Give lots of damns

I have watched this YouTube video by Alexis Ohanian, one of the founders of Reddit, called “Give a Damn. Give Lots of Damns.” It’s about startups, but as I am discovering with a lot of things about startups, there is so much insight here about the basic approach to doing business as an underdog that can be applied to a great many other things. I’m involved in some of these things; I desperately hope to get a shot at some others. But there’s a lot to learn here in 21 minutes; it’s not necessarily a checklist of things you can do to suddenly be successful, but it gives you insight into the mindset of the people who are coming up with these ways to build love for their companies and products.

Social Media Checklist

So back in November I started this social media checklist that was supposed to be my “do this every day” list to help me show up and get things done with my various social presences. It’s been modestly successful, in that I’m aware of it every day. I set high goals for myself, and after about six weeks of trying this that’s showing through. I started with eight daily items, and I deleted two of them today; one was just a mistake to include, because my usage of that particular service (Pocket, which I really enjoy) to justify having it be on a daily checklist, and one other was probably a legitimate goal that I’m honestly making a conscious effort to not do. So it had to go. Of the others:

• 1 photo on Instagram: 6 of 11 days in December; 14 of 24 days in November (I started the checklist on the 7th)
• 3 updates on Facebook: 7 of 11 days in December; 16 of 24 days in November
• 10 tweets: 7 of 11 days in December; 13 of 24 days in November
• reply to 5 tweets: 7 of 11 days in December; 12 of 24 days in November
• 5 shares on Pinterest: 2 of 11 days in December; 16 of 24 days in November
• post on this blog: 4 of 24 days in November; 4 of 11 days in December
The checklist has increased my participation on Instagram; mostly, when I’m taking a photo to share I’m making a concerted effort to use Instagram rather than just taking a photo with my Camera app and then sharing it from Camera Roll.
Three updates to Facebook is an aggressive goal for most days, but I would guess this usage is about the same as it was before the list. I’m being pretty lax with that; for example, if I take an Instagram pic and share it on Facebook, I’m counting it in both places. Cheating? Maybe, but it’s content that ends up on Facebook so I can justify it.
The checklist has driven me to be far more active on Twitter. With Twitter’s blink-and-you-miss-it nature, it was becoming incredibly easy to just skip it altogether. Still, 10 tweets can be tough on some days, especially depending on my load at work (which is where I primarily use Twitter; I still haven’t found a flow that works for me to really stay engaged with it on my phone. I just need to cull a ton of the 500-something people I’m following, I think).
The “reply to five Tweets” goal was odd from the start, but I wanted to have that in there to force me to engage rather than just vomiting out 10 tweets and calling it good. For the most part I’m keeping pace, but I’m pretty generous with what I consider to be a “reply,” too.
You can see my participation on Pinterest has dropped off the cliff in December. This was honestly the easiest thing to  keep updated (and it shows by keeping up with Facebook in November), but lately I am just bored silly with Pinterest — I’ve reached the point that I don’t feel like seeking out new stuff to follow, and even in the “explore” sections there’s nothing new. It’s all the same garbage, over and over and over. I barely pay attention to it any more; maybe I’ll go back to it, but that 2-out-of-11 ratio for December is likely to get significantly worse before it gets better.
And then there’s posts on this blog. That’s been terrible. But I’m starting to get back into a groove with that as well, I think. The “show up every day” for this is difficult, for some reason. There are days I honestly don’t know what I’d write, and those are the days I need to make the greatest effort to show up and get something in here.

Grad school update

Eight classes, 4.0 intact. Three classes to go and a paper to finish, and a master’s degree is in the bag. Somebody punch me in the temple if I start talking about a doctorate or an MBA.

WordPress 3.5 update

A very cool thing in the WordPress 3.5 update? The “link to existing content” dialog box in the link control. That is an extremely clever, and extremely useful, addition. Promote your own content.

Andy Bartlett

By day, I am the executive director of communications and marketing at Bemidji State University. The rest of the time, I'm a husband, father of three, and proponent of super heroes, lasers, space ships and explosions.

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