“I’m sick to death of hearing the phrase, ‘Driving traffic to your site’.”

Well, it looks like my last post, where I announced I was giving up Twitter and Facebook, caused all sorts of brouhaha. Over 150 comments, and Lord knows how many hundreds of retweets and whatnot on Twitter, Facebook, Google+ yada, yada, yada.

I’m not sure why all the fuss, to be honest.

More than a few people were concerned that by not doing the Twitter-Facebook thing, I wouldn’t drive so  many people to my blog.

To which I replied in the comments:

“I’m sick to death of hearing the phrase, ‘Driving traffic to your site’.

People should come to your blog, not because somebody drove them there, but because it was important for them to come there.

Otherwise you’re just wasting your time, otherwise you’re just acting like everyone else.

And the trick to Web 2.0, as in business, is to be UNLIKE everyone else.”

Granted, that might be a wee bit too purist for most people, still, Kathy Sierra left a great comment:

From John Mayer’s address to grads of Berklee College of Music:

And possibly more alarming, Mayer realized that pouring creativity into smaller, less important, promotional outlets like twitter not only distracted him from focusing on more critical endeavors like his career, it also narrowed his mental capacity for music and writing intelligent songs.

“The tweets are getting shorter, but the songs are still 4 minutes long. You’re coming up with 140-character zingers, and the song is still 4 minutes long…I realized about a year ago that I couldn’t have a complete thought anymore. And I was a tweetaholic. I had four million twitter followers, and I was always writing on it. And I stopped using twitter as an outlet and I started using twitter as the instrument to riff on, and it started to make my mind smaller and smaller and smaller. And I couldn’t write a song.”

You see where I’m going with this?

Whatever. The issue really isn’t Twitter or Facebook, the issue is, if you’re spending more time promoting your stuff and chit-chatting to people about your stuff than your are ACTUALLY MAKING stuff, you’re doing something wrong, VERY wrong [Believe me, I'm as guiity of this as anyone. I have BEEN there, more than once.].

Quit your yakkin’ and get busy. Quit wasting time obsessing about pimping your ass and checking your stats. Instead, MAKE stuff. Make AMAZING stuff. Make stuff that is so good that people have no choice but to find out about it. Otherwise, you REALLY are just wasting your time. This game is already TOO hard and TOO BIG a time suck to fritter away on what is, for the most part, a big ol’ distraction.

There. I’ve said my piece. This is hopefully my last blog post on the subject. I’m getting back to what I do best: Writing books, drawing cartoons, selling art and helping my clients kick ass. Amen.

[PS. I'm not completely stupid and out out of touch; I do realize that A LOT of my friends still use Twitter at the expense of everything else (including RSS) and may need some time to adjust, so for now, we'll still using my Twitter account to retweet links to my blog, just like Seth Godin does with his. But I won't be spending any personal time over there, either. In fact, I've given my log-ins to Laura (she runs my gallery operations) and asked her to handle it instead. My personal online presence will just be here on my blog, and of course the newsletter. But I'm pretty much done with everything else...]

Comments

  1. Wholeheartedly agree.

  2. plus things started at the blog well before facebook/twitter came along. the only sustained place for it to be is on your own site

  3. So I guess Laura received the tweet in which I asked you to make you last tweet profoundly epic & mind blowing…or to just tell someone off in it :)

    Tweets or not, I’ll still be reading. Good luck, Hugh.

    (Eagerly awaiting book #3 now)

    • Hey Mat,

      The question isn’t, is Twitter and Facebook good or bad? Bad? Of course they’re not bad.

      The question is, how does great content actually get made? What ACTUALLY has to happen?

      And when I say. “Great Content”, I’m not saying necessarily Shakespeare or Milton, here. I’m just talking about the content YOU make that WILL TRANSFORM your life and the life of your loved ones, for the beter.

      That’s a much more interesting conversation, IMHO…

    • AGREED – on eagerly awaiting book #3. I’m in a sort of withdrawal after reading books #1 and 2 back to back.

  4. “If you’re spending more time promoting your stuff and chit-chatting to people about your stuff than your are ACTUALLY MAKING stuff, you’re doing something wrong.”

    You’re so unbelievably right! Thank you for reminding us all which ones actually are the truly important things!

  5. Some girl out in Brickell says:

    You are so sexy when you are mad… ;)

    But you are right. And I agree with you wholeheartedly because even though I don’t know if my life would be any better were I not always thinking in 140 characters, I do know that if I had to elaborate on those thoughts, I’d probably be singing an entirely different tune- at least when it comes to certain items.

  6. I definitely agree.

    Twitter is “fake” networking, you follow me and I’ll follow you, tit for tat. It’s an empty metric of “see many followers I got.”

    What’s so important that can’t be said in 140 characters? Plenty of stuff. Though people with shorter attention span than that might disagree.

  7. Got to agree with Michael Twitter is really a huge waist of time. Its the challenge of how many followers you can get. It is very difficult to broadcast any kind of meaningful message in 140 characters.

    Todd Skinner – Visizzle – Branding – Marketing

  8. Disagree with Todd. “I love you” isn’t a very long message, but it’s meaningful to someone.

    I mostly follow visual artists on Twitter and I’m astounded at the amount of time that EXTREMELY talented artists spend RT’ing throughout the live-long day and I have a hard time imagining Picasso or Van Gogh or Matisse or else giving two shits about keeping up with the all their e-Jonesing fans.

    Retweet and Like buttons seem more like acceptable forms of incest. Alas…

    I never wait for your link-driving links anyway. Thanks for your cartoons, insights, and hurrahs.

  9. I found Gaping Void through another blog (could have been through Seth Godin, can’t remember). How much did I like what I saw? Gaping Void is one of my homepage tabs, so I see it every morning. The originating site isn’t.

    Almost every cartoon and post seems to be written for me, especially this:

    “Quit your yakkin’ and get busy. Quit wasting time obsessing about pimping your ass and checking your stats. Instead, MAKE stuff. Make AMAZING stuff. Make stuff that is so good that people have no choice but to find out about it. Otherwise, you REALLY are just wasting your time. This game is already TOO hard and TOO BIG a time suck to fritter away on what is, for the most part, a big ol’ distraction.”

    I don’t use Twitter or Facebook, I never understood why anyone would want to hand over so much to them. Blogging for the sake of gaining an audience is also something I have trouble with – I write because it pleases me, should someone stumble across my musings and spend a little while there then that’s nice, but it’s not why I do it. Maybe in future an audience will be important to me but right now I’m still finding my voice.

    Your post has reminded me that I need to stop over-polishing the posts that I write – I have many drafts that are being buffed into oblivion.

    Keep drawing and blogging. I will start to heed your words more often :)

  10. DUDE!!! Me too. I hate reading all that shit. Sure I want people to read my blog and visit. BUT…blogging has now turned into a numbers game than an art.

  11. I like your take-no-prisoner, extreme approach to your work – and with your name and reputation, you probably don’t need those platforms anymore, Hugh.

    I spend 10 – 15 mins max on Twitter on a day, it’s a small time commitment that allows me to connect with my people.
    The rest of the day is spent on creating stuff and taking care of everyday life, so I have no issue with social media taking away my time and craft.

  12. Good luck with the transition. I occasionally have the same thoughts. Its all a distraction. The nature of the dialogue is sophomoric at best. But, then, I”ll have a great connection or find something unique on there.

    I think the real challenge is having the discipline to use it only sporadically and, as you said, to own your own domain/space so that you control your turf—your space for conversation. Still, people read my blog, and then leave it comment on it on Facebook. Go figure.

  13. I haven’t ever been able to get into twitter, but Facebook stresses me out completely. It often does feel like a huge, draining waste of time.

    And even worse than that, I think that it detracts from my creative energy — meaning that I paint – and create fresh stuff – much less when I’m bogged down with Facebook (or whatever the social media du jour happens to be).

    Thanks.

  14. Driving traffic never made sense to me as a phrase in itself. There’s driving rain, driving a team of (fill in your favorite animal), driving the snakes out of Ireland, driving a golf ball, driving a vehicle, driving IN traffic. It’s all driving me to drink – perhaps Scotch.

  15. Hugh, I’ve recently come to the same conclusion. I “got here” to this blog via Google Plus – only have a few people on there in my stream.

    Lately, Twitter and Facebook is like trying to make an important statement from the audience at a Stones concert. Only post when I have something different to say. Seems so ironic that I don’t read what everyone one else is doing but expect them to read my links.

    That’s just the way it has to be. I need to make my art first.

    The problem of spending too much time w/Twitter and FB is that information streams by, and we “followers” feel like we might miss out on something important. After a while missing out begins to feel like you might not survive. But those feelings do not represent reality. It’s false panic.

  16. I find that when I go on Twitter I can’t make any sense of what people are talking about. It’s like eavesdropping and only hearing snippets of conversation. What is the point of that I ask myself, as once again I decide that I don’t have time to try and figure out how to follow a conversation. I only use Twitter when I have something useful to offer.
    Facebook I mostly use to keep in touch with family and close friends on a superficial level, meaning that it is not my main point of contact with them.
    When I am not painting or writing tutorials, I prefer to spend my time reading great blogs and /or learning how to make better art! If that’s a mistake in these times of hyper ‘social media-ing’(my word), it’s mine to make and I don’t want to read another damn bit of advice about it! :)

  17. What might be more interesting is if the artist was paid for his or her Tweets…

  18. “If you’re spending more time promoting your stuff and chit-chatting to people about your stuff than your are ACTUALLY MAKING stuff, you’re doing something wrong.”

    Good point. On the other hand, sometimes your blog post IS the stuff. I don’t make any money off of my posts, but I’m very proud when I manage to make good prose.

    • Cinderkeys,

      Oh sure, blogging can be a TERRIBLE crutch, as bad as Twitter or Facebook.

      But as long as I keep drawing cartoons, things will continue to happen. That is the litmus test…

  19. The comments here are full of support and agreement, but not everyone is a CREATOR and not everyone is a MAKER. People fulfill different roles, both personally and professionally. Figure heads, leaders, communicators, care givers and followers (not in the Twitter sense) – all have a purpose and combine to create societies the enable not just survival, but prosperity. Likewise, businesses must fulfill various functions to thrive. Not the least of which is customer service. Social media, with both its staccato chatter and longer format discussions, can provide a great channel for addressing of customers and their concerns.

    If you’re a maker, make. If Twitter and Facebook are getting in the way, find another solution. I admire everyone who has tried them and decided it’s not right for them – I don’t want everyone on my playground anyway ;-) – but I reject any premise that writes off the relationships established and nurtured through social media as sophomoric or frivolous. Intellectual and emotional connections should not be evaluated based on where they occur, but on the value that people derive from them.

Trackbacks

  1. [...] “I’m sick to death of hearing the phrase, ‘Driving traffic to your site’.” | gapingvoid Quit your yakkin’ and get busy. Quit wasting time obsessing about pimping your ass and checking your stats. Instead, MAKE stuff. Make AMAZING stuff. Make stuff that is so good that people have no choice but to find out about it. Otherwise, you REALLY are just wasting your time. This game is already TOO hard and TOO BIG a time suck to fritter away on what is, for the most part, a big ol’ distraction. (tags: twitter facebook socialmedia amen) [...]

  2. [...] couple of days ago, Jim shared a link to a post written by Hugh MacLeod which, as Jim said, perfectly summed up his blogging philosophy in one sentence. People should come [...]

  3. [...] But for the mission-driven, it can become a crutch — an excuse to waste time, rather than doing the hard work of producing and creating. [...]

  4. [...] abandone o Twitter, o Facebook nem coisa nenhuma. Mas desde que li em Agosto o post  “I’m sick to death of hearing the phrase, ‘Driving traffic to your site’.” tenho pensado nessa equação: produção e criação x promoção e [...]

Speak Your Mind

*

Comment through Twitter

Are you ready to work with us?

Get More Info

Testimonials

Hugh MacLeod is a genius.  Genius.

Seth Godin
Best Selling Author

His work acknowledges the absurdity of workaday life, while also encouraging employees to respond with passion, creativity, and non-conformity...   MacLeod’s work is undeniably an improvement over the office schlock of yore. At its best, it’s more honest, and more cognizant of the entrepreneurial psyche, while still retaining some idealism.

The New Republic
Lydia Depillis

Last year my State of the College address was 76 slides loaded with data. This year it was 14 cartoons that were substantially more memorable.

Len Schlesinger
Former President, Babson College

"There are only two daily newsletters that I look forward to opening and reading every time they show up to my inbox: Seth Godin's and gapingvoid."

Tony Hsieh
CEO, Zappos

In moments of indecision I glance at the wall [to Hugh's work] for guidance.

Brian Clark
@copyblogger
 
  • Seth Godin
  • The New Republic
  • Len Schlesinger
  • Tony Hsieh
  • Brian Clark
prevnext