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The Bubblews Experience in Hindsight



Bubblews is Dead

There is no doubt that Bubblews is now dead. Some are willing to let it rest in peace. Some who feel they have been cheated wish they could find a way to get what they were promised and denied. Some are threatening to sue, but it’s hard to get anything from someone who is broke. Many are complaining that they had no notice of the site’s closing and have lost work they had not backed up. Me? I’m sorry I lost almost $50 (one missing payment and the balance in my bank when the site closed, but my overall feeling is one of relief. The wondering is over. The other shoe has dropped.

Bubblews is not the first site to close during the last two years. Many were shocked when Squidoo closed in August, 2014. Squidoo did give notice and made arrangements for members to move their work automatically to HubPages. They were warned to make back-up copies of work they wanted to move elsewhere. No one was happy Squidoo closed, but at least they had fair warning.

Zujava closed shortly afterwards. It, too, gave notice so that members could back up  their work to facilitate moving it. Then Seekyt sold out to new owners who made drastic changes in the way they paid and finally stopped any revenue sharing at all, choosing instead to pay up front for work they wanted. I haven’t yet had time to deal with the three posts I still have there. But I have made copies.

I was caught off-guard by what happened on those sites, and others have been adversely affected when sites I had never decided to join closed suddenly, stiffing their writers. The closing of Bubblews, however, should not have caught anyone who was paying attention off-guard. There were plenty of warnings that Bubblews was not going to make it. They say we see best in hindsight, so I’ll share some of the hints I picked up that gave me adequate warning. If you look back, maybe you will see them, too. Maybe we can all learn something  from this.

Cash CowBefore I joined Bubblews, the friend who told me about it said up front that they paid well, but would never be able to keep paying such high rates. His advice was to ‘milk it while you can.” So I never expected it to remain the cash cow it was at the beginning.

It was obvious from the beginning that the owners were not writers and did not know what kind of platform and editor writers needed. Highest on my wish list was a decent editor that would let me use bold and italics and punctuate properly without breaking something in the program. When the promise of the wonderful, awesome update in July 2014 was made, I hoped it was the editor that would be fixed. When instead that update butchered all my photo essays and then the administrators took away the ability to edit them so they would at least make sense again, I knew the programmers either had no idea what they were doing, or that they did not care at all about how the site looked or how their writers would feel  about having their work ruined. I was pretty sure then that the site would not last.

In the background were always the voices of those who were missing payments, claiming they had followed all the rules. At first I thought those people might be rule-breakers who just wouldn’t admit it — until one of my own payments went missing. After that I knew things were not being run well — even if my missing payment did  happen during a time when the site was down. When we redeemed,  there was no way — even with a screen shot of the bank page – that one could prove the date of redemption and the amount. It was a wait and see game as we watched for that confirming email in our mailbox from PayPal. No other site that I know of operated that way. On most other sites, you could check to see when a payment was due, and you knew approximately when the payment would be made.

Dice

Another Bubblews policy I saw as a sign of trouble was that of voiding an entire redemption because of a violation in one post. In most cases, the writer didn’t ever learn what the violation was or in which post. I knew that I was gambling with my time and energy to continue to  write there, but the payoff was still  good when I won, and I won most of the time. I did  become more cautious, though. After I had redeemed, I stopped posting until my payment email came. That’s one reason I didn’t lose hundreds of dollars. I made sure I’d never lose more than the amount of one minimum redemption of between $50 and $65.

When we all got the bad news about redemptions that would not be paid and lower rates for the future and all the rest that I can’t remember now, I knew the site was finished. Those of us who  didn’t leave immediately either weren’t there for the money or just enjoyed the communications for their own sake. I wrote what I expected to be my last post to my friends with the reasons I was leaving and to let them know where they could find me. The plan was to leave that up for a month and not post anymore. I did make one more post to respond to one of Arvind’s last announcements, and then I pretty much went silent unless I was responding to a post someone else had linked to and I wanted to help them with my comment.

Bubblews was a wild ride. I enjoyed it while it lasted. By the middle of July 2014 I knew it couldn’t stay alive. By the end of last year I knew it was almost dead. The last throes took longer than I expected, but it’s now dead and pretty well buried. All that remains are the memories, the friends I made there who I see in other places, and the things I bought with my earnings. I am not in mourning.

Would I do it all again? I think I would. The only  thing I would do  differently is to make actual complete web page copies from my browser of all my photo essays so I could see which photos I used and where I put them. I have text copies of all the posts except the last two posts — my Swan Song and my response to Arvind. I figured they would be of no value to repost anywhere else.

bubblews-train

 

Did you ride on the Bubblews train? If so, would you get on  that train again? Is there anything you would have done differently on the ride?

 



Using Twitter to Bring traffic to Your Blogs

Let's be social on Twitter
Let’s be social on Twitter

Everyone would like to get more traffic to their blogs. Most of us use social media to do that. It is wonderful that our sites have sharing buttons on them, but they won’t bring in much  traffic if we don’t use them wisely. Today I will focus on using Twitter wisely. What I say may not follow what you’ve  heard before.

Most of the people I follow seem to use Twitter like a huge bulletin board on which they post links for the world to see. Do you also use it that way? Do you post your links and then go  back to whatever else you were  doing? Or do you stop for a few minutes to repost what someone else has posted, follow a link, and maybe comment on a blog they posted? Do you retweet posts you like? Do you ever respond to a tweet by answering a question someone has asked or asking them a question about what they posted?

 

Doing those things is interacting. Doing those things makes you stand out among the hundreds or thousands of followers who never given any indication they have noticed the tweets those they follow post.  What good does it do to have 5,000 followers if none of them read or respond to your tweets? It would be better to have 50 who did.

Tweet Cloud
In public domain courtesy of https://pixabay.com/en/cloud-blog-tweet-like-share-parts-709148/

Let’s say you wanted to retweet someone else’s tweet. How would you pick which tweets to retweet? Well, you might want to retweet a funny one. Or one with a beautiful photo attached that would make your feed more attractive. Maybe you would look for a clever quote. Or maybe you would look at the feed of new followers or people who have retweeted you and try to find something of theirs to retweet so they know you are listening and won’t stop following you. I have a couple of people mention me occasionally as one of their  top interactors. That kind of motivated me to keep retweeting them. Sometimes they retweet me, too, to return the favor.

How can you get people to interact with your tweets or retweet them? Interact with them first. If you find some live ones, keep interacting with them so that some back and forth develops between you.  This will build positive energy between you.  You will become people to each other — not just Tweeple.

But all the positive energy in the world won’t get you retweeted if you haven’t posted anything but bare links to blogs or links to products you are selling. Something in your tweets has to get someone’s interest enough to make them click on your link or retweet a photo or quote or remark. Posting automated links won’t always do it. I remember back in my Squidoo days when there was a share link that would tweet something like “I just updated this Squidoo lens (link).” It didn’t even have the title of the lens or topic. I don’t think many of those links got clicked on. We don’t have to post  links the way they are automated. Here’s what pops up when I want to share a BlogJob post to Twitter. Here’s what I do.

Twitter Interface in BlogJob

As you see,  I have lots of choices. I can click “tweet” and my post will go up as is right away. I can also choose the Hootlet or Buffer button if I want to schedule my posts for later. (I have free memberships to  both apps.) I can also change the wording of what’s posted to make it catchier or more enticing. I can add hashtags to make my tweet more searchable. Here’s what I did before taking the next screenshot.

Revised Screenshot of Twitter Interface

As you can see, I changed everything but the link itself to try to engage my followers. I also added a very important hashtag that I can only use when I post on Monday. I only use it on my best blogs. #Mondayblogs is a special hashtag invented by author Rachel Thompson for bloggers to share their blogs on Monday and retweet other blogs with the hashtag on that same Monday. Read the Mondayblogs hashtag rules here. Again, only use this tag on posts you are very proud of. Most of the people following and retweeting links are writers, many of them published in print, and if your blog is not well-written, they will remember and not follow your links again. Retweets from using the tag can help you, since many of those who use and retweet it have more followers than you might have. The other side of this coin is that you should follow the links that look interesting and retweet them. It’s a two-way street where bloggers help each other.

That’s what we ought to  do here, too. I have one of my three Twitter account feeds in my sidebar on most of my blogs here. It’s in the bottom of the right sidebar on this blog if you want to see my  current feed and follow me. I try to practice what I preach. You will notice that only a few of the links are to my work. I also tweet out all the links to articles that are posted on a site I contribute to once a week, many BlogJob blogs I’ve enjoyed, and many links I’ve found on my Facebook Bloggers groups. I try to promote any good work  I see that my online friends do. I have no idea if they return the favor, but it doesn’t matter. It’s not all about me.

I think carefully about what those in my Twitter accounts will enjoy seeing or reading and I post it. I don’t always post everything to each group because they have different audiences. My religious and political views are expressed more on my @Gale427 account. My @barbsloco account focuses most on what’s going on in California and my local  community and I follow mostly people from California there or those interested in my community and the wine country around it. My @barbsbooks account is my original account that was connected to my book business and contains more posts about books and education than the others. Handy hints and recipes, etc., might be of interest to those in all accounts, but not everything else is. I try to aim my tweets at my specific audience.

How do you use Twitter? Do you have any hints to add to these?

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