For the last month (since October 26, 2016), I’ve been running an experiment to see if the following project would have any impact:
I listen to .NET Rocks! to keep up with what’s going on with .NET development. The episodes are about 50 minutes each, and are very well done; however, there are occasions when I’d just like to know the highlights. If I have the time, I may go back and listen to the whole conversation and dig deeper. Therefore, I’m trying a TL;DL (too long, didn’t listen) format here on my blog.
It dawned on me that providing summaries for shows I’m already listening to could be a way to give back to the community. (The shows used to have transcripts, but I think with three shows a week, their production staff probably could not realistically keep up.) We’ll see where this goes!
I committed myself to keeping the project going for 1 month, and then I would evaluate things to see what (if anything) came out of it. (Note: I was not asked by anyone to do this project, and I was not compensated in any way for my efforts.)
- Save people time by having the information of an hour-long podcast summarized into a text format that can be consumed in less than 10 minutes
- Get feedback from the hosts (Carl Franklin and Richard Campbell) to find out if these summaries would be useful to them (e.g., helps promote the show and its guests)
- Get feedback from the guests to see if this helps promote them and the knowledge they share with the community
In short, I want to know if this project is of (enough) use to the community.
My main means of promotion was by tweeting the link to the show. Where possible I would mention the guest via their Twitter handle so they could be notified of its existence. There are also a handful of subscribers to my blog, either via e-mail or through RSS readers.
- Impressions — number of Twitter views as measured by Twitter
- Clicks — number of click-throughs to the post itself from the tweet
- Retweets — number of times the tweet was retweeted
- Likes — number of times the tweet with link was liked
- Hits — number of page views according to WordPress
- Time spent — number of minutes spent creating the post content
- Guest engagement? — whether or not I got any response from the show guest
These were the values near the end of the day on November 27, 2016:
|Show||Impressions||Clicks||Retweets||Likes||Hits||Time Spent||Guest Engagement?|
|1366 (Angular 2 docs)||66||1||0||0||4||94||No|
|1367 (WiX Toolset)||522||8||3||0||22||120||Yes|
|1368 (Azure API management)||140||6||0||1||11||131||Yes|
|1369 (Web accessability)||91||0||0||1||6||117||Yes|
|1370 (data lakes)||75||0||0||1||1||151||Liked tweet|
|1371 (.NET Standard)||76||0||0||0||5||140||No|
|1373 (DC lighting geek out)||71||0||0||0||4||165||No|
|1375 (mobile dev with F#)||968||16||2||5||33||112||Yes|
|1376 (Connect debrief)||46||0||0||0||7||150||No|
|1377 (marking .NET)||59||0||0||0||1||151||No|
|1378 (science of great UI)||377||5||1||5||7||132||Yes|
|1379 (SQL choices)||62||0||0||1||0||133||No|
Based on the quantitative and qualitative feedback I’ve obtained, I have decided to discontinue this project. Personally, I’ve invested 30 hours of my discretionary time this past month on a project with a lukewarm response. I believe it was a net-positive outcome; the magnitude of that positive amount is not enough to sustain the effort, though.
Checking in with my goals…
- Save people time: Unclear whether this goal was met.
- Get feedback from the show hosts: Not met.
- Get feedback from the show guests: Somewhat met. There were fewer than 5 guests that thanked me for my work; I made sure to reach out to those individuals afterward. For all 14 posts, only 50% responded at all to the tweet about their show.
Some other things I learned:
- Of the more specific feedback (e.g., something other than a simple Like or Retweet), I received several compliments on the quality of the summaries. (Note-taking is something I would call a strength in my book; so this feedback was useful to let me know those skills are still sharp.)
- Having to listen more attentively and find links to topics mentioned on the show helped me engage with the content more deeply.
- This may seem like a no-brainer, but marketing is key. The two most popular posts were retweeted to well over 1000 followers of well-respected people in the industry. Word-of-mouth marketing is quite powerful.
In closing, I think the biggest nail in the coffin was that I received no feedback from the hosts — positive or negative. I would have accepted any range of responses from “please stop stalking us” to “can we please pay you to do this.”
Next month (December 2016), I’ll be using my discretionary time toward getting ready for next quarter’s group fitness programs that I teach. Although fitness is not my career, I’m more directly able to see the impact of my work on those whom I teach and connect with in my classes. Perhaps 2017 will present opportunities for me to use my skills to make an impact on the technology community. I look forward to finding out!