claim that the store owner loses a sale: but nothing guarantees anyone a sale.

    You are confusing the cost of the production of something (the article indeed costs money to generate) with the cost of giving people that article (it costs ZERO to give someone a copy of the article digitally).

    A business model around charging for a digital copy is going to kill you. There is no reason to charge for something that costs NOTHING. If you don't make your content free, then someone else will. This isn't a morality thing, this isn't a rogue culture thing. This is BASIC economics.

    You need to build a business model where you are collecting money for the SCARCE resources you have. For example, why create the story before you get paid? Why not charge to have some type of live interaction with the journalists that created the article (webinars, live presentations, customized/personalized stories)? Why not charge for physical goods based on your digital goods (Best Of books, paraphernalia, etc...)? Why not charge for physical goods around the culture you create? Why not sell the attention of your audience (which is the way that newspapers/TV/radio have always made their money)?

    Again, you are concerned about BB "stealing" a ZERO cost good. But they have created an audience because they are doing a BETTER JOB making the (ZERO cost) information interesting by building a community around it (and providing their own, better analysis, and organizing their stories better, and having better "branding", and engaging their audience better, and ...).

     

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  33.  
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    Mike Masnick (profile), Sep 3rd, 2010 @ 12:39am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Fascinating but worthless

    Okay, let's try an analogy. I run a store. A kid comes in a shoplifts 20 things, sets up a table on the street outside, cuts the prices in half, brings the goods right to people's car window, and starts stealing-- I'm sorry-- sharing my customer base. I start complaining.

    I'm beginning to question why you're even bothering with this debate when you are so incredibly confused.

    If the kid shoplifts 20 things and sets up a table outside YOU NO LONGER HAVE THOSE 20 THINGS TO SELL.

    But, in this ACTUAL scenario back here in the real world, YOU STILL HAVE YOUR STORY, and you should be able to blog about it a hell of a lot better than some random dude living halfway around the world.

    I can't. If I go out of business, there's no one from whom I can shoplift the goods. That's why I keep talking about ecological collapse.

    I don't understand. Seriously. If Cory can do it, why can't you?

    Furthermore, the WaPo can't go back in time and make its story different or better. And if the WaPo does add more and better, BB can just come along and update their story in 10 seconds. The sucker doing the work loses if the public doesn't distinguish. And why should they make a distinction if the BB article contains 95% of the same material?

    We're not saying go back in time and make it better. I'm saying if so many people are going to read Cory's short summary, why not do a similar short summary yourself?!?

    I don't get what the issue is here.

     

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  34.  
    icon
    Mike Masnick (profile), Sep 3rd, 2010 @ 12:42am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Fascinating but worthless

    The WaPo has laid off hundreds of people over the last several years. It's news output is dramatically lower than it used to be.

    And you are seriously blaming BoingBoing for that? Really?

    The game of denial your playing is much like the one played by global warming deniers or birthers. No evidence is good enough. Everything is questioned and the retort is always, "You don't get it.:" Typical demagoguery.

    You haven't shown any actual evidence. You've shown that WaPo made some business mistakes and laid people off. Blaming some blog for it makes no sense and you present NO PROOF that it's because of BB.

    There will be no statement from the editor saying, "We fired our reporter because BB stole our goods." But if there are two businesses producing products that are roughly interchangeable and one has a dramatically lower cost basis, well, the expensive business is going to disappear.

    Except we've shown that's simply not true at all UNLESS the more expensive business SUCKS at offering real value. The problem is the WaPos if it can't compete with a site like BoingBoing.

    Great, people will say, because that's the progress of capitalism. But it's a deep problem if the expensive business was really doing the work. Imagine that there are two chemical companies. One just dumps their waste secretly using the mob while the other spends a fortune jumping through all of the EPA mandated hoops. The cheap business may win, but it's not a victory for society.

    You can't be serious, can you?

     

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  35.  
    icon
    Mike Masnick (profile), Sep 3rd, 2010 @ 12:50am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Fascinating but worthless

    Again, I see no difference between how you build your community and how newspapers (and TV news stations and many others) have interacted with their customers over the years.

    Really? I pointed out a bunch of reasons in our last discussion and you didn't respond. Funny.

    But the problem is that you're doing the same cargo cult mistake, of just looking at the technology, not the actions. You see a comment form on both sites and you say "check."

    You don't look at how the tools are actually used. You don't look at how much interaction I do with the community. You don't look at how we've enabled the community to have more of a voice with various companies. You don't look at how we've actually *paid* community members for providing insights and analysis to companies. You don't look at how we've given the community a voice to the government on topics they care about as well.

    You just see a comment form and say "check."

    You don't look at the programs we ran that involved spending time with the community and brainstorming with them.

    You don't look at how much of the content on the site is driven by the community, based on what they want to discuss.

    You don't look at how we're focused on building a place for discussion, rather than focusing just on the content of posts/articles.

    In other words, you just see the damn cargo cult.

    And that's why you fail.

     

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  36.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Sep 3rd, 2010 @ 8:10am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Fascinating but worthless

    Next time, Bob/Frances/Steve/John/etc., can you just use the massive failure of an analogy in the beginning, so everyone can know that you can be ignored? Thanks.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  37.  
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    Brendan (profile), Sep 3rd, 2010 @ 12:20pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re:

    That just went right over my head.

    ffffforrrRRRRRRUM!!!...

     

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  38.  
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    Karl (profile), Sep 3rd, 2010 @ 3:10pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Fascinating but worthless

    If the kid shoplifts 20 things and sets up a table outside YOU NO LONGER HAVE THOSE 20 THINGS TO SELL.

    It's an even worse analogy than that - because the LVJR isn't charging for the content.

    It's like the kid takes a couple items from a bin outside your store saying "Take one - they're free!" And in return, you bust him for shoplifting.

    Except the punishment for copyright infringment is much worse than the punishment for shoplifting...

     

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  39.  
    icon
    Karl (profile), Sep 3rd, 2010 @ 3:13pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Fascinating but worthless

    Oops. Washington Post, not LVJR. I was still thinking about the Righthaven cases.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]


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