Geez, it’s almost been 4 months since I last posted something here. Shame on me.
This blog isn’t dead and neither will it be. I’ve just been busy with a lot of client projects, redesigning my company websites, fiddling with other projects as well as talking to a lot of people with interesting ideas.
How this blog will change
In January I’ll redesign this blog from scratch and completely change the focus of it.
This blog started out as a way for me to share stuff about my trip to Australia with my family and friends. Gradually it started to more and more revolve around social media, twitter and my Twitter application. One key thing I learned in the last few months is that a blog isn’t about you – it’s about your readers.
As a proof of this, the undoubtedly most popular content on this blog has revolved around Twitter and Social Media. And not directly shocking, the least popular content has been about my specific life.
The Quest for Freedom
So — in January this blog will focus on a mission, a quest, that I guess a lot of us are pursuing — the Quest for Freedom.
Freedom (and specifically the freedom of time, choice and place) has always been my primary goal. Unlike a lot of my friends and my family, I’ve never, ever, felt that an ordinary job, and in extent an ordinary life, is something that I would ever feel happy with pursuing. I’ve been self-employed my entire life and I wouldn’t change it for the world.
Even though I’m self-employed, I still haven’t attained the freedom I desire. I might have achieved the freedom of time to one extent (I do my consulting from home and I choose when I want to work) but I’m still far away from having as much freedom of choice as well as freedom of place (I’m still stuck in Sweden, duh) as I’m striving for.
Next year I’m going to put a lot of effort into transforming my business as well as my life. I’m going to transform my company from a software consulting company into a company that creates highly scalable and valuable products and solutions. I’ve slowly started to implement my plan for this but the most substantial changes will probably happen next year.
As you probably can imagine, one aspect of this blog will thus be a chronicle of my personal quest for freedom. I will as transparently as possible tell you what I’ve done, the results I’ve got — and if the results are awesome — how you could go about replicating them.
To put this into a clear context, here are a few subjects that I’ll frequently write about as soon as I’ve launched the new blog:
- Social Media – Social Media has inevitably proven to be a topic my visitors love to read about.
- Entrepreneurship – Tips and golden nuggets on how you can get started on your entrepreneurial journey.
- Internet Marketing – I’m spending a lot of time testing various internet marketing methods right now and if everything goes as planned, a substantial part of my income will be generated by Internet marketing projects by the end of next year. I’ll share the methods I use and the results I get with you.
- E-commerce – I’ll probably partner up with a great company next year and set up an e-commerce operation. As I’m kinda new to e-commerce, this will be a great learning experience as well as something you can use as a resource if you’re thinking of setting up your on shop.
- Outsourcing – One goal I’ve set for me personally for the next year is to do more outsourcing and stop being so micro-managing-esque. If you’re thinking of doing the same, you’ll obviously pick up a few tips and tricks from my trial and error.
- Traveling – I’ll still keep a journal of the traveling I do (I do believe people like to read about new and exciting places) and share tips of stuff I’ve learned while traveling.
Since we’re living in the age of Social Media and User Generated Content, I’ll try as much as possible to turn this blog into a communications platform where you as readers can connect and empower each other. One quite obvious idea is to set up a forum, but I’m also thinking of other ways to enable you as a reader to participate in a discussion rather than just reading a blog post.
Another thing that I’d also like to change is the source of the content for this blog. Inevitable I’ll be responsible for the majority of the content, but I’m going to work on getting content from awesome ‘guest bloggers’ (I’ll also do some blogging on other blogs) as well as publishing some golden info nuggets from my readers. If you’re setting up a related blog and want to cooperate on some material, shoot me an e-mail and we’ll work something out.
Tweet-o-matic — What’s going on?
First of all, I’m really thankful for all the comments you’ve made about Tweet-o-matic as well as your interest.
One thing I’ve decided in the past few months is that I will not launch the application as Tweet-o-matic. First of all, the word ‘tweet’ might eventually be trademarked by Twitter and secondly, a name like that would pretty much target the platform to exclusively use Twitter. The new name for the project is Socialize and this is mainly because the platform also will feature other social media outlets (Plurk, Identica etc.) further down the road.
I wish that I could say when I’m able to release it but unfortunately I’m not in a position to do so. There’s just too much uncertainty right now regarding a few projects I might start working on.
I’ll keep you posted on the progress though!
All right, I know I suck at updating this blog but I’ve been working hard on Tweet-o-matic. I’ve still got loads and loads to do before I can release a beta, but here are at least two teasers:
So what do you think? Does it look like something that could be useful to you?
If you’ve been on Twitter for a while you’ve probably received the following spam-esque auto-direct message:
Want to know how to get 16,000 Followers in 90 days, and make money doing it? http://urlshortener.com/random-gibberish
— Random douchebag
If you follow the provided link you’ll end up at The Twitter Traffic Machine (my affiliate link – sponsor me with a cup of coffee if you’re going to get it anyway) which is an info product by @BillCrosby and some random dude about getting a lot of followers. After watching their video I just started asking myself why I didn’t do what they’re doing – If they can do it, so can I.
How I did it
Since I’m a pretty awesome programmer and since I’ve been keen on playing around with the Twitter API for a while I decided to hack something up myself rather than buy their product. So about 20 days ago I started to play around with the Twitter API to see what I could come up with.
After playing around with it for a day I managed to implement functionality to copy the followers from a specific user and follow these users, copy followers from search results and unfollow all those who didn’t reciprocate my follow. These functions are the core functions I use to improve my follower count.
What I usually do is to go to the article ‘Top 237 Twitter Users Who Will Follow You Back‘, find a user with similar interests and a lot of followers and copy his or hers followers. I’ll wait a few hours or even a day and then I unfollow all people who didn’t reciprocate my follow. Rinse and repeat, rinse and repeat.
The whole process actually started out kinda slow, adding about 10-30 followers per day. Then it climbed to a few hundred followers, and now recently I’ve had days where I could get like 1,000-2,000 new followers per day. See my awesome chart at TwitterCounter for more details.
Providing value (on auto-pilot)
Another crucial ingredient in the secret sauce is the auto-posting of tweets. If you follow me you’ll probably see that there will be posts from my account each and every hour (that is, as long as my app is running).
So what’s going on? I’ve programmed my little nifty app to fetch rss-feeds (pretty much like twitterfeed.com) and automatically post these items at certain times (usually every 15 or 30 minutes). I usually get my feeds from http://delicious.com/popular/insert-tag-here (for example: http://delicious.com/popular/seo) and my app will create a tweet using the title of the feed item (shortens it if necessary), a url shortened version of the feed item url and hash tags if available.
It also supports quotes and stuff – we all love those right? I also use Google Blog Search for other accounts I’m playing around with where there usually aren’t a lot of relevant information available via delicious.
And oh, if you’ve been following my account for a while I guess you occasionally have seen that I’ve posted the same piece of information twice (or even thrice) sometimes. My app keeps track of what it already has posted, but from time to time (I’m still experimenting and developing this Twitter app you know) I have to re-initialize my database and the posting history will be erased. The version of the app I’ll release (more on this later in this post) will accurately keep track of what’s been posted and not post duplicate content.
Why having a lot of followers is a good thing
Even though this might be obvious to some, I didn’t realize this until I did this little experiment. I’ve actually been a member of Twitter since the 12th of December 2007. From that point to the 24th of March this year I’ve had a maximum of 50-60 followers. I didn’t really care about Twitter then and if it wasn’t for all the hype about Twitter right now – I still wouldn’t care about Twitter.
Back then I could look at accounts with heaps and heaps of followers and wonder what the point with that was. How would they be able to interact with all those thousands of followers? But you know what, it’s way better to interact with someone rather than no one. Having a maximum of 50 followers didn’t lead to a lot of conversations, neither did it enable me to find interesting and valuable information other people would tweet about.
Since I started experimenting with this I’ve actually gotten a job offer via Twitter and I’ve also come in contact with a lot of interesting people whom, if they haven’t proven to be already, will prove to be beneficial to me in some point in time. Twitter’s a really fun tool for me right now (read: addictive) and it’s all because I decided to extend my network.
Before you start – I know what I’ve been doing is a semi-relatively bad thing to do. There are a lot of sincere people on Twitter that want to build their network organically and who are really into building long-lasting relationships with their followers – and here I am auto-following and auto-unfollowing people from left to right just to make a point.
I really do try to engage people on Twitter (I’m actually a really nice guy) but sometimes it’s just hard to keep track of everything when you get like 100-200 new tweets every 5 seconds.
I initially also thought that auto-posting links and quotes was a bad thing to do because I didn’t do it “myself”. But if you look at it from a different perspective, I’m actually providing lots of value to people. According to Retweetrank and Retweetist a lot of people actually appreciate the content.
Tweet-o-matic – reproduce my results
Despite my little ethics rant above, I’m actually going to release my twitter app so that other people can reproduce my results. I feel that a lot of people could find this tool valuable and that it would enable them to establish a great network on Twitter.
Unfortunately, I can’t say when it’s going to be released (I have to rewrite the backend, build the web gui etc. – and I’ve already got loads of stuff to do) but what I can say is that it’s going to be released using a software-as-a-service freemium model. If that’s total mumbo-jumbo to you, it means that there will be one free basic version (with a limited feature set) and several versions that you have to pay for to use (the more you pay – the more features you’ll have access to).
I’ll be posting my progress with Tweet-o-matic here on my blog, so be sure to subscribe to my rss-feed if you’re interested in this app.
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