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Embrace social or the conversation goes on somewhere else



3:35 pm on May 27, 2010 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member

For a site for webmasters, webmasterworld seems remarkably reluctant to embrace the social aspects coming out for webmasters.

Instead of embracing the new social media landscape and using it to extend webmasterworld I get the impression that the leaders don't seem to think it is going to catch on. Well folks, it has definitely caught on and it will continue to do so. So you either embrace it and use it to extend your audience or let it slowly erode your audience because people may get the impression that the conversation is happening somewhere else. Which I think it increasingly is.

The overall impression I have is of an organisation that wants to fight the future, not embrace it.

When I first visited in 2003 there were conversations going on here that were genuinely not happening anywhere else. I don't think a visitor could say the same now. People like Matt Cutts were visiting and answering peoples questions... the world has moved on. He's got his own blog and uses that to communicate. Consequently that's where some of the conversation has drifted off to. Google even has a number of blogs one for each of their offerings. If you want to know what's going on then subscribe to the relevant blog.

For me, WebmasterWorld is still a solid brand. But one that is a bit fuddy duddy.


3:13 am on May 29, 2010 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member

The reason social media isn't relevant here is because webmasters aren't relevant in social media.

It has nothing to do with whether or not SM will "catch on" ... you just don't need a webmaster to build a social media campaign.

Aside from the occasional e-commerce discussion social media isn't really relevant in the "webmaster world".


4:09 am on May 29, 2010 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member

They don't get social media? really?

PubCon Austin last year was ALL social media. We were calling it TwitterCon. Everything there was about social media.

Btabke on twitter [twitter.com...] 2300 tweets
Engine on twitter [twitter.com...] 389 tweets

They get social. They don't know how they are going to integrate social (links everywhere) with the no-link policies of WebmasterWorld. The two strategies have a bit of conflict.

But don't think the leaders here don't get it. Their actions speak quite loudly that they get it. How to integrate is the question.


5:03 am on May 29, 2010 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member

It's not the leaders (because I've been using Twitter over the last week to communicate with them pretty regularly). It's the regulars and old timers who are afraid of new technologies. I once worked with a woman who was a "webmaster" but thought that CSS layouts were too new and could be a fad. That was 4 years ago.

This is why I always chuckle who call themselves webmaster on a business card. They don't understand that the rest of the professional community has evolved into multiple roles:

Content Manager, Web Developer, Web Designer, Frontend Developer, Database Administrator, Web Strategist, Marketing Director, Project Manager, etc. etc.


6:08 am on May 29, 2010 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 5+ Year Member

I recall an OOB discussion about the term webmaster. Tried to exemplify the need to develop an 'overall' attitude - thereby mastering enough of the individual roles in order to coordinate and direct each task.

You do not actually have to be the front-end person in each of those roles to 'be' (seen as) the master. A webmaster may work with a dozen skilled professionals in various disciplines who are each responsible for delivery with respect to their own domain. I liked the way nigassma referred to this as "project manager" - but when push comes to shove, the webmaster is - simply the web master...

.02 etc.


2:27 pm on May 29, 2010 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member

I consider a "webmaster" and a web strategist, database developer, project manager, etc. to be VERY different roles. To me, a webmaster is more like "lead web designer".

I would never have a "webmaster" to manage an overall web strategy - I hire a webmaster to make and maintain websites, following orders given to them by whoever is in charge of making the decisions on what the website(s) will be doing.

Something like social media has literally zero involvement from the web team. There is no HTML required, no coding required, none of the reasons you have a webmaster around have anything to do with social media. If social media is your thing, you (or a designated marketing manager) makes a decision on a social media strategy, and the "work" is carried out by copywriters or interns, not webmasters.


3:21 pm on May 29, 2010 (gmt 0)

Oh there's a correlation, if for no other reason than social media is the new ticket right now. Look at the explosion of twitter. It went from a frikkin' casual conversation piece to overloaded servers in the space of a few months.

Some of this is simply definition of terminology. A webmaster, in broad strokes, has, or should have, the ability to encompass multiple doctrines under one hat. A site owner is not necessarily a webmaster but a webmaster is not a site owner alone.

I agree with digitalv in that the specialization of roles goes beyond what has previously been defined as a webmaster.

I would never have a "webmaster" to manage an overall web strategy

Nor would I. His/her job is to create and maintain the site. If their credentials are in order they'll handle SEO and link building, maybe even ad campaigns. But even these are specialty markets these days and the more fractured this arena becomes, the less authoritative the term "webmaster" becomes.

It's an evolving web and actually a pretty exciting time. I'm just hoping I can keep up... ;) ;)


3:31 pm on May 29, 2010 (gmt 0)

There are webmasters, and I'm using the term loosely here, all over the internet right now wondering how social media can benefit their business model. I'm one of them.

I'm not promoting awareness of brand. I'm in affiliate marketing and would prefer the parent brand not be disclosed at all. I don't handle support except on a limited basis so the advantages of social media in this respect aren't very big. My job is to remain behind the scenes unless there is a genuine, certified problem and that is the only time I step in.

The explosion of social media is impossible to ignore though. It's definitely here and from all outward appearances it's sticking around. How do I capitalize on that though? I'm a one man show and I'm still trying to deal with mobile.

Maybe I'll just give up and go to the farm... fish all day long and drink bud lite....


5:55 pm on May 29, 2010 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 5+ Year Member

I must be missing something. Let me just go out on a limb here and suggest that the term 'webmaster' world was coined at a time when the task of planning, developing, maintaining, marketing and operating a web property was generally the responsibility of a single person. Painting in broad strokes for a reason here:

the social aspects coming out for webmasters
is part of the constant evolution of online as a way to do business. Like wyweb said, social media can benefit website operators.

You only have to look at the variety of forums here to understand that the 'webmaster' world encompasses much more than just the tasks that would *these days* fall under the responsibility of a webmaster (e.g. a development lead, or someone whose job description includes the day to day coordination of web related tasks).

I find it myopic to want to exclude social media from the range of available topics, just because supposedly
webmasters aren't relevant in social media.
Respectfully, that's patent nonsense. Under the same logic, the following topics would also not belong on a webmaster forum, just picking a few of the more obvious ones: content writing and copyright, domain names, databases, web video creation, any of the adwords, adsense ypn or adcenter forums, any offsite seo topics, any topic on government or corporate policy...

The explosion of social media is impossible to ignore
- and is going to have an ever growing impact on the ability of *webmasters* to manage and grow their online businesses.

I think that
embracing the new social media landscape and using it to extend webmasterworld
will be critical for the survival of this forum as a top tier resource on planning, developing, maintaining, marketing and operating online properties.

What makes this forum unique is its ability to bring people together who are active in all kinds of disciplines that *somehow relate* to the process of operating in the online world. The strength of WebmasterWorld is that it provides a platform to glue all these different tangents together. If you look at it as just another forum for webmasters you're just missing out.



7:33 pm on May 29, 2010 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member

Wow a good convo on the title webmaster. Love it!

As far as a "webmaster" or somebody who doesn't see how they can monetize twitter... If you look at twitter as a free marketing vehicle, you'll find it much easier to accept in to your daily routing. If you don't care about brand recognition, it probably isn't for you.

If you are looking to build your personal brand as a developer, designer, etc. you NEED to increase brand recognition somehow, and Twitter is one of the easiest vehicles to start that. Last summer I made a decision that work full time as a "web manager" (a title that our HR department gave me - I see myself as a frontend developer and designer) wasn't enough, I needed to increase my personal brand. So I branded what was once a simple "side job" for friends/family asking me to do side projects for them. Then I decided that my own name recognition was also going help increase my business recognition. So I started using my twitter account for personal name recognition.

If people can say, "hey I know that Nick Gassmann" guy and then associate that with my web development/design business I have accomplished my goal. When you think of Steve Jobs, you think Apple. And vice versa.

So twitter is my vehicle to make contact with other designers and developers across the world. Kind of like bs'ing with friends at a conference. We share links, resources, etc. You build those "virtual" friendships, as you would here on WW.

Then as you go along, you build the business, blog, guest post on other sites, etc. hoping that the work you've put in pays off later by getting a mention on SmashingMag or some other industry web site that has a lot of eyeballs. Then a new wave hits your communication stream.

Now begins the next phase of social media marketing. Instead of simply using it as a communication tool to peers, it becomes a brand recognition monster. Your stories get shared by all of your followers, the brand recognition starts exploding. Of course, it isn't an overnight task, but if done right, I've seen it help many get over that "client to client" hump.


2:24 pm on May 30, 2010 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member

If we aren't careful, "social marketing" will be the death of social media. Does anyone remember MySpace? (</joke>). Seriously though, MySpace was *the* social media site... and then companies started making pages, then TV shows, then affiliate marketers, and it basically became flooded with junk and people stopped using it. Then along comes Facebook, and now it's starting there too.

People don't visit social media sites to shop, they visit them to socialize. These sites, in spite of how many users they have, aren't infallible. I could easily see Facebook and Twitter falling the same way myspace has if they don't keep people who are trying to figure out how to monetize it OUT. When the point is reached where they're overrun with affiliate marketers and MLMers, people will move on to the next company-free platform.


6:56 pm on May 30, 2010 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member

@digitalv - the difference though, is that the corporations bought adspace and myspace just whored out its layout. It became a social network with a billboard of ads as the design. On facebook, however, you opt in to "liking" advertisers.


9:18 pm on May 30, 2010 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member

What's the exact definition -- or even meaning -- of:

embracing the new social media landscape

It sounds very nice with embraces, social, and landscapes all, but how exactly does one do what you are suggesting? What specific things do you see missing?

Personally I see nothing but conversation going on around here. But perhaps it's not the right type of conversation?

Please enlighten an "old-timer" who allegedly is "afraid of new technology"... *LOL*


9:27 pm on May 30, 2010 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member

Santa, it's kind of tricky. The model needs to change if you want to "embrace social media". I don't see me tweeting "jQuery: Please look at my code and help me make it more efficient" ever. However, I think the point is to drive more traffic to and from this board. One way to do that would be to adopt a more open environment when it comes to being able to share cool techniques or methods in solving problems. There are some long standing rules that truly hinder that.

Also, if the site were to start providing content that looked more like a blog, but with posts that consisted of "This Weeks Best Posts in 'javascript' or 'CSS' or 'Database Management'" then we could easily start tweeting, facebooking those messages out to the social networks. In turn that would act as traffic generation for the site.

So there are two of the ways you can do it. Am I off the naughty list now?


9:49 pm on May 30, 2010 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member

Actually it's not that I'm old or afraid of technology... it's just that it's really hard to understand what exactly is missing when you use only extremely general terms to describe it.

Everyone and dog these days tend to agree that "social" is important somehow. But, "social" is a lot of things to a lot of people and mostly nobody defines what social means in that specific context. It's just like saying "bad weather". Well, for some it's sun, for others it's rain, and for the next person it may be snow...

After all forums are the most social activities on the www, and has been so since the pre-www days of BBS'es. So, especially when discussing a forum, the term "social" is far too general to make any sense.

What would be interesting would be some sort of listing of very specific activities and technologies that could be implemented, along with some kind of motivation (this thing, what good would it do here?)

Adding a blog to webmasterworld with highlighted threads is specific - I understand that. That's a tangible problem, and it's possible to devise a solution. Cool.

OTOH, "adopt a more open environment" is a bit too general... what are the cool techniques and methods that you can't share now, and what should be done so that they could be shared?

I'd really like to hear what kind of specific problems and issues there are. Getting this thread more specific would be really nice, as important as "social" is.


12:42 am on May 31, 2010 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member

Well, how about posting a link to another site where someody fixes a problem that somebody may have? I think the definition of social as a marketing tool is not a general description. It's pretty obvious to anybody that uses social media on a regular basis that there are a few different ways of using social media. If you don't know them [I'd share links, but I'll do it like we're supposed to here atm] Google it. There are countless articles and books available that explain this very subject. If someone says that "it hasn't been made clear yet" then they are simply not paying attention.


12:45 am on May 31, 2010 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member

Additionally, anybody who thinks forums like this are still the most "social" arenas on the internet need to start using FB, Twitter, etc. Forums have become troubleshooting areas over the years. A place where you come in, ask a help on a specific problem and hope somebody can help you.

That's not very social IMO. Unless there's an OT thread where ppl act more social, forums are not the social hub that they may have been 10 years ago.


7:05 pm on Jun 1, 2010 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member Top Contributors Of The Month

nigassma - depends on the segment to a great extent. I run one forum in a tiny niche that really is the focus for social interaction in that niche. Apart from the physical meetings we have every year where we all meet up and get to know one another, then we chat on the forum for another year.

I accept that Webmaster forums are a bit different. Everyone and his dog is into doing something on the web. Some other forums I have seen encompass the social side have become full of noise.

But a group of people won't stay together without getting to know eachother a bit. It's a difficult balance to work out and I'm sure that's what Brett is struggling with here.


7:26 pm on Jun 1, 2010 (gmt 0)

5+ Year Member

I'd like to see WebmasterWorld link with identi.ca, elgg, and all the other social sites, not only the Twit/On/My/Face ones. I think I end up here through the RSS feed most often already. Open social...


8:54 pm on Jun 1, 2010 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member ken_b is a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 10+ Year Member Top Contributors Of The Month

What on earth makes anyone think WW is a "social" site?

It's an educational site!

Webmasters of all levels come here to solve, and/or learn how to solve problems, compare notes on, and analyze current issues in depth in hopes of gaining a better understanding of those issues in a way that benefits all the participants.

In return a great many have contributed their knowledge and skill generously.

Using the SM sites to extend the awareness and/or reach of WW is one thing, trying to turn WW into a SM site is something else completely.

The tool box of any skilled craftsman is filled with a variety of tools, webmasters are no different.

We use different tools for different jobs. We don't try to turn screw drivers and hammers into saws.



12:07 am on Jun 2, 2010 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member

@vordmeister "get to know one another"... furries? LOL, jk.

@Ken_b you may not consider this forum a social one, but there are plenty of regulars on here who would argue differently. (I'm not one of them, but there are plenty of posters that have posted in these threads that are.)


12:25 am on Jun 2, 2010 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member ken_b is a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 10+ Year Member Top Contributors Of The Month

Ken_b you may not consider this forum a social one, but there are plenty of regulars on here who would argue differently. (I'm not one of them, but there are plenty of posters that have posted in these threads that are

Tons of networking has originated with posting here for many members, some of those network relationships may have a "social media" component to one degree or another (menmbers here that follow each other on twitter, for example).

That doesn't make this a social media site, it's (hopefully) a beneficial side affect of the networking that originated here.


12:49 am on Jun 2, 2010 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 5+ Year Member

Content Manager, Web Developer, Web Designer, Frontend Developer, Database Administrator, Web Strategist, Marketing Director, Project Manager, etc. etc.

Web Strategist? Really?


2:10 am on Jun 2, 2010 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member

@nigassma: You are really not being very helpful when you suggest that I search google for the answer to the question that I specifically ask you as well as the original poster. There has been written exactly zero books about the integration of social media into webmasterworld, and no books are available either that describe which specific social media features you (and OP) would desire to be present on this site.

So, I try again: Which *specific* social media features do you wish that webmasterworld had?


6:46 pm on Jun 2, 2010 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member

Maybe we should start a topic on how people define WEBMASTER.

For me, a webmaster is simply a person who creates and/or maintains a website.


9:15 pm on Jun 2, 2010 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member

Claus, it was a snark remark to the fact that we aren't able to post links here and how moderators usually use the "look it up" excuse when somebody does. There have been hundreds of books written on how to use social media to improve your business. If WW is a business, that was what I was referring to.

StoutFiles, you'd be surprised what kind of titles HR departments can come up with. Web Strategist is about as goofy as "Social Media Expert" to me.

digitalv, [webdesign.about.com...]

A lot of people would agree with you. Won't change the fact that I would laugh if someone applied to work for us and I saw "webmaster" on their resume. Webmasters usually tend to be "experts in CSS and HTML" or people who write "fully built tableless websites for 15 years" and then have a portfolio that looks like it came out of 1998.

At least that's what I've seen over the last 6 months in applications. They go straight to the trash folder.

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