I added the Performancing feed to my RSS Reader almost from the very beginning and have read and watched from the sidelines during its growth. As Fall 2006 approached I was beginning to think about contributing to the community blog. It was also at that time things began to change. The awkward silence on the blog during November and December was so thick that even as a virtual outsider I could feel the tension and the pain. I don’t need to revisit the history of the last four months. I am sure I was not alone in wishing for the best yet fearing the worst. I read through the comments of recent days and I realized how helpful Performancing had been to so many people, myself included.
Now that Performancing has had its white water period, what will be the key to Perfomancing’s success?
1) User Contributions – Nick has already brought back the ability for community members to contribute to the Performancing blog. The future of Performancing exists in its ability to continue to provide quality content to help bloggers succeed. Nothing more, nothing less.
2) The Performancing community needs to contribute – While Nick has made it possible again for users to contribute, it won’t mean squat unless people actually do it. I am sure some people are upset at what has happened over the last few months. I am sure others are laughing or even mocking. However, to those that feel Performancing can continue to have a voice, you must be the ones who step forward and not only write a comment or a forum post, but actually create content.
3) Keep it Simple – Metrics, PFF, and Partners were all cool. However, the future of Performancing may not be in the cool tools or widgets. It may simply be the content. I still firmly believe, even in the age of web 2.0 cool tools and the social web, that content is still king and will forever be. Keep it simple. Focus on the content.
4) Focus on value – Sites that create value are the ones that will still exist next year and years thereafter.
5) Stay away from bunny trails – While it may be tempting for Performancing to go off and chase rabbits in hopes of finding some quick way to rescue the site, it must avoid doing so. The success of Performancing won’t depend on quick fixes but on the long term value (see #4).
6) Build a better community – with a base of members already in hand, Performancing can move forward to build a better community. What if we all had better profiles? What if we could search those profiles so that we could connect better with each other? Another website community I read regularly is actually posting tasks in their monthly newsletter for members to accomplish. These tasks are simple: complete your profile, complete a survey, etc. The purpose of these exercises is to build their community. Performancing needs to do the same.
7) Learn from the past – While portions of the past might have been extremely painful, I am sure there are lessons to be learned. It would probably be helpful to all of us, if at some point, those lessons were shared.
8) Grieve the losses, but build on hope – It’s ok to be upset and disappointed over losing Metrics and Partners. Some extensively used Metrics and others had high hopes for Partners. Sure we could all ask “What could this have been?”, but we should press forward, learn our lessons and say “Let’s move forward to something better.”
9) Be Thankful – as a user it is easy to complain. We bitch and moan about everything. We seldom take the time to be thankful for the word processors and text editors we use to write our blog posts, even if they are a bit clunky.
10) Carpe Diem – Now is the time for Performancing to seize the day, doing it six months from now will be too late.