December 25, 2009

How I Aimed to Do Better On the Web in 2009

As 2009 loomed, near the end of 2008, I took a look back at how I was utilizing the Web and set for myself some direct goals, not necessarily number-oriented, but measurable nonetheless. As I illustrated in 10 Things I Wish I Would Do Better On the Web Come 2009, I wanted to make a concerted effort to interact with readers on the site (and on other blogs), and be more active away from home, participating in events, panels, podcasts, and the like. (Note Steven Hodson's reaction to this list as well)

With the goal of keeping myself accountable, here's the year's goals revisited, and summarily rated with a success or failure.

1) Make More Comments on Original Blog Posts

Success: Although a great number of comments continue to remain on FriendFeed and Facebook, or Google Reader, I made a concerted effort to leave comments in reaction to posts for blogs big and small this year, be it the individual Posterous or Tumblr account, or a large blog network, such as TechCrunch or GigaOM. I don't think I will ever fully do as good a job here as I would like, but I was certainly aware of my activity in 2009.

2) Respond to More Comments on

Success: Disqus makes this process extremely easy, letting me respond to comments that come to the blog via e-mail, or in rapid fire with their simple user interface. On "hot" blog topics, I made sure to respond to a good number of thought-provoking readers, and "walk down the line" to add my views. As with the above, this too could be improved, but I believe I was better at this in 2009 than in 2008.

3) Be More Interactive On Twitter

Success: I am still not as huge a Twitter fan as many people. I continue to use Twitter more for links than conversation. But I also wanted to use the service to help promote the #BlameDrewsCancer phenomenon, and have been very active in responding to @Replies. I try not to use the site as a status update service all too often, but this became more than just a repository for "New Blog Post" in 2009.

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

Failure: I believe I merely exchanged some sites for others here. I continue to spend a lot of time on Google Reader and FriendFeed (no surprise to most of you). While in 2008 I spent a bit of time on Socialmedian and Strands, I removed myself from those sites for the most part in 2009, and replaced them with more use of Facebook, plus the addition of Ecademy and Simler. (which have some FriendFeed-like elements)

The leverage of RSS continues to keep me on Reader more than in visiting many different downstream sites, and I still am visiting non-tech at a bare minimum.

5) Have More Time for In-Depth Reviews

Success: In addition to a great number of in depth reviews of new iPhone applications, I also started using YouTube to help describe some services, including Lazyfeed and my6sense. In terms of other Web services, I have tried to make sure when covering a site that I have walked through it and included a good number of screenshots or explanatory items to provide more background, even if it means I am not first to publish.

6) Follow Up On Sites and Services After Their Launch

Partial Success: Following up on all sites and giving equal time is practically impossible. But for every site I discussed only once, there were many more, such as Brizzly, Lazyfeed, Simler and others that saw multiple pieces of coverage that included updates on the product and company.

7) Attend More Industry Conferences and Panels

Success: 2009 saw me attend BlogWorld Expo for the second straight year. In addition, I attended SXSW in Austin, LeWeb, multiple TechCrunch CrunchUps, and had other speaking opportunities.

8) Participate More Visiblity on Conferences and Panels

Success: Adding on to the above, I gained the opportunity in 2009 to branch out a bit, leading a panel on Twitter applications at LeWeb, speaking on content aggregation at SXSW, speaking on realtime at BlogWorld, on information overload at the Inbound Marketing Summit, the death of advertising with the SFAMA, and other opportunities. I aimed to say yes to as many as I could, travel and expenses willing. 2010 should continue the trend.

9) Be More Active on Podcasts, Videoconferencing

Partial Success: 2009 did not feature the regular podcasts that were attempted in 2008 with the ReadBurner Weekly and Elite Tech News podcasts being shuttered. I did participate in FFundercats a few times, joined Leo Laporte for a holiday This Week In Tech, and Steven Hodson for another, but this was less than I had anticipated.

However, in addition to the group podcasts, I started using Cinch a lot, letting me send off single person podcasts from the iPhone, or 1-1 interviews, as were done at LeWeb.

10) Highlight More Bloggers and Entrepreneurs

Failure: As in 2008, I continued the highlighting of five new bloggers and ten new Friendfeeders each month through the first half of the year. But the purchasing of FriendFeed by Facebook in August pushed this plan askew, making me openly wonder if it made sense to continue that practice. I continue to seek out new content and highlight it through Google Reader shared items and other places, but could improve.

By setting these goals at the end of last year, they were somewhat in the back of my head as I made plans and actions through 2009. I tried not to set an arbitrary number-based goal that would make things seem like a chore, but did want to do the right thing. As you can see, many of these goals, especially in regards to events, were much stronger in 2009 than 2008. I just thought it made sense to report back to you.