Friday, April 4, 2014

There's Something To This After All

In a tiny blog post waaay back in January, Mind Your P's & Q's, or Rather, Your I's & You's, I mentioned the beginnings of an idea for a crude method for predicting the popularity of a blog, based solely on the ratio of references to the writer (writing "I" or "me", etc) to references to the reader ("you").  I wrote a little word counter in Ruby and then quickly lost heart in my little idea and got caught up in something More Important.

Early this week, I came across a post called "Our Best Feature is Our Worst Feature" by @Thinkup co-founder, Anil Dash.  In his post, he says that one way his company demonstrates to its users the value and importance of their social media presence is to track (and report) the number of times they talk about themselves on social media. It's called the "All About You" insight and a lot of it boils down to the percentage of their total posts, tweets, etc. that refer back to themselves. (The meat of the article discusses the difficulty in making an uncomfortable observation - ie, "Wow, you sure talk about yourself a lot!" - into an engaging, helpful story that Thinkup users will pay for. It's a great post, you should read it. I'll wait.)

The beginning of the post is what caught me, though. I had pretty much abandoned my idea because, well, it was just my idea. I thought it was one of those ideas that look great in the stage lights of your head and then ridiculous in the sunlight. But clearly it wasn't. Brilliant, accomplished people had similar ideas and ran with them. I didn't get there (read: anywhere) nearly as quickly as Thinkup did (they clearly thought about this long before I did and built it into their business), but I'm also not completely off the track either.

Today's moral: if you have an idea, do something about it. Better to find out it's a bad idea than to kick yourself for not doing something with it. I wouldn't have beaten Thinkup to the market or anything like that. But perhaps my next idea can actually go somewhere. The first step is to actually put my key in the ignition and see where I can drive it.

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