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Troy

Thumper's Corner on Life Support - Why?

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Well Thumpers Corner and the rest of the AALBC.com’s discussion boards can't survive without people to contribute to the conversation.

It seems the additional features did not help increase participation a lick. At first I thought the Facebook and other social media platforms syphoned off some of our long term contributors. But I did some research and here is what I found:

  • Thumper stopped reading
  • lambd went completed the final surgery for gender reassigmnet is now actually awoman
  • Carey is now blogging fill time for the Huffington Post
  • ABM ran off with his 18 year Swedish Au Pair after being rejected by...
  • kola_boof, who is now back on her meds and has fully reintegrated her numerous personalities. She lives in suburban Maryland, pledged Delta, drives a 5 series Beamer and is engaged to a Baptist minister.
  • Ferociouskitty got tamed by...
  • ntfs_encryption, and are both living in a commune, off the grid, somewhere in southern Alabama.
  • mzuri is looking for sock puppets elsewhere on the Internet
  • yvettep is a in Cuba writing a revolutionary manifesto
  • schakspir now posts on Black Planet where he is the relationship expert
  • doberman23 is now helping Sarah Palin garner the Black vote
  • serenasailor
  • brownbeauty123
  • urban_scribe
  • moonsigns




Hey anyone care to continue or update the the list with more up to date information ;)

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•serenasailor is hoping the clip he posted on YouTube make him famous like the tenant in the projects who had his TV interview turned into a rap video.

•brownbeauty123 is undergoing a make-over by having her breasts implants removed and her hair extensions taken out.

•urban_scribe is hard at work on the secret expose she is writing which will blow the lid off of the E-Book industry.

•moonsigns is seeking a divorce from her black husband who she discovered was having an affair with an Asian stripper.

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Guest soul sisterB

Hey Y'all,

I am a lurker - I have stopped posting when the Board became contentious. I like debate in a reasonable and polite matter - but all the vitriol was too much for me. I loved to read the comments by Thumper and others on the books they read - and I appreciate you Troy for adding other rooms for commentary on current events. In the end, I LOVE books by and about BLACK people - all the fussing and carrying on - is something I cannot stomach - back to the shadows.

Soul Sister

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Hey Y'all,

I am a lurker - I have stopped posting when the Board became contentious. I like debate in a reasonable and polite matter - but all the vitriol was too much for me. I loved to read the comments by Thumper and others on the books they read - and I appreciate you Troy for adding other rooms for commentary on current events. In the end, I LOVE books by and about BLACK people - all the fussing and carrying on - is something I cannot stomach - back to the shadows.

Soul Sister

"When was this board NOT contentious?

And why is it that Black people object to discussion on a discussion site?

I admit I am at fault--lots of times I forget that people are on the web because they can't handle real life, real face to face down and dirty dealing with people. Cussing and fussing and playing the dozens.

Get off the web and walk around and interact. Then some words typed on a site won't disturb you so much, I think--

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Well Thumpers Corner and the rest of the AALBC.com’s discussion boards can't survive without people to contribute to the conversation.

It seems the additional features did not help increase participation a lick. At first I thought the Facebook and other social media platforms syphoned off some of our long term contributors. But I did some research and here is what I found:

  • Thumper stopped reading
  • lambd went completed the final surgery for gender reassigmnet is now actually awoman
  • Carey is now blogging fill time for the Huffington Post
  • ABM ran off with his 18 year Swedish Au Pair after being rejected by...
  • kola_boof, who is now back on her meds and has fully reintegrated her numerous personalities. She lives in suburban Maryland, pledged Delta, drives a 5 series Beamer and is engaged to a Baptist minister.
  • Ferociouskitty got tamed by...
  • ntfs_encryption, and are both living in a commune, off the grid, somewhere in southern Alabama.
  • mzuri is looking for sock puppets elsewhere on the Internet
  • yvettep is a in Cuba writing a revolutionary manifesto
  • schakspir now posts on Black Planet where he is the relationship expert
  • doberman23 is now helping Sarah Palin garner the Black vote
  • serenasailor
  • brownbeauty123
  • urban_scribe
  • moonsigns




Hey anyone care to continue or update the the list with more up to date information ;)

(I've told you you need to make efforts to get new blood on the site. Go on somebody else's site and steal some of their posters. Offer prizes. Make false promises. Show a little cheesecake. Or beefcake.

Get some of those New Yawk celebrities that you jingle in your pocket like so many pieces of silver to come in.

Imagine if you got Idris Elba to come on a couple of times. That would get the rubes!

You have some other problems, too. One is this is a reading site. Readers are a cowardly and superstitious lot---wait a minute. That's what Bruce Wayne said when he was deciding to be Batman. Strike that.

It deals with books. Books ain't hot. Movies are hot. Gossip is hot. Sports is hot.

But also, let's face it--from what I have seen on the web what happens is a site starts up and people are hot on it. Then, folks drift away. Some are mad. Some are bored. Some start getting laid again.

Almost every site I started posting on when I first started up is gone or moribund.

You got these new things that came up. Tweets. Twitter. Facebook. I don't fool with them because I would just say the same things I say here. Plus, they are they enemy of God.

You could get more out of Thumper. He could come on more.

You got to get hot. Find out a way to get them HITS, baby!

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Soulsister, I appreciate that you don't have the "stomach" for this and your lurking is alright with me. However, the problem is that posting has dropped off. If this continues your lurking will be academic... I encourage you to really support the board and post your opinions here from time to time and encourage others to do so.

Historically the level of posting varies over time but I don't recall a spell like the one we are experiencing now.

Chris I agree with much of what you wrote. I have been trying a bunch of different things.

I've initiated some provacative posts and that actully does help, but it has to be a sustainted effort. I can't do it because I just don't the time and really the inclination to post controversial shit just for the sake of generating interest or traffic.

That is what Black Planet does - and they do a great job. But AALBC.com is more about balance, and I know that balance comes at a price of lower traffic -- but that is fine with me... for now the time being.

When you or someone else posts some interesting stuff I share it with my social media, and that does help with traffic, but not so much in the participation.

In fact I would love for EVERYONE to use the social media icons (facebook, twitter, digg) to share posts with your network -- especially you lurkers! That would defintely help.

Of course books are not as hot as celebrity gossip, sex and Idris Elba [did you read about Idris' film Legacy?] but again the has always been the case and is not the cause of the current decline in participation.

Plus the most popular board posts often have to do with books. The What is Everyone Reading post has over 5,000 views -- that is a big deal. So books are a big deal -- we just need to get people to talk about them.

Yeah Thumper's participation would help a great deal, but homeboy was never really the same after the Kola worked his nerves. I saying that half in jest, but I'm sure life just happened to Thumper. Hopefully he'll come back in full force.

Chris I TRULY appreciate you contibutions over the years. I use some of your lines in my every day conversation :)

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In fact I would love for EVERYONE to use the social media icons (facebook, twitter, digg) to share posts with your network -- especially you lurkers! That would defintely help.

(Unfortunately I do not have such a network. I ain't got no blog, no web page, I aint selling an album or a book right now or anything. Plus, facebook, twitter and digg are the Enemies of God.)

I'll keep working on some ideas.

I still think if you reinvent yourself as an Ultra Conservative you might draw some heat.

Imagine if you file an essay attacking the Emancipation Proclaimation! That would put you way to the right of Clarence Thomas--I think.

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Chris an author or poet (who writes or performs for profit) and does not have a web presence is a non-entity. It is like not having not having a sign on your store. Get with the program Brother!

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"I've initiated some provacative posts and that actully does help, but it has to be a sustainted effort. I can't do it because I just don't the time and really the inclination to post controversial shit just for the sake of generating interest or traffic.

That is what Black Planet does - and they do a great job."

Troy, that about says it all. There has to be a sustained effort. From what I've noticed and experienced, that effort has to come from those that have a vested interest to participate. Yesterday I was talking to a writer from Ebony magazine. He's also a major contributor.to a film blog. Like The Root, the film blog has 6-7 major players, each with their own style and unique delivery. Not only do each of them write differently, they also engage the comment section (replies) differently. One might engage the readers in a combative tone, while another might simply acknowledge the comment without a major rebuttle. Anyway, I asked him why his posts seem to attract hecklers. He said, for the most part, they do it because they know he will respond, and people love the interaction. The women seem to love sister-to-sister talk. They are generally more polite to each other. But through it all, as you said, there has to be a sustained effort (imo).

But this is what blew my mind. He said they have 150,000 readers, yet on some days, they may receive only 10 - comments. And check this, in that single day, there might have been 5-6 new posts(featured post, with images and everything), but yet, only 10 replies.

Like you and Chris mentioned, there are hot button items that are sure to bring a crowd, but at what cost?

Visuals are also a must, but you know that because you do a great job on your home page. Yet, one problem with your discussion board is location. I mean, a person has to find your board. Then the question is, why would a person take the time to search for it, or drop in? With other boards, they know exactly what they will receive because the contributing writers will be there.

In short, everything you, Chris and lurker/soul sisterB mentioned is true, however, I believe the trump card is WHAT & WHY. What's a person going to receive when they get here? And, why should they (in their mind) stop by and leave a comment?

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One more observation. A board needs moderation, and promotion. Some boards send out notices to past visitors via e-mails. Your board only does so on posts in which a person has previously left a comment..

Moderation holds down certain types of comments that tends to drive off those that do not wish to engage in wanton banter.

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Hey Carey thanks for the comments. Basically I have figure out a away to carve out the resources to do just what you suggest. I'm working on it.

10 replies against 150,000 readers or a 0.007% reaction rate (my term) is extremely low participation.

This board (the stats are public) generates reaction rates several orders of magnitude higher. It would be interesting to know how long each of those "readers" spend on the website. Are they actually reading the posts? Or just hitting the site and turning right around. If they were truly interested in the posts I have to believe they'd get at least 100 responses and a lot of buzz through social networks. Shoot, a bullshit post by a John Doe on facebook can generate 10 responses.

What is the URL of that discussion board?

We also don't get 150K daily readers -- those are great numbers.

In their case, if they are really getting that many readers a day they can generate revenue to compensate the moderators (or staff posters) and the reaction rate does not matter.

In my case, I would defintely trade off traffic (revenue) for a more lively board (higher reaction rate). It would be more fun for me, the posters and lurkers.

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Troy, I may have lowballed the number of responses. In fact, I know I did. Now this is just a quess but I'd have to move that up to 50. Now, that depends on the topic. One time they closed the comment section after 50 responses. It was a post about Tyler Perry and things got kinda heated.

But here is part of our conversation:

"Sounds simple but I think some people are pissed off that I see movies way before they do for free at press screenings while they have to pay and sit through TV commercials and rude audiences. I saw Unstoppbale two weeks ago

Also i think you're right that some people just can't take someone with a strong opinion which I find totally amazing. So what I'm supposed to keep quiet and just be nice all the time.

Also remember that we have maybe 150, 000 regular readers so a few people who may be upset with what I saw are not even the tip of the tip of the tip of the iceberg"

Troy, boards, blogs, comment sections are strange creatures. Messy gossip rules the day.... like reality TV.

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My personal complaint remains the same, Troy. Posts are not accessible enough. The overload of information interferes with the intimacy and spontaneity of the one-on-one interaction. You have to go through too much trouble to find out what somebody has said, and the last poster on a subject tends to cancel out the appearance of those who have come before him. If everything was out in the open the way it used to be, people would know who all has contributed to a thread without having to do a lot of clicking on and scrolling down. Half the posts I just happen to stumble upon and have to figure out who said what. Maybe it's just me, but -

Also, lot of time I want to solicit people's opinion about a certain subject, but then you end up feeling foolish after you pose a question and nobody reponds. As a result, I usually elect to talk to myself or, "muse", the term I use to diguise my doing this. Nothing seems to stir lurker's interest. I got the feeling that my excursions into the music of the past was boring to them.

But as long as you maintain the board, I will stop in from time to time and share my thoughts. I am currently trying to sort out my reactions over how common a practice child molestation seems to be. I guess this is something that has always gone on, but is now out in the open more. Seems like this might be an interesting subject to tackle next...

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Guest Mequel Scott

Copied from a Facebook post ironically enough, as pointed out by Troy:

I guess that's part of it. Great question by the way. The more I study how people interact with this media I look at it it as I'm interacting with it and see some gaps. I've lurked on the site for years and years and years. It was my go-to site as soon as i logged on. Such a feeling of community with other black readers. It's one that I want to actually bring into my daily reality actually through putting together a black male reading group in my city.

I found myself actually staring to post only recently when you integrated facebook on the site. I agree with Carey, the placement of one of your more popular places should be more prominent, I can remember when I was a more frequent visitor I set up the discussion group as a favorite. I don't think people will go through the trouble to do that these days with so much information being pushed to them.

It's very important that you synergize your web prescence more. I can't recall seeing the twitter account ever mentioned and I frequently read your facebook post. This would help to link your audiences and create a wave of involvement from your audiences multiple networks. Look at the the numbers that you have on facebook vs twitter. How may are missing from the other and how many are duplicated.

Thumper was a big draw. There was such a mystery behind who he was, you might want to assist him in creating an online presence. Perhaps he's the true brand behing AALBC's popularity. I'm not sure if he's something you've created or a personality that just happens to be married to the site. I don't know if you've ever read William Gibsons Pattern Recogntion, but it is a wonderful read that would give you a better feel for how to control the oceans flow that social networking is.

Question: Can it be controlled or directed? You're actually better situated than larger corporate entities because you have a connection with your audience. You need something that's called a social object to push your audience. You've already written that your audience responds to "what are you reading". Build from there with something as simple as a hashtag call #AALBCWhatIMReading or something shorter of course. But you get the idea.

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Hey Mequel, thanks for sharing on this forum. I hope you do not mind me "outing" you as a long term lurker. It will help folks understand you are not just talking out "the side of your neck"

To answer some of your question here on from Facebook:

AALBC.com has a presence on every popular social media platform. Over the past year I’ve found I’ve benefited most from Facebook. I created a facebook fanpage in March and have almost 6,000 “fans”. For the links that I track I can see about 15% are sourced from Facebook.

I do use a the twitter hash tag #readthisbook I did not invent it but I’m the biggest user of it. You can also do a twitter search on “aalbc” and see that I’ve been using that platform as well.

So far the impact of all social media combined as not exceeded the results of my eNewsletter. Also other pre-social media activities (like this discussion board are still effective). However all-in I’m reaching a larger audience and can do so more quickly with social media.

However social media and old school promotional tactics will not increase discussion board participation, compelling conversation will do this.

Thumper’s absence has hurt (Thumper is a real person, and not Troy Johnson). His passion and style of talking about books was a big draw. I miss his contributions, but his contributions here were voluntary, so he’ll participate when and if he can.

In reality, however, the Culture board was always a biggest draw in terms or readers, and contributions. I created the culture board because people were often talking about non-book related issue on the Book board (Thumper’s Corner).

The absence of some of the other regular contributors hurt as much.

--------------

Cynique, I hear you reading the user interface, but I find it much easier, but I can see where you might not see it that way. I like the way I can see very easy when and who made the last post. I can tack conversations that I care about and ignore the others.

Plus the administration is completely hands off – the other boards was a management nightmare. The application had not been upgraded in years and was really showing it’s age. The social media integration here, thought rarely used for anything other than logins, is a big plus.

But if you are having any difficulty Cynique I cant tell based upon the quality and frequency of your posts. I really enjoy your musings, the video retrospectives, occasional book reviews and not to mention your regular dressing down of Chris.

Cynique next time you muse press the little facebook icon, maybe some of your facebook friends will come by read you post and potentially contribute.

--------------

At the end of the day, the board will thrive, languish or die based, not based upon three things; (1) visitors/lurkers (2) contributors/posters and (3) completing interactions/conversations.

You can survive with two of the above or even one for a while but you need to have all three to thrive.

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Chris an author or poet (who writes or performs for profit) and does not have a web presence is a non-entity. It is like not having not having a sign on your store. Get with the program Brother!

(Everybody ain't on the web.

In fact all the FOR REAL people despise and avoid the web.

Contemplate all this on the tree of woe...)

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Troy, in reference to e-mail notifications, I just received the following(Nov 12th). I don't know how or why they chose certain ones but the following is an example.

[The Root]

Subject:Latest News: Disagreeing on 'For Colored Girls;' Plus, Rebecca Walker on How to Fix Obama's Problems.

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Chris you are right, everyone ain't on the web. And if they are starting out they are at a serious disadvantage today, 'cause MANY other poets and authors are.

I'm sure there are also many extraodinary poets and authors, not online, but you and I will never learn about them and they will not attract a large audience in today's world, because they are not online.

It is 2011 Chris get the lead out and catch up with the rest of us.

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