Sunday, June 3, 2007

Experiment in social free-ness

I've been pimping TaleWeaver, my creativity/storytelling book/game for some time now. Between the newer one (which is better) on Lulu, and the one that got up on Amazon through no fault of my own a few years back, I've sold about 50 of the things, netting around $200. Which ain't bad, considering I created the game as a personal gift for my wife and son. That dough just about paid for the sets I personally had printed/cut at Kinkos a few years ago for friends.

Clearly, though, I did not do it for the money. And I'm getting into some social spaces to see what kinds of benefits they have. At this point, here are my findings:

  • MySpace: I can't keep it up enough for it to matter. I've got multiple blogs on my own, and blogging from MySpace seems... odd to me. Maybe I'll try just copying my posts from here, but that also seems lame. I really tried to get into some groups, but the ones that have anything interesting in terms of content have enormous numbers of users, and the signal-to-noise ratio is huge. I don't have enough friends that use MySpace to make the "wall-to-wall" form of communication any kind of meaningful, though I can see how it would be for someone whose buddies are all in the space. Mostly I get random friend invites from strippers and bands. None of whom return my calls...

  • LinkedIn: I've been using this site longer than any of the others. I have 67 direct connections as of the moment, all of whom I can actually claim to have known in real life or to have met online (eLationships). As of yet, it has been entirely worthless to me. I tried, several times, in my full-time consulting days, to establish clients or partners for projects. Some were in that first circle, some were one-step away, requiring an intro. Nothing came of any of it.

  • Facebook: I've been on Facebook the least amount of time... and it is proving to be the most interesting to me. Why? Because I have connections there both from work (OCLC) and where I teach (CCAD). I've actually had days where I get two or three pings from the network, and I'm enjoying the kind of "casual / formal" feel. It's formal, because everyong there has a current, meaningful reason to be connected. Casual, because not all the messages and moments are related to work/business, as is the case with LinkedIn.

So... Since I'm getting value from my Facebook account, I'm trying an experiment: I'm putting value back in. I found a widget that lets you upload files to your Facebook page. So I've put a free, PDF version of the TaleWeaver book and cards up there for download by anyone in my networks. And I put an ad stating such in the Facebook marketplace.

I'm testing to see if it does one of three things: 

  1. Makes people happy to get a free download of something they find even marginally interesting.
  2. Gets me more Facebook friends.
  3. Moves more copies of TaleWeaver from my Lulu store.
I'm not really counting on any of this. I hope #1 happens, at least. I'll report back later on the others if anything of note happens.

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