So, you're working on something, be it teaching related or writing related or whatever. How do you get the word out? Such thoughts occurred to me about three weeks ago when Stephanie Glen made a comment on my posting about how Writers Make Poor Teachers.
The Number Hunter
So, I looked into what she'd pitched. The Number Hunter is an show described as Bill Nye meets the Crocodile Hunter. They have a Kickstarter going, which now actually runs out in less than a day, and they're just a few hundred short of their goal. So, you might want to check that out, using the link above. (Better late than never, I figure.)
What stuck with me more than the pitch itself though was the method. A quick search showed it had been repeated on a number of other educator blogs out there... essentially a copy-and-paste pitch, but including a brief introduction, indicating having read at least the post in question. This doesn't seem like a bad system, necessarily. I saw some other tweets about it too, as a result.
Now, inherent in this is the fact that it's targeted, as this one seemed to be (at math educators), and personal (using a name, not a company). A quick search turned up someone else who already blogged about how Blog Comment Advertising Causes Brand Damage. And I can see how an example like the one they had would be detrimental.
So, how far can you take commenting as publicity? Someone else I follow on Twitter has posted: "If I search an excerpt from your blog comment and get 25,000 hits, I'm gonna mark it spam." So obviously that's too much - but what's the threshold? The line between pushing your idea and spamming it? Then again, if for every 100 posts you only get 1 ff/response, perhaps the better question is... what's the best balancing point?
I'm not going to claim to have an answer here. I've even done a variation on self-publicity when posting on other webcomics, though I like to think referencing my own efforts has been flagging my own expertise - or lack thereof - and I don't post unless I was responding in any event. But maybe there's a line I crossed? Again, don't know. Has anyone out there seen an analysis of this sort of thing, or have their own opinion?
So how else do you get the word out on the internet? Well, as always, being part of a network helps. As a former Shad Valley Alumni, I follow their posts on Facebook. Recently, a post by Joey Loi said he was involved in an education company startup. Called Classtronaut, it says it's aim is "to provide high school teachers with real world projects, to enable them to create an engaging education experience".
Haven't signed in there myself (too much other stuff on my plate these days, as always), but it's something else I'm tossing at my readers now. Sort of the blog equivalent of a retweet... which in terms of Twitter is another method of publicizing, though there again we have to ask ourselves, what makes a tweet "re-tweet-able"? (Which reminds, mathNEWS gave me a tweet recently, that was nice...)
Now, a bit of searching also turned up "Guest Blogging" as yet another way of getting your name out. (Either getting someone popular to blog on your site, or asking to blog on theirs.) Of course, seems like you'll have to find someone with a similar audience, and know them as more than a stranger. Failing all that, are we reduced to word of mouth and friend-of-a-friend?
That certainly seems to be the way I've gone with my Taylor's Polynomials equation personification web series. Frankly, I'm not sure where else to go with it now, though it occurred to me that I could be giving constant reminders aside from random pics in my blog. Hence, new Twitter backgrounds I'm playing with. (Yes, no, need more, need less, undecided?) I guess what is comes down to is somehow standing out in a sea of information without seeming like a complete jerk... and even then, you can be seen merely as a curiosity, and passed over. Such is life.
Oh, as long as I'm asking questions, larger font on my posts of late: helpful, annoying, or not even noticed?
(By the way, for the record, while I may talk up points, I'm not the sort of person who donates to things online. Partly because I have trouble working through exchange rates and possible overheads - I don't even have a PayPal - though mostly because I'm terrible at finances. I don't even tend to spend money on myself, figuring that's easier than tracking where it goes. I freely admit this is a terrible system, especially for a math teacher, but it has inertia.)