Friday, June 18, 2010

500th post a good time to reflect on the future of TNM

It may not be a nice round number like 100 or 1000, but 500 is not bad either. According to Blogger, this is the 500th post I've written here at Talking New Media. Some bloggers involved with media haven't written 500 posts in the two or three years they've existed, but after less than one-half year I've hit the 500 mark. Unfortunately, unlike Demand Media, Google doesn't pay you by the post.

Talking New Media was launched for a number of reasons, but the biggies are: 1) researching stories for TNM keeps me informed about mobile and tablet publishing, as well as all the other forms of modern media; 2) just do-it-myself, experimenting with the form is the best way to learn about publishing on the fly; 3) see if it goes somewhere, job, business, etc.

In the first five months of TNM traffic numbers consistently grew 25 to 40 percent every single week. The numbers were small, but consistently grew, nonetheless. In the past five weeks it has been more hit-or-miss, starting on Memorial Day week, but the traffic numbers are still growing. Nonetheless, the media world is a small universe compared to say music, film, sports, food, or just about any other topic you can think of. Media news is, after all, just another B2B field like, say, Industrial Paint & Powder (one of the titles I used to publish at Cahners back in the day). I don't feel like 1 million uniques is really in the cards, you know?

So here we are at post number 500 and the question is this: is Talking New Media worth continuing? If comments were a good measure of reader involvement I'd definitely say "no". I get far more comments that I delete before they ever make it onto the site than those I publish (that guy selling cellphone is sure persistent, though). But I notice that most of the B2B media sites get practically no comments, as well. Even the Ning site set up by Folio: is practically dead. (It was a great idea but media people just don't talk to each other much unless it is another conference in a warm weather location where they talk only as a way of wasting time before happy hour.) So I don't take the lack of comments too personally, though I think a business site for media is definitely less likely to get feedback than an editorial site. Reporters and editors are more likely to want to take about things than sales people and publishers. Besides, just about anyone still with a job in media doesn't really want to say what's on their minds -- not in this employment environment.

Then there is advertising. Do you know how hard it is to give away ads? I've offered a few mobile app companies free ads when I first started TNM just so I would have some relevant ads on the site. No use, and probably a bad idea anyway. Start by charging, that's the lesson to be learned.

So the question is wither TNM? I'll make that decision over the next couple of weeks, and even though I know it is probably a waste of time to ask, if you have an opinion on the question let me know -- either in comments, via IM or whatever (see the contact page).