December 21, 2008

10 Things I Wish I Would Do Better On the Web Come 2009

To most readers here, it's no secret I'm fairly active online. I try to keep up with the news by absorbing a strong amount of feeds in Google Reader, and then share the best of those with you on my shared links blog. I try to keep the blog consistently published with good insight, both from me and the rapidly-expanding team of contributors. I attempt to be visible and participate in a small array of social networks, from Facebook to Twitter to Friendfeed, Socialmedian and Strands. I try to answer e-mail as it comes in, and monitor or reply to comments. But I know I'm not doing a perfect job. If I only had more hours in the day, and made this my priority, here are some of the things I wish I would do better on the Web, and things I'll be paying more attention to as the calendar flips from 2008 to 2009:

1) Make More Comments on Original Blog Posts

Every day I come in contact with hundreds and hundreds of new stories. The vast majority of them I read in my RSS reader. I click through a small percentage, share a different percentage and e-mail others. I am also encountering many other new stories via FriendFeed and other social aggregators, exposing me to new ideas and news.

But while I already know I am not reading enough stories at their source, I'm certainly not participating and commenting enough. I need to make more time to do this in 2009.

2) Respond to More Comments on

Some days I do this well, and other days, not really well at all. A while ago, I talked about whether comments on blog posts were conversation, or just replies, and I find too often I lean toward the latter. Disqus makes it super-easy to blast through comments and respond via e-mail, so I should do a better job of being engaged with the best audience on the Web in 2009.

3) Be More Interactive On Twitter

There's no one right way to use Twitter, as we mentioned earlier today, but I'm pretty sure the way I use it isn't perfect. I signed up to Twitter in early 2008 after being, for me anyway, a longtime holdout. It's likely that more than half of my Twitter posts are simply announcing new blog posts here, and I could do a better job of listening and engaging than simply broadcasting in 2009.

4) Spend Less Time on a Few Sites, and More Time on Many Sites

Being visible and active on social networks that have similar capabilities, like FriendFeed, Socialmedian and Strands, is hard. It's no secret that there is a tendency to pick one or two places to build up a community and leave the others dry, and in 2008, I overweighted FriendFeed for sure. It makes sense that maybe I should dial back a bit on FriendFeed and spend more time in far-flung places in 2009.

5) Have More Time for In-Depth Reviews

At the beginning of the year, I feel I did a fairly good job of having the time to invest in fully reviewing new sites and services, to explain their every feature. From Toluu to ReadBurner to Feedly and Assetbar, it was not uncommon to show you every nook and cranny of a new site, so you could join it as an expert. But in the second half of the year, especially after the arrival of Matthew and Sarah, this time comparatively evaporated, making my reviews less detailed. I still try to do a good overview of new sites and iPhone applications, for example, but it'd be good to feel sharp about these reviews again in 2009.

6) Follow Up On Sites and Services After Their Launch

I want to avoid being a "hit and run" blogger, as I put it the other day, announcing something and then only covering them again if they had something major. Doing that, I feel, makes you a tertiary part of the story, and certainly not an embedded expert. I'd like to look back on the many different services that have either debuted here or been covered, and see how they have progressed in 2009.

7) Attend More Industry Conferences and Panels

Given blogging and the social media space is not my full-time job, I can't exactly say attending all the different events in the space is something that makes sense for my career or pocketbook. But I did get to attend Web 2.0 Expo in the Spring, and BlogWorld Expo in the fall, and enjoyed meeting many of the people with whom I'd only engaged online. I would like to make more time to see the industry mingle and participate in 2009.

8) Participate More Visiblity on Conferences and Panels

I've been lucky to learn that a panel I'll be participating in was accepted for the South By Southwest conference (SXSW) this upcoming Spring. This follows the panel I participated in with Chris Heuer and Tom Foremski, and a pair of panels and BlogWorld Expo this fall. As the blog has gained visibility, opportunities are making themselves available, and I would like to be less of a wallflower and more active in 2009.

9) Be More Active on Podcasts, Videoconferencing

Having blogged on the site for three full years now, showing I can put a blog post together and cover a story, or participate in social media is not a surprise. I also had the opportunity to participate in the Elite Tech News podcast earlier this year when it was more regular, and the ReadBurner podcast through the year. I think it would be fun to get the opportunity to showcase new entrepreneurs, bloggers and services using audio and video in 2009.

10) Highlight More Bloggers and Entrepreneurs

In 2008, one of the major focuses I had was to bring to light new bloggers that had previously toiled in obscurity. By launching the series of five new blogs each month, by bringing on a stable of talented writers and keeping a focus on startups and the people behind those services, we played a role in making people more known by the end of the year than the beginning. I don't want to lose momentum on this, and keep bringing new people to the fore in 2009.

These ten items are on my list because I believe, in combination, they will help my understanding of technology, the industry, and the people better. It will help me have a more rounded tech experience without being too focused on niche topics and insulated. 2008 saw some strides in many of these areas, but I know I need to step up my game in 2009, and I look forward to the challenge.