When you make a point of tracking trends and news in an industry like we do at This Week in Blogging, you're always on the lookout for stories or ideas that hit a little different.
We try to make sure we're focusing on things that would cause the average content creator to at least raise an eyebrow, and we think today's feature effectively passes that litmus test.
Introducing Minus, the "social network" that aims to ask users to consider when less is more, and more is less.
Is Minus a Network, a Statement, or Both?
The brainchild of Minus is Ben Grosser, an artist and professor of New Media at the University of Illinois. For years, he's been developing software and tactics to, in effect, disrupt social media.
A recent article from Ocula notes some of his past exploits, mentioning that he's created software in the past that "strips away the number of followers and likes from Facebook and Instagram...(has) created low-EQ code that responds to your friends' posts with random emojis. And he's found a way to break the highly-touted TikTok algorithm."
In late summer, a gallery in London put on Ben's first show entitled Software for Less, and the exhibition is centred around Minus.
Clotmag notes that Minus is "an experiment to see what happens when the social media model of more is turned on its head."
How Exactly Does Minus Work?
It's actually quite straightforward.
Once you sign up, you get 100 posts, and that's really it.It's called a "finite social network" in that you can post whenever you want, and reply to posts as often as you like, but when you reach zero, you can't post anymore.
In a move that many feel is a direct jab at modern social media, the feed is organized chronologically, not algorithmically.
The feed is void of any flash whatsoever, and reminds us most of a black and white version of Twitter.
What's the Point?
That's a question that a lot of people are asking. It's actually been surprisingly popular in a time when many people are a little tired of feeling duped by Big Social, or feeling used as a pawn for profit in someone else's game.
Minus is, in a way, the essence of counter culture. It invites you to use social media as a way of investigating if you should lose social media.
"Post timestamps are vague. Nothing is monetized. There are no likes or follows or noisy notifications. The site’s only visible metric counts down, showing how many posts each user has remaining.
How disorienting will it be to interact on a platform that doesn’t try to induce endless engagement from your every waking second? What will you say—or make—when freed from infinite demand? Just like life, Minus has limits. Try it out today and see what online interaction feels like on a social network designed for less."
This isn't a network that will further your professional ambitions by any means, but it is an awfully interesting piece of food for thought that we wanted to let you know about. As always, feel free to reply to this email and share your thoughts!
Oh Q4, you really are the most wonderful time of the year.
Between the spike in seasonal traffic in many niches, premium ad rates around Black Friday and the holiday season, and of course a mad selection of deals in the affiliate world, there is a lot to get excited about this time of year as a blogger no matter what niche you're in.
On the ad front in particular, Jeremy has seen a 55-75% increase in ad rates from October 1 to Black Friday and a sustained 30-40% uplift throughout the month of December as well (via Mediavine). Suffice it to say, there is some serious money likely to come in just a few short weeks.
So, what can you do to prep now to get prepared for the surge that is to come? We've got a few ideas!
If you write seasonal content specifically around the holidays, start planning your ideas now and even begin publishing if you can. Every extra day getting indexed in Google can go a long way come peak Q4.
Go through your ad settings and ensure you're at the best density that you can tolerate. Perhaps even consider increasing ad density to lean into the rise in RPMs (you can always change it back in Q1).
Are you in the affiliate marketing game? Start making a list of products you may want to feature, join affiliate programs if you aren't already in them, and start watching out for published deals to share.
Run through a site audit to ensure everything is running smoothly for site speed, broken links, and other general user experience considerations. The more you can keep a user on your page, the better.
Start making a list of posts to share on social media, in your newsletter, and via other marketing outlets to ensure your most popular content goes out around the holidays. More traffic = more money if you have ads!
Do you have anything you do special to prepare for Q4? We'd love to hear about it. Just reply back to this email to share!
That's it for the week! Check your inbox next week for another update from This Week in Blogging.
As always, if you have any questions, comments, or feedback, feel free to reply directly to this email. Jeremy is going out of the country for the first time in nearly 600 days to spend the next 2 1/2 weeks drinking all the Port in Portugal, so Chris will be manning the email account for the next few weeks.
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