A Transparency Note: As is sometimes the case, this brief summary has become a consensus entry. It was originally intended to be published in January, as a much larger and more detailed document. I wanted to be realistic and honest in the review, but I also wanted to avoid being either too optimistically positive or too cautiously negative. I wanted to cover lots of issues, but I didn’t want to bore readers with numbers and stats. I wanted to detail challenges, but I didn’t want to throw gasoline on them; to cast light, not heat. I didn’t want a Jerry Maguire document, just a constructive one that would be perceived as being offered in goodfaith.
Some yelling, lots of rewrites, major deletions, and last minute edits have led to this final draft. I believe it accurately – and in lay terms – briefly abstracts an overview of where the Amy Page Movement (APM) is today, and where the world of Amy Pages (APs) might be headed tomorrow.
The views of others will be different than my own; as you know, I’m OK with that. The views of my fellow volunteers and associates are important to me; if that was not the case, this would be a substantially “different” document. Hopefully, the subject matter is actually best addressed via a consensus derived summary.
The overall state of the APM is very strong. Following July 2011, the proliferation of APs in all social media has been explosive; many hundreds of pages have appeared. The APM shows that it has ample room for expansion; that circumstance should persist through 2013. Demand from fans for additional quality pages continues to grow. Concurrent with that demand, the APM has now entered its first period of admin attrition.
It is natural, as time passes, that some admins will lose interest in their pages, or be otherwise made unable to continue their efforts. Some APs will simply be neglected and others will be abandoned or deleted. There should be no recriminations against the retiring admins. The players are all hobbyists and when a hobby is no longer fun, other interests should be pursued.
Trying to separate the task of content assembly and creation from the emotional feelings that most page admins have about the subject matter is likely neither possible nor desirable. Those feelings help produce the best pages, but deliver the most pain to the admins. While readers may meet the sadness of a few posts, page admins feel the pain of reviewing, rejecting, assembling, writing many such posts each day. Thus, being angry with an admin who simply cannot handle it anymore would be unfair.
I know how difficult it is to maintain even a moderately well-frequented page. Finding or creating good content is a tough task and, often, an emotionally draining and hurtful one. There is certainly some satisfaction in keeping a nice page but, on balance, it is largely a rather painful experience.
Because my involvement in the APM is relatively atypical, it affects me in some fairly harsh ways. I often tell myself that I am in the hobby “for AJW and the Amy Winehouse Foundation.” But, the truth is more likely that I participate solely for my own selfish reasons of trying to hold onto the “closeness” I always felt to AJW when she was here. That selfish payoff has some personal value, but regularly delivers more pain than I can easily discuss.
The admins are all “grown” and they can either handle the downsides or they can quit the hobby. The strong admins will stand firm without being begged to do so. I merely note those downsides because I want readers to understand the circumstances and to avoid viewing the dropouts harshly.
As admins retire, there will be substantial opportunities for newcomers to “adopt” the pages of the retirees. While the creation of new APs remains the optimal goal of the APM, it is worthwhile for prospective new admins to consider the option of simply adopting an existing page. Many retiring admins will likely be amenable to transferring their neglected or abandoned pages to competent and earnest beginners.
Newbies wanting to play in the hobby should consider looking for an AP they like – that appears to be inactive – and simply asking the current admin if he/she would allow their page to be adopted. The adoption scheme has some advantages. Such APs are ready to roll and require less work than a fresh startup page does, and they usually come with at least some existing readership and traffic.
The urge for multiple pages to “consolidate” with each other is a bit tempting, but it will mean the collapse of the APM and must be avoided. The demand for additional high quality pages exists; consolidation does nothing to help meet that demand.
Consolidation lightens the workload for admins, but delivers no material gain in traffic; due to the huge number of readers who frequent multiple APs. For purposes of preserving the legend and promoting the philanthropic legacy, any consolidation is destructive. It is better for both fans and the APM to have many active pages with light traffic, than it is to have just a few pages with relatively heavy traffic.
Competent large pages serve a fine purpose, but they cannot and do not meet the demand for All Good Things Amy, All The Time, in the same way that the smaller pages can and do. In the distant future, some consolidation may well serve the APM; we are not yet near that future.
I am not hoarding any secret math, but most of it would only bore readers. I can report that the average page traffic:
* Is just a likkle older than most folks imagine it to be;
* Is mermaid dominant by a fair margin, but sailor interest is increasing;
* Is majority fluent-English speaking by a rapidly shrinking margin;
* Is usually fonder of videos and pictures than it is of written content;
* Is willing to view both properly aggregated and original written content;
* Is “shy to engage” – leave comments and content “likes” – on even the friendliest pages, by a huge margin;
* Is a movable audience that wants current/interesting info/views, and will search for the commodity with fast clicks across multiple pages and venues;
* Is willing to display loyalty to the multiple pages that best meet their needs;
* Is, by a very large majority, willing to visit and “like” multiple APs.
Competition and Cooperation:
It is undeniable, understandable and fortunate that competition exists and will continue to exist between APs. The spirit of reasonable competition results in better, more interesting, and stronger pages. But, currently, cooperation rates remain inadequate between page admins. There are some admins who see the APM as a cooperative hobby, but far too few.
Obviously, it is not desirable that all APs should be working on the same projects all of the time. However, it is desirable that all AP admins, when possible and reasonably practical, support and promote large polling/voting projects, event projects, and other worthwhile efforts that are brought forward by their fellow admins and readers.
The divide between APs published in English and those administered from non-English speaking countries is particularly large and is likely the greatest weakness of the APM. The circumstance has the potential to prevent dynamic page increases, cause a hike in admin-attrition rates, and shorten the natural lifespan of the APM.
An impediment to worldwide growth rates is the misguided notion of “ownership rights” to the AJW legend and legacy by any segment of her fans. When such claims are advanced by admins in any nation, they are disregarding the fact that AJW invested thousands of hours – and big money – building an international fanbase. Without doubt her primary motives for the build were economic, but she likely also envisioned at least some sense of unity between global fans.
Claims by any nation’s citizens of an absolute proprietary interest in what AJW created are unfounded and serve only to weaken the APM, shrink the fanbase, and unravel the worldwide work she accomplished. In life, AJW “belonged” to the entire world; that the ages have her now, does not change that fact.
Folks who doubt the value of the international concept should chat-up some record execs and concert promoters, to better understand its importance. Cooperation – in all worthwhile projects – between page admins in all nations must increase substantially, if the APM wants to best benefit from and help preserve what AJW built.
Page admins from all nations should be made to feel welcome, and should be supported and promoted. Readers should be made to feel welcome on all APs, regardless of what their primary language is. If any human speaks Amyish, their other lingos are irrelevant; they are Amyites, they are us, we are one in our love for AJW.
Nota: para Administradores de habla hispana y lectores.
Lo mismo se advierte en contra de las nociones nacionalistas se aplica igualmente a los administradores en los terceros países de habla inglesa. Se sirve bien a sus intereses para asegurarse de que los lectores de habla inglesa son bienvenidos en los puntos de acceso.
Administradores de página en todas las naciones deben hacer sentir bienvenidos, y deben ser apoyados y promovidos. Los lectores deben hacer sentir bienvenidos a todos los puntos de acceso, independientemente de cuál sea su lengua materna es. Si cualquier ser humano habla Amyish, sus Lingos otros son irrelevantes, sino que son Amyites, ellos son nosotros, somos uno en nuestro amor por AJW.
For some admins, the use of the “sister page” concept is worth considering, to help increase cooperation between APs in diverse countries. Such cooperation does not preclude vigorous competition to produce quality pages, but allows admins to work together on projects that benefit their mutual goals of maintaining and expanding interest in AJW and the AWF.
The cooperation deficit is not only evident among smaller pages. The large pages also need to step-up their support and promotion of projects that are brought forward by the grassroots AP admins and others. Such support and promo is particularly important in the areas of sundry polls and small events.
Any consideration of an “AP Association” to offer support and guidance to the APM should be quickly rejected. While the concept is likely offered in goodfaith, it would be a de facto consolidation, would splinter the APM and, ultimately, lead to fewer and weaker pages. Strong independent pages are the future of the APM and they will be created by determined individuals; not by a collective aparat.
Page content is king and every admin has to make their own decision as to what kind of content will best appeal to their known and hoped for audience.
Skilled content aggregators have been at an advantage during the past eight months. That advantage is very rapidly vanishing; interesting and legit news content is in an irreversible downtrend. Soon, relevant and worthwhile readymade news items will be much more difficult to find.
Tabloid and gossip/trash “news” will soon dominate the available supply of easy to aggregate stories. Admins who use such material do a disservice to their own pages and weaken the APM, but they have an absolute right to feature whatever content they choose.
While current numbers show that videos and pictures are very popular, there is both a theoretical and actual limit to the number of times an audience wants to see the same vids/pics. Additionally, growing copyright issues could easily derail the future use of large amounts of such content.
Original content – created by page admins, their associates and readers – will become much more critical in page operation. Analysis of present/past news and music and performances, editorial style issue examinations, and current/historical reviews will be in demand. By late 2012, the “fan fiction” genre is likely to see both quality and trashy content rolled out. Pages that make wise picks from a growing supply of original content will do well and attract visitors.
Niche pages that deal with very narrow and specific aspects of their subject will likely become small but important parts of the APM. The tight focus of such pages will enhance visitor experiences and will have a growth impact on the entire APM. The niche pages will have a relatively small audience, but they will find a constant and stable readership.
Hybrid and Commercial Pages:
While most APs are nonprofit by design, it is likely that hybrid and commercial pages will begin to emerge. The hybrid pages will have components that benefit the Amy Winehouse Foundation, and will also generate revenues on their own behalf. There will also be purely commercial pages joining the mix. All appropriate and respectful pages can be sustaining forces for the APM.
New and worthwhile APs continue to arrive on the scene; there is room for many more. Fans that want to newly participate as publishers in the AP hobby will find some basic guidance herebelow.
* The easiest and fastest venue on which to launch a new AP is facebook. Simply click on the “create page” tab on your personal page and follow the simple instructions.
* Take a look at the Amy Jade Winehouse Page Directory. Exploring the listed pages – large and small – will help you decide what you want the style and feel of your page to be. You will also gain an understanding of what kind of content is most popular. The AJWPD – and other AAN pages – will help to promote all pages that are appropriate and respectful.
* Resist any desire to include the acronym “RIP” – or any other morose phrases – in the title of your page; there are more than enough nice pages with mournful tags. If you want your page to have long legs that will carry it deep into the future of AJW’s popularity, launch it with a positive and forward looking title.
* Decide what niche you want to participate in. Most existing APs are aggregators of general content and are not tightly focused. There is an unfilled need for pages that focus solely on ONE or TWO elements of AJW’s art and life.
* You will need some initial content to get started. The internet is full of great music videos, pictures, artwork, articles related to AJW. Choose content that you like, populate your page with it and the chances are good that your visitors will like it, too.
* Original content is the best draw for any new AP. If you can create such content – either with writing, music, artwork or videos – you will have an advantage in the game.
* If AJW is the heart of the APM, then the Amy Winehouse Foundation is its backbone. Make sure you “like” the AWF FB-page and adjust your “featured settings” to always display the AWF avatar on the “likes panel” of your page. Here are the easy how-to directions:
* Once your page is online, you will want to get some folks to “like” it. The easiest way to get some early “likes” is to “like” some of the pages listed in the AJWPD linked above. Many admins will leave a reciprocal “like” for your quality page.
* Make sure you also “like” the comments on other pages and leave relevant comments about the content on those pages. Such engagement will generate “likes” for your page and its contents.
* Start following the AJW fans on Twitter. Place a link to your AP on your Twitter profile. Send appropriate and sparing tweets informing folks about your page; be polite, don’t be a spammer. You will gain some followers and some of them will “like” your AP.
* If you post on forums, bulletin boards or blogs, place a link to your AP in your sigline on those venues.
* If you comment on youtube videos, leave a link to your AP along with your comments.
* If you are a blogger, write some Amy-related content and link it on your FB-page. Be sure to place links to your AP and your Twitter profile on your blog. This kind of multiangular crossfire is a very powerful tool to help boost traffic to all of your pages.
* If you start volume blogging, join Digg and Stumbleupon. Both are excellent spots to promote your blog entries and will help lead readers to your AP.
* Join Squidoo, Zujava, HubPages, Wizzley, Infobarrel, Seekyt and create an AJW-centric page to promote your facebook page and other APs that you like. The backlinks on such pages are a very valuable part of your promotion efforts. Post your eligible content on Lensroll, Lenslike, and SpicyPages.
* A free website can be easily built/hosted on Weebly. A simple page linking to all of your other pages will help build your AP traffic.
* Many experts think that fancy templates help attract readers. I find that “fancy” is irrelevant, unless you are already a superstar that needs to have a slick page to rival that of your peers. Plain pages with good content can perform well without the glitz and flash.
* Many experts think that you need a “landing page” that requires visitors to “like” your page before they are allowed to view it. I find that concept ridiculous, unless your name is already known to everybody on the planet. Your only landing page should be the wall of your AP.
* Keep the tone of your page upbeat and informative. Negative items turn readers off and will hurt traffic.
* Unless you want a gossip page, avoid aggregating sensational or tabloid trash on your page.
* Some engagement between yourself and your visitors is critical to making your page work well. Make sure to “like” readers’ comments and respond when appropriate.
* Unless your page is a “directory” of other pages OR a “museum page,” be sure that your settings allow visitors to make new posts of their own.
* If someone posts an inappropriate item, uses gratuitous profanity, insults your subject matter, is mean to your other posters, or bashes your page simply delete the offending content and block the poster. Don’t get into flame wars with trolls; your readers won’t understand such fights and they will flee your page. It is not possible to “win” an argument on the internet, but you can easily “lose” one by arguing with evil or demented folks.
* If you have opinions about subjects not related to the topic of your page, keep them to yourself. Half of your readers will agree with such opinions and the other half will abandon your page. All Good Things Amy, All The Time is the only appropriate moto for an AP.
* Build cooperative relationships with other page admins. They will help you promote your page and you will help them promote their page. Developing this synergy is probably the most effective way to get your AP in the mix and keep it there.
* Always be respectful of other admins’ pages. Do not be a spammer on those pages. Don’t use gratuitous profanity on other admins’ pages; some admins and their readers don’t like it.
* Facebook “likes” come and go. If you see a precipitous drop in your “like” count, examine your content and review your “insights” panel. If you cannot identify a problem, you are likely just experiencing the natural ebb/flow pattern of facebook popularity.
* Never beg folks to “like” your AP. Begging makes you look weak and will hurt your page. Present nice content and page “likes” will come.
* Never “like” your own posts. Doing so is redundant and makes you appear weak and, worst case, not very bright. If you did not like the post, you would not have posted it.
* Remember, while it is fun to see your “like” counts rise, it is better to have 100 dedicated/consistent readers than it is to have hundreds of “likes” from folks who seldom visit your page.
* Be patient. Throw out your notions of “build it and they will come.” Your content and your promotion efforts will determine your traffic. Experiment until you find the right content mix and your well run AP will slowly and steadily grow.
* Most Importantly: Have fun helping to preserve the legend and promote the philanthropic legacy. If the hobby stops being fun, let someone else adopt your page.
AJW fans do not need to worry. There is plenty of news and content on the horizon to last a very long time. There will be lots of folks ready to pick up the slack when the current admin crews grow weary. Our hobby should be going strong for as long as we want it to.
A lot of folks wanna know how long the APM can be kept alive. I dunno the absolute answer, but I do know that when I google the phrase “Anastasia Romanov Dynasty,” I get more than 640,000 returns. Many such entries sing the modern loyalists’ loud praises of their royal lady.
I suspect that the APM players and their future recruits and successors will be able to keep our JadeMermaid Princess close to front and center for at least as long as the Russian’s have been able to do it for their gal. You better start preparing to get your grandkids up to speed on the legend and legacy of Amy Jade Winehouse; there will be a great hobby waiting for them.