Twitter Contest: Be my 1000th Friend

I’m at a special milestone in my Twitter career. Most people don’t end up with 1000 friends but the Twitter community is vibrant and I’m fully engaged so at this point, I have 999 friends.

I thought it would be cool, in the spirit of Twitter and community, to hold a contest for the 1000th friend milestone. In true Twitter fashion, this is how it will work. Below is an article about community. What I want you to do is to post a summary of the article in your own words on Twitter and leave a link to the Tweet in the comments. For the sake of community, also post the contents of the tweet in comments so people don’t have to go clicking everywhere to see what’s been said. The winner will be chosen exclusively by me (I can be subjective, right?)

There’s a twist however. In order to get participation from everyone, including the 999 people that are already my friends, the winner will choose my 1000th friend for me. You can choose yourself if you want, but if the winner is already my friend they could choose somebody that they find interesting and they want me to follow too. Could be fun, right? Right, so let’s get to it.

Engaging Community

We’re in the political season again and people are avidly watching the races for the Republican and Democratic nominations. It hearkens back to the bad old days when I first started blogging in 2004. The presidential election gave bloggers lots of fodder to talk about and, back then, everyone seemed to be a political blogger of some sort. Fortunately, the blogging world has diversified and is now rich in technology, sports, celebrity gawking, etc. It’s a much more accurate view of real life where people are very different.

One of the main problems that has plagued bloggers for as long as blogging has been around is the sense that blogging is an individual sport. Rarely do you see communities – true communities – spring up around single blog properties. There are a few notable blog centered communities – SEOMoz in the SEO world; Digital Photography School in the, well, digital photography world; all of the Gawker properties, I think. Mostly however, blogging is an individual sport and blog participation is a spectator sport.

Why do you think that is?

When we talk about social media, inevitably blogging gets lumped in with Facebook and Twitter as though blogs are somehow social. Generally, they are not.

When I first heard the term social networking I always word associated with social engineering, a scary term that denotes manipulation of lemmings by a single person or entity. When I thought of social media, which is used interchangeably with the word social networking, I thought of communist state government.

Where the word came from is irrelevant. It is the word. What it means is a grassroots community revolving around a topic or niche. In most cases the “friending” is a function of the network that allows people to connect and interconnect with each other, thus creating grassroots networking.

I come back to blogging, where in most cases, this is not occurring. Blogging is still mostly a one way communication tool where the blogger, or bloggers write. There is interaction via comments, but this is non-commital action that people can take that is contrary to the “friending” process of social networks. Anyone who blogs knows the feeling of being a “one night stand” where a commenter comes by, does a drive by comment, and leaves. Wham! Bam! Thank you, ma’am!

This is not community. Community requires a level of commitment, if only as menial as a friend request to “ensure” the tie that binds.

I’d love to see more communities emerge around blogs. Heck, I may start a forum here which would be a first step but it wouldn’t be enough. There would have to be the follow through from readers where community could begin to coalesce.

What are your thoughts on community?

WordPress Custom Fields Contest

Update: This contest has been extended to March 30, 2007.

There is an often-overlooked aspect of WordPress that adds functionality that is more geared to a Content Management System than a blogging platform. And that’s why, perhaps, the world’s #1 blogging software finds that many users don’t really use Custom Fields.

I think that’s a travesty.

Conversations in the blog software world always toy with concepts that look forward to what should be introduced in a blogging software. A lot of these conversations circulate around breaking blogs out of the status quo which are “typical blogging templates”. Different approaches were taken at different times in the history of the blogging platform. For instance, the conversation around categories and how conversations could really be more granular than simple categories led to the advent of tags which are seen around the blogosphere. Trackbacks were used to alert another party of your conversation surrounding them but as spammers started exploiting trackbacks, pingbacks were invented which were more passive and allowed discovery of conversation surrounding the blogger.

Evolutions come and go, yet, blogging by and large remains a linear concept that is driven mainly by content creation and reader interaction. To that end, themes are built to this standard.

But what if the standard is just too limiting? What if the standard can be enhanced and changed? What if simple personal blogs could be turned into effective content properties?

Custom Fields may be the answer to the question, how do you make the mundane reach these goals?

I’m running a contest here at Technosailor and there are prizes involved. There is also judging. But there is time.

The Contest

[Read more...]