Tag Archives: Locally Grown

Cognitive surplus (Clay Shirky) and intrinsic motivation (Dan Pink) fuel a hyperlocal blog in Northfield, MN

 Locally Grown Triumvirate: Tracy Davis, Griff Wigley, Ross Currier,  
I decided last week to take a month-long sabbatical from the blogging, podcasting, and tweeting that I do for Locally Grown, a hyperlocal blog in my hometown of Northfield. On Monday, Ross Currier, Tracy Davis, and I (AKA "the LoGroNo Triumvirate") met at our favorite watering hole, the Contented Cow, to decompress a bit and scheme for the future.

Locally Grown NorthfieldIn the 4 years since we launched the blog, we’ve published 2,976 blog posts, broadcast 187 podcast episodes, and host an ever-growing gallery of 10,000+ Northfield community photos.  We get 8-9000 unique users/month in a town of about 15,000. The blog has generated 35,085 comments and has a reputation for civility which is no accident. We’ve been experimenting with an optional membership plan which currently generates less than $100/month.

Since I put 10-15 hours/week into it (blogging, curating, commenting, moderating, tech maintenance, podcast production, taking photos, etc), people often ask me why I do it if I’m only effectively earning $1/hour.

I tell them: for me it’s fun, it’s engaging, it helps keep me connected to people in the town that I love (and where I plan to die), and I think it contributes to making Northfield a better place.

(Other motivators for me: It provides a sandbox where I can experiment with social media, which in turn, indirectly helps my consulting business. And yes, it’s a bit of an ego trip because it provides an audience for my civic-oriented writing/ranting, my antics, and my photos for which I get some recognition.)

Two new books are out that provide some illumination on why people work on projects like this.

Cognitive Surplus: Creativity and Generosity in a Connected Age Drive: The Surprising Truth About What Motivates Us Wired magazine, Clay Shirk, Dan Pink 

The June issue of Wired has an interview with the Shirky and Pink: Cognitive Surplus: The Great Spare-Time Revolution.

Pink: We have a biological drive. We eat when we’re hungry, drink when we’re thirsty, have sex to satisfy our carnal urges. We also have a second drive—we respond to rewards and punishments in our environment.

But what we’ve forgotten—and what the science shows—is that we also have a third drive. We do things because they’re interesting, because they’re engaging, because they’re the right things to do, because they contribute to the world. The problem is that, especially in our organizations, we stop at that second drive. We think the only reason people do productive things is to snag a carrot or avoid a stick. But that’s just not true. Our third drive—our intrinsic motivation—can be even more powerful.

So powerful that I’m taking a sabbatical from Locally Grown this month in order to get other shit done (AKA making money to pay the bills).

On using Twitter and Facebook with a blog: It’s Complicated

Social media policy sandwich board at the Goodbye Blue Monday coffeehouse This sandwich board in the front of one of my regular Northfield coffeeshops, the Goodbye Blue Monday, caught my eye, not only because it’s clever (“Look for us on Facebook & Twitter – but you won’t find us”) but because I’ve been trying to get smarter about how Twitter and Facebook can complement a blog, both for me, my clients, and here in Northfield.

Of course, no one approach fits all. Social media tools should be deployed in specific ways in order to achieve a specific outcome. But that generalization aside, I’m trying to determine what the issues are to consider for those who are wondering how Twitter and Facebook can be complementary to their blogs.

Kim logo I started thinking about this in earnest a week ago when I read blog developer and WordPress consultant Kim Woodbridge’s post from June 2009 titled Twitter and Facebook Integration: Stop Making Every Tweet Your Facebook Status. Kim argues that “posting automatically takes some of the social out of social media” but concedes that time is a big consideration for some people. The commenters on that blog post seem split on the issue.

I’m always coaching leaders on the importance of using an ‘authentic voice’ with their blogs.  In the past, however, I’ve rarely used an authentic voice on my own Twitter account, and likewise for the group Twitter account for our community blog, Locally Grown. It’s mostly been a manual Tweeting of blog post headlines. And on our Locally Grown Facebook fan page, the blog post headlines with excerpts are posted automatically to both the Wall and a special RSS tab.

So today I checked out some of the other web-savvy people who I follow to see how they’re using these tools.

Chris Brogan
Chris Brogan has a blog, an all-purpose Twitter feed, and a more focused Twitter feed. He doesn’t publicize his personal Facebook account. He also has a company, New Marketing Labs, with a blog, Twitter feed and a Facebook fan page. The company blog auto-updates to its Facebook Wall.

Brian Clark
Brian Clark has a blog, a Twitter feed, and a several other websites (eg, Teaching Sells) but no Facebook fan page. He doesn’t publicize his personal Facebook account.

Chris Garrett
Chris Garrett
has a blog, a Twitter feed, and several other websites (eg, Authority Blogger) but apparently no Facebook fan page. He urges people to follow (friend) him on Facebook.

Seth Godin 
Seth Godin has a blog, a Twitter feed, and a Facebook fan page. His blog posts are automatically posted both to his Twitter feed (“This is a retweet of my blog”) and his Facebook fan page (“This is repost of Seth’s blog”). He follows no one on Twitter.

Kim Woodbridge has a blog, a Twitter feed, a company (Anti Social Development) Facebook fan page, and urges people to friend her on Facebook. She manually updates her company’s Facebook Wall with her blog posts but also has her blog auto-update to a separate RSS feed tab.

All these people, with the exception of Seth Godin, are very engaged with their Twitter followers, creating somewhat of an online-community feel to the feeds.  They’re master curators, as they nearly always add value (and in a personal way) to whatever they decide to retweet.  They use Twitter as an extension of their brands which they’ve already built elsewhere (blogs, books, speaking gigs, etc.). To me, this is somewhat similar to using content platforms like WordPress, Blogger, or Typepad to build a space for your online ‘presence.’  Twitter, however, is in a class by itself because its viral value rises as more people use it.

Facebook is less a content platform like WordPress and more a social platform, where conversations and interactions occur in a complex viral stew. But it’s not your ‘property’ like your blog or your Twitter feed. (I can’t imagine a scenario in which I’d advise someone to first start with a Facebook fan page before creating a blogsite or a Twitter feed.)

But because Facebook is so big, creating a presence there (beyond your personal account) has to be considered as 1) a way to drive traffic to your own properties (your blog, your Twitter feed); and 2) as a place to engage your audience, even if you’re creating content elsewhere.

So for me, my inclination is to:

I’m hoping that the smarter that I get in my own use of Twitter and Facebook, the more helpful I’ll be to my clients and to the community of Northfield.

My Google profile

Google-Profile-Griff-300x154 I’ve compiled all my web-based info about me using Google + Profile. (People who are in my Google Contacts can see more info about me than the general public.)

My profile comes up at the bottom of the first page of a Google search on my name, Griff Wigley. The word Griff is currently third in a Google search on the word, linking here to my business site, Wigley and Associates. The word Wigleys, currently 1st in a Google search, links to Wigleys of Mendota.

The civic blog site I work on, Locally Grown (aka LoGro and LoGroNo and LGN), is currently 1st in a Google search.