Strategy to Success

by Michael

[A.S. There are a lot of S’s in the Discreet Dictionary. More now than previously. If you’re almost tempted to go browsing, I recommend you start with Suburbs, the Discreet ‘definition’ for which quotes from a beautiful book, The Age of Wire and String, by Ben Marcus.]

Net Net contribution

It has been two weeks or more since my last post here and I am no longer going to apologise for such lacunae in my writing. However, it has got me to thinking about whether I will ever be a ‘net Net contributor’.

I lurk, mostly, on Twitter and blogs. My own blog here is inherently solipsistic (well no, but I like the word; it is actually merely introspective) and my other blog, which has a pitiful four subscribers, has potential to be ‘social’ but I am not ‘marketing’ it because I am not sure it is precisely what I want and I am antipathetic to the concept of ‘work in progress’, despite every blog being essentially exactly that.

A snowball, not an ammo dump

My preferred approach to the web is to follow those random trails that come from following a link that a creditable source (ie a friend, acquaintance or admired intelligence) suggests. If the target is pleasing, I will browse it, looking for another diverting link to somewhere else. And so on.

But each stop on this mystery tour is an ephemeral pleasure. Just as in life, the things that please me most are ephemeral, fleeting phenomena that pale as soon as they are pointed out. I strongly, perhaps wrongly, believe that my solitary delight in such things does not stand being shared.

This presents a dilemma. I value online those people who share lots of links – this is the proper value of Twitter, I think. But I rarely do the same. Does it matter? It probably means I will not ever have many followers/’friends’/subscribers. I would like to be a contributor of source material to which others suggest the first link. But for that to happen, I need followers/’friends’/subscribers (as well as contributing material that is attractive to them). Not so much a vicious circle as a closed one.

What’s the point of this introspective, solipsistic digression? The impact of ‘social media’ and/on the future development of the web remains to be seen but there does seem to be an evolving ecosystem of links that are shared between networks of people. What roles are available within that system (or systems)? Are they substantially different to roles in offline society? Are there emerging roles to be claimed – aggregator/ammo dump, perhaps, curator or disseminator? Or even just quiet snowball, like me, acquiring without passing on?

Strategy to success?

A significant online presence is achieved by producing content – original content, or comments on blogs, or tweets or whatever else. Does it necessarily mean producing more than you consume, being a net Net contributor? The quiet, net Net consumer risks fading into the background, or fading beyond even the background, into the faint trail of a mere IP address visiting websites.

I’m not about to increase production of online content for my own part. I do, however, think it is something to consider as we all learn to play our part in new online social networks. I hope that if I follow my natural instinct – to lurk more than comment, to limit my contributions to what I believe worth communicating – I will find my natural role and be content with it. At least I have a snowball’s chance….

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