September 10th, 2009

Creative Joyous Cat

Busking In Cyberland – Everywhere is Next Door

One of the secrets of busking, if you want to earn your dinner or pay some bills, is to find a good corner. Somewhere that the merchants won’t chase you away, where you and your audience won’t block traffic, and where people who like your special style of music will hear you. If you sing French folk songs, it probably won’t be effective to stand outside the local Mercado, or the local Rap club, for instance.

Cyberland is a little different. No, a lot different. Every corner is, theoretically, equally distant from every other corner. That's good, right?

Well, not really.

First, all corners are just one click away, from any site that has your url--but how many sites do?  And are they sites where people are looking for what you do hang out?  Just because all sites are equidistant, doesn't mean it’s easy to find the corners you’re interested in, from wherever you are.

So, it’s not as simple as picking a spot, opening the guitar case, and performing. You can’t count on someone’s shopping list or evening commute taking them past your corner.

So you go out and put your name and url places.  Then you try to figure out what's working. 

This is problematic too, for though I know there's tools out there, I don't know enough about them to use them efficiently.  I haven’t figured out how to use tools like visit counters—and don’t know if LJ is friendly to them. ( It’s not particularly friendly to PayPal buttons, which have to be pasted in with the screen in HTML mode, and even then usually don’t work the first time I test them, so I have to edit the entry and paste the code in again.) So, unless people leave a comment, I don’t know they’re here, and unless they tell me, I don’t know how they got here. So that makes it difficult to track what works and what doesn’t.  I did tell LJ I do want to know who looks at my journal, but if that feature is running yet, I haven't found it. I also don’t know what, if anything, it would tell me about non-LJ visitors.

That said, so far, Twitter, with the assistance of e-fiction book club, have allowed at least one new reader to find me, and places like Author’s Den and Blogspot have not yet produced results I can see, though that may not be a fair comparison, as I joined Twitter earlier.

So, my quest to figure out how to make my corner of the net a good corner for Cyber-busking is ongoing. You could help me a bit—you can answer this question:

When you’re bored and wanting to find something to read on the net, how do you go about looking?

And, of course, if you are more net-savvy than me, feel free to show off your knowledge as much as you want!