Why you should avoid the techno-utopian fantasyland.

Screen Shot 2015-05-02 at 11.13.39 PM

It’s been a bad week 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 independant pro blogging) isn’t so much anymore.

Across town, Twitter just lost billions of dollars in market cap, for pretty similar reasons i.e. 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, e-mail is 40 TIMES as effective as social media for acquiring customers as Twitter and Facebook combined.

My own experience with my company, Gapingvoid using Mailchimp would confirm this. SethGodin also backs this up, citing the new online course he was selling recently

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 machine out there that automatically gives you money every time your stuff gets retweeted over 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 gets slushier by the day.

The way to avoid this sad state of affairs, of course, is to have a real product and a real business 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 rather have you buy into.

Which is the whole Copyblogger schtick. Not sexy compared to those other sites, maybe…

But who cares?

[This was also cross-posted on Copyblogger.com].