About
2008-06-12

Entrecard Burnout, Turnover, and Its Soaring Future  

I first posted the following in the Entrecard Forums a few days ago:

"When I first showed up here in late December there was a core group of Entrecarders who frequented the forums and were the "regulars." Most of those folks don't participate anymore, and I've now seen another generation of regulars come and go. Sometimes it is related to burnout, sometimes they get irked at the latest round of changes, but it really doesn't matter why they leave, the point is they leave and Entrecard survives without them. I'll bet that some of the folks who have commented in this thread will be done with Entrecard within the next 30 days...but another 1000 will have taken their place. This place continues to change and the Entrecard you joined is not the Entrecard you will leave.

The fact remains that Entrecard is a tool that a blogger can use to build their readership and Graham is trying valiantly to turn the community into something unique that goes beyond just a being a traffic exchange. Whatever action he takes is guaranteed to irk hundreds of Entrecarders and there is no way that a consensus is going to be reached as to what changes are best. So he might as well go ahead with what he thinks will be best and keep moving forward, no matter how unpopular the changes might seem to the current regulars, because the folks who join next month won't know anything about what the norm used to be."

I guess I've signed up for over 100 of what could be called social networking sites in the past couple of years. Occasionally I have arrived after the heyday, like with emode.com, now called Tickle.com, part of the Monster.com family. I really liked Tickle.com but could tell that 12 months earlier would have been the time to be there to experience the highest level of site social interaction. I got in early with Twitter, only to discover what many others have discovered, that I just don't have enough friends who will care to read what I am doing at any given point during the day. I've joined Bebo, Friendster, Myspace, Tagged, Hi5, Orkut, Facebook, etc., etc., and don't use any of them on a regular basis with the the exception of Facebook.

Most social networking sites are naturally reluctant to publish user stats due to their ugliness. Sure there are 235,716,786 folks in my Myspace network, but how many use the site on a regular basis? People just like me sign up and then never go back, or stay involved long enough to determine that THIS particular social networking site is not their Utopia and off they go in search of the next new big thing. All of this is normal and to be expected with such low barriers to entry as exist in most social networking sites. Thanks to Mashable.com I've been able to get some invites to beta versions of emerging sites and have found that it still doesn't make a difference in my interest level. The truth is I'm not at all social and have little reason to network. Oh, I've tried to push some businesses via social networking sites, but in the end no one cared enough to buy anything.

My Entrecard experience has been different than that of other social networking sites, in part because the focus was on blogging more than what type of music I liked or the best sleazy pics I could publish of myself standing half-naked in front of a mirror. Don't get me wrong...I'm not really a blogger. I don't have that thing inside of me that begs to get out onto the page and shared with the rest of the world. I don't read other blogs, I rarely comment on other blogs, and my main purpose in joining Entrecard was to promote some business opportunities, which I have long since left along the side of the road. However, I have to admit that it was fun and engaging to drop cards (at least at first) and figure out how to do so in an efficient manner. Within the first couple of weeks I was an Entrecarder someone (Josh Whitford?) started selling Entrecard Credits via ebay and things got very interesting, very quickly. Before long I had started another 9+ Entrecard accounts and was on my way to being an EC vendor.

However, Entrecard is not a static entity and what was a good idea in January wasn't such a good idea in April. At one point I had 22 active Entrecard accounts and was updating them somewhat regularly. Doing so, along with trying to drop 1000+ cards a day took its toll on my passion for Entrecard and I knew I had burned out, a sentiment shared by others in the community. Some people just stopped updating their blogs or dropping cards altogether. It didn't really matter, because there were 1000s of new Entrecarders joining the ranks each month, full of interest and excitement about this new tool for promoting one's blogs. The newer guys, as I had been in late December, didn't encounter the same Entrecard that earlier members had joined. They took for granted features that we cheered about when they were finally implemented. They demanded better features and complained about the status quo, just as we had done when we were Entrenoobs. And that's when it hit me. This was a cycle that would repeat over and over again, and the only question was whether or not Graham could keep Entrecard going and growing long enough to get it off the ground and flying under its own power. Entrecarders were necessary fodder, with none being individually necessary. It doesn't really matter that the same 200 people post in the forums on a daily basis, because next year there will still be 200 people posting in the forums, even if Turnip is the only one in both groups. It really is about the community...and the fulfillment of Graham's vision.

No worries...Entrecard did for me what it was supposed to do. It gave me an opportunity to promote my blogs and gain readership, but more importantly it gave me the opportunity to see if I was a true, dedicated blogger or just a dabbler. It also let me try my hand at Internet Marketing, blog layout and design, and online interaction with others. What I learned is that I am not a true blogger, I suck at Internet Marketing, and I'm more comfortable with Blogger than Wordpress. Oh, and interaction with others? Entrecard Forum participation is a harsh reminder that the world is full of idiots and jerks and I likely only enjoy each day because I don't come into contact with the bozos that lurk in forums.

I do hope that Graham succeeds in creating an Entrecard community that endures and successfully transitions into Web 3.0, the Semantic web. And while I doubt that I will still be an active Entrecarder if and when that happens, I'll be able to say I was one of the first to be an Entrecarder, and perhaps the only one known as The Entrecarder.

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3 comments: to “ Entrecard Burnout, Turnover, and Its Soaring Future

  • Josh
    June 12, 2008 at 12:04 PM  

    I am not a 100% positive but I think I might have been the first to sell on eBay. I really was just trying to figure out how much these things (EC)were really worth. The first 10k that sold was for $61. Now about half that price.

  • DeltaP
    June 14, 2008 at 2:22 AM  

    Wow, I pretty much share the same sentiments as you. I just don't like the drama that's going on at the forums. With all of the criticising and mud throwing around, it isn't exactly a warm place to be in.

  • biz beacon
    June 14, 2008 at 5:28 AM  

    Delta,

    Unfortunately, I was a part of the fray for a bit, forgetting that there are those who live for confrontation and contention, and that I have my less-than-finer moments at times. The nature of written communication lends itself to easy misunderstanding as we often read into others' statements something that didn't exist. Based on recent comments by Phirate, I am confident that order will be restored and the Entrecard forums will return to being a friendly and helpful place to interact and to learn & share how best to benefit from being an Entrecarder. Thanks for you comment!

 
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