I flew in from Vancouver, BC this afternoon and drew this one on the flight. This being my first time travelling to Las Vegas, my nose was pressed against the window throughout our descent. (Socially awkward, since I had an aisle seat.) Also, since I mainly know Las Vegas through old episodes of CSI, I found myself ascribing some pretty gruesome backstories to what I was seeing. (“Oh, right – that’s the ridge where they found that guy’s mummified knees!”)
At any rate, I made it – pens, iPad, graphic tablet and all. I’ll be toonblogging for the next three days, so keep watching the blog for updates. Mostly non-gruesome ones.
I’m as guilty of this as anyone. You meet someone at a conference, you find a real connection – be it personal or business-related – and you exchange cards.
But as you hand yours over, you yank it back. “Oh, sorry,” you say, and fumble for a pen – “I just changed cell numbers. Let me just write in the new one… Hmm, you can’t really read that, can you?” (Of course they can’t, because you’re trying to write it on a little card with a big thick Sharpie, the only thing you could find in your bag.) “Do you have a pen? Or just some pointed instrument I could use to draw some blood?”
So if your business cards are out of date, set aside some time today to get some new ones printed in time for BlogWorld. (I promise: I’m doing just that as soon as I finish writing this.)
And if you want to stand out a little, here are a few ideas for business cards that make sense in for a social media conference:
- Chris Brogan goes with a minimal card, giving only his preferred means of contact, along with his name, how he thinks he could help you, and – maybe most critically – space to write things on. He also has a business card on his site.
- Maybe you want to join the cool kids and have a QR code on your card. (I’m using a distinctly self-serving definition of “cool” here, I’ll admit.) To link to the contact page on your blog, just use Google’s URL shortener, goo.gl. It not only spits out a handy shortened URL, but a QR code to boot. (This is what my cartoon’s link looks like.) (And for a rundown on how people used QR codes at SXSW this year, have a look at Gina Trapani’s report.)
- You could always just go completely paper-free with a service like card.ly or chi.mp, which create attractive-looking single-page sites with your contact details and social media links.
- And if you have an iPhone or Android, you’re going to want to be able to Bump. It doesn’t get more fumble-free than that.
You read blog posts as well as retweeting them? How does that work?
“12,000 Twitter followers and 25,000 subscribers on Feedburner are certainly impressive. But they aren’t what we in the banking business call ‘collateral.'”
“I got a trackback yesterday. I haven’t felt so nostalgic in ages.”
It can be hard to admit, but blogs have a life cycle – and, in some cases, a best-before date that may be well in the past. Your passion for the subject matter wanes; other interests beckon; your readers and commenters, maybe sensing your faltering commitment, move on to other venues.
And that’s okay. There’s no shame in saying that a blog has run its course. But as Allison wrote in a post here last week, even the most moribund of blogs may not be beyond resuscitation (and she offered a few suggestions for virtual CPR).
If you’re starting to notice the unpleasant smell of decay whenever you visit your blog, here are a few more ideas for bringing it back to life:
- Redefine the subject. If your interests have changed, then let your readers know you’ll be introducing a new topic, and shifting the emphasis there.
- Redefine the scope. If your blog died because you couldn’t keep up with the expectations you set around frequency, depth or comprehensiveness, then dial that back. Focus your energies more narrowly. Maybe instead of daily wall-to-wall coverage of a subject, you want to post twice a week on one aspect of it – and one of those posts is a collection of links, instead of your usual 20-paragraph essays.
- Call in reinforcements. If you don’t think you can do it alone, but you have one or more colleagues or friends with similar interests and solid blogging skills, see if they’d be interested in joining your blog. The mutual encouragement can go a long way to getting you past a slump.
- Hand it over. Find someone who shares your passion – or the passion you once had – and transfer the blog to them. You’ll know that all your hard work will still be alive and appreciated; they’ll be able to launch with a built-in readership and traffic stream to build on.
Still not feeling it? If you’re sure it’s time to close the doors and turn off the lights, then go ahead. But let your readers know you’re doing it. And give serious consideration to keeping your blog online (with comments switched off if you don’t plan to reply to them, or weed out spam). It’ll serve as a resource for others… and, if your interest should be rekindled or your spare time suddenly reappear, you’ve left the door open to a return from the grave.
Rob Cottingham is a cofounder of social media strategy firm Social Signal, a blogger since 2001, and the pen behind Noise to Signal for the past three years. Find him on Twitter at @robcottingham.