…is what all of you are. I was floored today while reading the many, many, notes on last night’s entry. As I said back there – there’s a lot of smart people here, and you sure showed it.
Thanks first of all for all the thought put into your suggestions – I really appreciate it so much. Some of the ideas are things I had thought about, but am glad to see others agree – while many of them were things that had not occurred to me. I’m churning through all of them, and giving it a lot of thought, but I also wanted to address a couple things.
First, I don’t want OD to become like Facebook or any other social networking site. I understand the unique differences that make OD special to all of us, and different from all of those other places. That, I don’t want to change. I only used FB as an example, of a site that has grown hugely (obviously). I also have no desire for OD to be as BIG as FB – as many said (and I readily agree), a community that large just wouldn’t be OD anymore.
My concern is not that OD is too small – it is simply what I said before. For a community like this to survive and thrive, it must draw in a steady stream of new members – and that is something that is becoming harder and harder as people are occupied elsewhere online. In any case, I have no intention of trying to morph OD into something it is not – I would just like more people to know about it.
We do have a Facebook page (something several people suggested), and I guess I haven’t promoted that well enough (since many people didn’t know it exists). It is at http://www.facebook.com/home.php?#/pages/Open-Diary/211528475536?ref=ts. I will improve the visibility of that, as I can. I also am looking at better ways to use Twitter, StumbleUpon, digg, etc. to promote the site.
Some folks suggested streaming entries to FB or Twitter – but that is something that is problematic, because I wouldn’t want to do it without people’s permission. And as we’ve established, I think, there’s not a lot of OD members who want to share their OD entries over there, for fear of being found.
Many people confirmed exactly what I thought, which is that OD is their "private" place, and they don’t want to let people know about it IRL. That’s fine, and what I expected.
A few people mentioned contacting Oprah or other shows with some of the fascinating stories on OD – this is something I try to do fairly regularly, and I do send pieces of stories (with the consent of the member) through to various shows and press outlets. However, the press is pretty fickle – we used to get a lot of press coverage back when OD was new and unique, but people in the press don’t really see us as unique anymore (even though we all know that we really are!). So, press coverage these days is hard to come by – it seems that the only site anybody in the press wants to talk about lately is Twitter. I do agree that some of the stories of people getting married here, or finding support, or helping their friends would make great material, and would be very interesting to people in the outside world. The problem is getting a show (or newspaper, or magazine) to take a look at it.
Some of the other creative ideas I really like a lot. The idea of preprinted flyers or stickers is something I have been considering, and it’s nice to see that others think that might be a good idea. I like some of the slogans that were suggested a lot – another one I had been thinking about would be something like "Tired of talking about your life 140 characters at a time? Try something deeper." I’m going to work on this sort of thing more, I think.
Which ties in with something else I had been thinking about – and something others had suggested, which would be providing an incentive to members for helping out with this sort of thing. What I’m considering is something like "OD Evangelists" or "OD Booster Club", in which people could do something like post information online or refer friends or post flyers and then receive OD Plus credits (or something else) in return. I’m working out the specifics of that, and I’m encouraged by the responses to think that something like this might work.
So, thanks for all the thoughts, and keep them coming. Thanks again for the clarity and honesty of your responses – it has given me a great deal to think about.