Its okay to let people leave your website.  Seriously, they’ll find their way back via search, bookmarks, or links if you have anything at worthwhile to offer.  Link out to other useful/entertaining sites, news articles, social media profiles, or what have you, and trust that your customers are capable of remembering your brand and returning of their own free will.

To people who think of their audience as sheep who must be herded into purchasing, I’d like to ask you a question.  Do you seriously have that low of an opinion about your customers?  Common usability considerations aside, why are you catering to the lowest common denominator?

There are a host of reasons why people leave websites, but most of them boil down too is that they can’t figure out what the site is all about (communication fail), that something doesn’t work (usability fail), or that they are bored (engagement fail).  The first two are simple to avoid with proper design, communication, and optimization.  The last one is a little bit trickier.

Hat tip to Hugh MacLeod and this cartoon.

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I just checked out  Bantam Live and, as someone who manages complex interactive campaigns on a day-to-day basis, I have to say “DO WANT”. (gotta use appropriate internet-nerd speak).

Like I said in my last post, it is not the relationship you have with your customers, it is the relationship your customers have with your business that is important.  Social CRM systems like Bantam have got it right.

Via Crunchbase:

“With Bantam, business teams can create secure social workspaces to share information, track activity, and manage contact and company relationships inside and outside the organization. Status updating, auto-posting, following, notifying, messaging, and profile pointing features weave purposefully into business workflow objects (activities, CRM, events, project management, etc.) for users to become aware and interact with their colleagues and contacts.”

B2B decision makers, what do you think?  I love the idea of something that combines internal and external project management like this – it could streamline the process and cut down on the mystery between business and IT.

Sure, everyone knows that when the going gets weird the weird turn pro, but you may not be aware of these equally excellent but less popular quotes:

Like most of the others, I was a seeker, a mover, a malcontent, and at times a stupid hell-raiser. I was never idle long enough to do much thinking, but I felt somehow that my instincts were right. I shared a vagrant optimism that some of us were making real progress, that we had taken an honest road, and that the best of us would inevitably make it over the top. At the same time, I shared a dark suspicion that the life we were leading was a lost cause, that we were all actors, kidding ourselves along on a senseless odyssey. It was the tension between these two poles – a restless idealism on one hand and a sense of impending doom on the other – that kept me going.

– The Rum Diary

Maybe there is no Heaven. Or maybe this is all pure gibberish — a product of the demented imagination of a lazy drunken hillbilly with a heart full of hate who has found a way to live out where the real winds blow — to sleep late, have fun, get wild, drink whisky, and drive fast on empty streets with nothing in mind except falling in love and not getting arrested…
Res ipsa loquitur. Let the good times roll.

– The Gonzo Papers, Vol 2.

The massive, frustrated energies of a mainly young, disillusioned electorate that has long since abandoned the idea that we all have a duty to vote. This is like being told you have a duty to buy a new car, but you have to choose immediately between a Ford and a Chevy.”

– Fear and Loathing on the Campaign Trail

*The last one was written in 1973.  I think the tide is finally turning, 40 years later.

I know I’ve been away from the blog for a while, but there have a been good reasons (and a few not-so-good ones, like Notre Dame football games).  However, I do promise to resume posting on a more regular basis.

That said, one of the reasons I’ve been absent is a new project.  The Kindred Project, to be exact.  It is many things – a group that organizes international travel experiences with distinctly personal connections, a group with a mission to open doors to the world and create connections within our multicultural communities, and it is a group that celebrates differences, understanding, and diversity.  We are working towards a world where intercultural experiences and global awareness are the basis for informed decisions as voters, consumers, and donors. 

As Mark Twain said, “Travel is fatal to prejudice, bigotry, and narrow-mindedness, and many of our people need it sorely on these accounts. Broad, wholesome, charitable views of men and things cannot be acquired by vegetating in one little corner of the earth all one’s lifetime.”

There will be more information (and more regular posts from me in general) soon.

It is truly the most wonderful time of the year: college football and Spain’s La Liga both start play this weekend, and next weekend the NFL begins its season as well. And my beloved Notre Dame Fighting Irish take the field a week from Saturday.

Let’s go Irish!

Shannon Paul’s latest post discusses how not to behave on social media sites incredibly well – in fact, I couldn’t have said it better myself.

Check it out: Don’t Be That (Social Media) Guy.

Out of the Echo Chamber

August 13, 2008

Maybe it is because August is vacation month for most of the world, but staying out of the blogging/new media echo chamber is pretty refreshing at the moment.

I think it is making me smarter more original.

This article entitled “Great Unread Books: What Classic Are You Ashamed To Admit You Have Never Read?” makes me laugh.  First of all, it is highly unlikely that even the most dedicated individual could manage to read every so-called great book ever written – that list is as endless and subjective as a list could be.  You might as well try to watch every “great film” or see every UNESCO World Heritage site; sure, you can try, but that at that point you are probably doing little more than checking items off your list.

Anyways, despite having not checked every book in the literary canon off my personal list, there are not any that I am actually ashamed to have not yet read.  I also read a lot, and as a former English major, I certainly had the incentive to read and study more great books than many people.  However, there is one gaping hole in my collection.

Since I am a female writer, people tend to assume that I am a fan of Jane Austen and the Brontë sisters.  Now perhaps I’m a bit of a traitor to my gender, but I have never actually finished any of their books, and I don’t intend to do so any time soon.  I’ve never even made it all the way through the movie versions, although there is something charming about the Bollywood adaptation.

Are there any books you can’t get through, or have consciously chosen to leave off your personal list?  On the other hand, are there any classics you’re planning to read soon?