It’s been a bad couple of weeks for Web 2.0.
The original queen of mommy bloggers, Dooce, is retiring from blogging. And blogging’s original crown prince, Jason Kottke is having similar thoughts. For no other reason than what used to seem like a decent business model (ad-driven, independent blogging) isn’t so much anymore.
Across town, Twitter just lost billions of dollars in market cap, for pretty similar reasons — Web 2.0 just isn’t as valuable a place to spend time as it used to be.
At least, not for people hoping to make money.
According to McKinsey, “email remains a significantly more effective way to acquire customers than social media — nearly 40 times that of Facebook and Twitter combined.”
I just looked at the stats for my course. 22% of the traffic came from my blog. 74% came from email and RSS. 4% came from social media. I think showing up in a trusted way, regularly, is priceless.
And don’t talk to me about the advertising business
“It’s not the same anymore,” my very smart-but-jaded advertising friend, Jeff recently told me. “We used to want to change the world. Now we just spend our days optimizing industrially-farmed content across different platforms. Nobody actually cares. Nor should they.”
It’s utterly tragic how so many people (and businesses) hope to get rich just by getting “Internet Famous.”
Like there’s some sort of magic ATM out there that automatically gives you money every time your content gets retweeted more than 20 times. This certainly explains why so many so-called social media gurus I know are broke.
I don’t hate social media. I love posting random doodles on Instagram and nattering with my friends on Twitter and Facebook.
But as a business tool? It’s seen better days. The content blizzard has turned to slush.
A real business that serves real people
The way to avoid this sad state of affairs, of course, is to have a real business and a real product that real people have a real need for … and then content-market the hell out of it.
In other words, build your online presence around the real world, not the techno-utopian fantasyland the usual suspects would have you buy into.
Which is the whole Copyblogger schtick. Not sexy compared to those other sites, maybe …
But who cares?