A Healthy Disregard for the Impossible

Larry Page is quoted as saying, “the only true failure was not attempting the audacious.” “Even if you fail at your ambitious thing, it’s very hard to fail completely.”

I’m reading, In The Plex, How Google think, works, and shapes our lives. By Steven Levy, (I bought it on the sofa whilst watching Formula One on TV, I love my Kindle)

It strikes me odd, that on this blog – which is sometimes about how to get your website ranked in Google – that we don’t talk about the architects of the system.

Looking around it seems that most other SEO blogs do the same. One reason for this may be the sparse nature of the information about them. We mostly listen to someone who goes by the name of Matt Cutts.

But listening to the thought process and motivation of the guys who actually built the thing may help in understanding how the thing works.

After all, if you try to study the algorithm, it makes sense to study those who created the algorithm.

Indeed, it makes perfect sense to “think like an engineer“, something I now have on my wall after listening to an Ed Dale Video.

Not only think like an engineer, but get into the mindset of someone driven to an end goal that is the incredible.

And so I would say, In The Plex is mandatory reading for anyone working in SEO. If you work at an seo agency, tell the fancy car driving boss that everyone in the company should be bought a copy of the book.

If they turn to you and ask, “what’s the book about?” You should probably consider jumping ship as it can get kinda mind numbing working for the unenlightened.

I’m buying all my link building team a copy.

(it’s all tax deductible against training anyway, duh)

Social Media is about Influence not Relationships

I have a shelf full of overpriced books on social media. I say overpriced as most are just rehashed blog posts.

And most of them bang on about “relationships”, or “it’s all about the conversation”. As if yammering away about anything and everything and connecting with everyone and her dog is all you have to do.

Well that thinking is just a big bag of wrong.

Because, “IT” is not about the conversation, “IT”, is about influence or persuasion.

Sure, the conversation or having a rip roaring relationship that transcends all other relationships ever had in the history of humanity is something which social media does very well.

But, that is not the point.

It is NOT the goal.

The goal, is for people to be influenced into making a specific action.

For example:

  • Think positively about your brand
  • Buy more of your stuff
  • Hire you for a killer job
  • Make love to you in a Ford Cortina

And before you climb up to the pulpit to proclaim sex has nothing to do with social media or influence or persuasion. You may want to look at the fundamental nature of human beings.

I thought about this as Tina Jonasen questioned me on twitter.

@lyndoman Just wondering; you say you are a “Link Builder”, but follows nobody? Maybe I´m confused between Link- & RelationshipBuilder !?

Which is an interesting question.

Humans are those who link, therefore relationships are very useful. I tweeted back a few thoughts.

@ThinkInNewAreas A link can be a result of a human relationship built on following someone on Twitter but it’s not an effective or efficient

@ThinkInNewAreas The, “shall I link to this webpage” thought process only sometimes has a “does this person follow me on twitter” component

@ThinkInNewAreas Also, I want to suggest, it’s not about “relationships”, it’s about influence. Relationship is merely a stepping stone.

I think people get wrapped up too easily in the “relationship” part of social media. Which is perfectly understandable, but you have to step back and ask, “what am I doing here?”

“What is my social media strategy?”

It will stop you building relationships with the wrong people or spending all morning trading pictures of kittens who look like members of the Royal family.

Not following anyone on Twitter is a very interesting thing to do, as it removes a sedentary proclivity (natural urge to sit on your arse and be spoon fed information) and go on the hunt for useful bits of info.

It also highlights a few other things, which I may talk about later.

Getting Ruthless with Information Overload

This may be hard for some to understand.

But, I am going to stop following everyone on my main Twitter account.

There are a number of reasons for this and a number of advantages.

Of course there will be some disadvantages

  • Some people will get the hump and stop following me
  • I might miss out on a tasty morsel of info
  • I get behind in SEO gossip

I don’t mind if some people stop following me, as I will be using my Twitter account other than to get people to follow me on Twitter. As I have numerous searches and lists running on Tweetdeck I can still be plugged in to needed information whilst reducing distraction.

I use RSS feeds a lot and use Reader on my iPhone to make sure I get enough tasty morsels to keep me fed.

SEO gossip, doesn’t pay the rent and it can seriously suck up time.

I think I joined Twitter back in 2007, and to keep using it in the same way I used it then is nuts, because my business model has changed. And so the way I use Twitter must also change. I now run a large team of link builders and offer a specific link building service to clients which takes up a lot of time.

Distraction is a big problem for me and I score high on ADD tests, so I have to work hard to reduce the possible distractions and get RUTHLESS.

As tweeting is no longer something I need to cultivate to generate new business or do a spot of brand building, it diminishes in its ability to justify itself in the current form I use it.

So, I am going to dump all followers and use it in a more focussed form, which will probably be more conversational and reach out to new networks and new people.

I would only advise others to do this if it fits with your business model.

My tweets will be ripe and full of juice and if you are in the business of SEO, online marketing, social media etc. It will still be worthwhile to follow me.

But if not, no probs.

After all, it’s only business ;)

ps. If you think it feels like you work for Twitter, rather than getting Twitter to work for you, you may want to have a long, ruthless, think about this.