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Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Subscribed to Best of eLearning Learning?

I just got through posting the eLearning Learning Best Of for this week:

Knowledge Skills Mentoring Tips - Best of eLearning Learning

There's something that doesn't make sense to me, so I need your help!

Best of eLearning Learning is a Must Subscribe

I could be completely wrong, but I feel like these Best Of posts represent a really valuable contribution to people who don't have the time to read all of the posts from all the great eLearning bloggers and all the other sources that we track and include on eLearning Learning.

In fact, even for me, and I'm on the extreme end of reading blogs, I often miss good items that are surfaced through the Best of eLearning Learning lists.

In my experience doing presentations to learning professionals, polling the audience I find that roughly:

  • 10% – use an RSS Reader to monitor blogs as sources of content related to their professional interests
  • 90% – do not use an RSS Reader, but do subscribe to various email lists and other sources of content related to their professional interest

The Best of eLearning Learning is really aimed at the 90% audience. It's my belief that if you are interested in eLearning and only could subscribe to a single email (or RSS feed), you should subscribe to the Best Of feed. I also don't know that there's anything close to that available anywhere else. And I also believe that even if you are in the 10% you probably should subscribe (although via RSS) to the Best Of list just to help make sure you didn't miss good stuff during the past week, month or year.

Or to put this another, rather blunt way -

If you had to choose to subscribe to eLearning Technology, this blog, or the the Best of eLearning Learning, you should subscribe to the Best of eLearning Learning.

Of course, the right answer is to subscribe to both. ;)

Please Help Me Figure This Out

My expectation is that eLearning Learning with it's higher traffic rates and great content should be acquiring new subscribers at a faster rate than this blog.

But that's not the case. Both are growing. But for the first 5 months of this year eLearning Technology adds about 20 new subscribers per day at a fairly constant rate and eLearning Learning is adding about 10 per day since it started a few weeks ago to offer email subscriptions. Heck, I would think that most of the subscribers here would immediately have subscribed to the Best of eLearning Learning and the numbers would be much higher already.

All of this doesn't make any sense to me:

  • Any thoughts on an explanation?
  • Have you subscribed to the Best of eLearning Learning? Why or why not?

Part of the issue may be reaching the 90% audience. By definition, the 90% are not subscribed to this blog and are not reading this. So maybe there's an additional question:

  • How can bloggers reach the other 90%?

I'd appreciate your help in figuring this out.


Sandy said...

Hey Tony,

Outside of obvious reasons, sometimes it's as basic as people not knowing how to subscribe, set up a feed, or are not sure where on a page to enter info. People want to know quickly what's in for them to read a post given all the choice out there. For me, the best value is getting all the 'best-of' in one feed - keep communicating the WIIF everyone, and make it quick, secure, and easy to subscribe. One final thought, "elearning learning" didn't tell the whole story for me (in terms of what the content offered to readers).

Gary Wise said...

Hey Tony!

I agree with Sandy that there are a large number of people who do not know how to establish a feed. At the risk of appearing to suck up, I also feel that the choice of blog prescription has a lot to do with the person/people behind and paticipating in that blog site.

My comment is "not all about Tony" but you do something different - you establish a sense of dialog. There is a component of "how to" and/or "why should we care" about the technology and applications you cover. There are plenty of blogs that provide lists and describe "what" something is, but the value-add is missing for me without practical application and human dialog.

When I started into the blogosphere I discovered RSS feeds early on and had so many I could not keep up. I essentially swapped email overload for a worse case email overload. And the blogroll discovery only muted the pain for a while.

Could be that those experiences are part of one's evolutionary growth in getting the most out of the medium. Call it kid-in-a-candy store...the blogosphere had no limits. I had to learn to set my own and become more discriminating. Simple to say, but I believe each person has to decide where and how to set those limits.

Now I have only a couple blogs other than this one that I follow regularly, and they meet my daily needs. And my needs are my own, so this is offered primarily as opinion based on mine.

I recommend this blog because it is dynamic and consistently up to date. Not sure how many others here feel this way, but suspect word of mouth is promoting growth here.

Thanks for keeping this camper informed. If you miss something, I suspect it is temporary because the readership here is not bashful about bringing more ideas and discovery to the table, and therein lies what I vouch for as value. There is a spirit of collaboration here - not just a spirit of membership.


Tony Karrer said...

Sandy - thanks for the comment. Good point that it's really not well described on the site. I'm going to think a bit about how I can do that better - or maybe ask for help from the folks at B2B Marketing Zone.

Gary - I appreciate your comment and perspective. It's a good point that there's a difference between an aggregated Best Of where there's not a single voice or person. And probably people don't feel as connected to an aggregate. There's also the effect that I may be putting too many items in my weekly Best Of?

Kathryn said...

Hi, here's my feedback: for me I find the name eLearning Technology a lot clearer than eLearning Learning. I don't know why I don't warm to it but it doesn't entice me in, sorry. Next when I visited the site it all just seems very text heavy and I'm not very fond of the column view for ready articles. Particularly three columns beside each other, quite distracting. I'm a very visual person and would love if the articles could have some good illustration. Don't want gratuitous graphics but I quite like mugshots to help identify with authors. I'm bad at remembering names but good with faces. I think there's too much distraction at present on eLearning Learning - the space around this blog helps you concentrate on what you're reading. Hope this helps.

Tony Karrer said...

Kathryn - thanks for the feedback. Very good suggestions. I'm guessing then that the specific Best of posts/emails such as:

Have similar issues.

I'm going to think about how we can address some of the other issues you are raising to make it more a place where you want to go to read.

Do you like Alltop?

Kathryn said...

Afraid I find that page very hard to read. The orange hyperlinks don't give enough contrast to the background and everything just appears too close together so one article merges into the next. I also think articles work better when you can read a quick summary. I know you're trying to display a load of resources on the site but I think it would be better to highlight a few well rather than have people having to guess if they'd find something interesting from a short title. A good example of a layout that I think works well is You can get the feel of what's in the article, as well as nice layout and visuals. Maybe wouldn't exactly suit your whole site where you've so much to cover but something similar could suit maybe a Top Picks of the Day section on the home page?
Hope I'm not seeming too negative, I think it's a great resource and just want to help get people using it more!

John said...

There is a datum point you may be missing. Some people read the blogs but don't subscribe. I do not subscribe to this blog, but I read it almost every day. I keep a tab in my browser open to your blog. I also do that for a few others. They all have roughly daily posts.

I use RSS to subscribe to blogs where 1) there are tons of posts and I may only want to read a few (e.g. engadget), and 2) blogs where the posts are few and far between, but those that do come are well worth reading (Tim Ferris' blog, for instance).

So RSS may or may not indicate readership.

Tony Karrer said...

Kathryn - I appreciate your feedback. Good point on the look of the text and the spacing.

I'm a bit torn on what to include each week.

The best 10 leaves out some really great posts.

Part of it is that my style of going through posts is using titles in an RSS reader - so I like long lists. Maybe I should do a top 5 with snippets and then more that are just titles.

I can easily play around with it a bit and see what seems to work the best.

Tony Karrer said...

John - There's research to back up that the most effective practices are highly personal. That's an interesting way of going through the blogs - not something I would have ever thought was happening. I appreciate that you find enough value that you would do that.

Thanks for the comment and data point.