Control again

I got an e-mail today saying:

“I am part of the web development team for XXXX where we are constantly trying to improve the http://www.XXXXX.com site’s user experience. Part of this improvement involves meeting our users’ expectations when they are referred to XXXXX.com from other websites. To achieve this we are trying to ensure that all inbound links to our site point to a page that is relevant and useful to the visitor and that the link has anchor text that accurately describes the page it is linking to.

On this page of your site http://perfectpath.co.uk/XXXX you have a link to XXXXX.com. To help us improve the usability of our site it would be greatly appreciated if you could change the link so that it has the following anchor text and links to the following page.”

No.

This is my blog. If you don’t understand that as an answer, then you’re not qualified to be in any web development team imho.

There are two parts to it:

1. My – I write it and keep it tidy. I write whenever and whatever I like. I update things if I think there’s some value in doing so. I don’t work for you just because I linked to your site. Content on my site doesn’t get updated just because you decide to reorganise your site. If you break your own links or are engaging in some SEO shenanigans, it’s really not my problem.

2. Blog – the web is not an extension of your content management system, it’s a place where I write on the internet, for myself and for people I know. I didn’t link to you for your benefit, I linked to you because I thought it might be useful to my readers at that time. I’m highly dubious that anyone will look at that post very much, the value to people who read this blog has deteriorated over time anyway. Yes there are interesting things in my archives, but my post linking to you isn’t one of them, it was just a “Here’s what I did today” post.

I can’t say much more without going into details that would reveal who the e-mail came from. Gah!

Integration rather than compromise

I was talking a while ago about compromise in the context of concentrating on social art and being a social artist – recognising that I had to do this, it was no good going back and compromising with other work because I’d only end up back here again trying to find an answer.

I am at the moment though just starting a few new things that at first glance look a bit more like standard social media consulting assignments.

Am I compromising? I don’t think so, I prefer to see it as integrating art and commerce, making something new. I can’t guarantee I’ll get it right, but I’m having a go.

I think I’ve seen where I needed to make a shift – to move from avoiding the bits of social media consulting work that I’m qualified to do, but which aren’t obviously social art towards taking more of an artistic approach to clients and prospects who ask for advice.

One of the first lessons in consulting I got was “Always reframe. Never take any assignment as given” So I’m now committing to taking on assignments with the caveat that I will always turn them into some sort of social art. That I will talk about them in those terms, I will reframe briefs and open them up to the network. After all, my perceived value most of the time is that I am part of a large network (although along with that sometimes comes some confusion over network dynamics, talk of influentials, etc)

Obviously this has to be in collaboration with the client. I don’t want to keep the process hidden from them but neither can I simply expose every brief wantonly to everyone I know. But I think it’s important to show people how we work, showing by example how to engage with a network as well as telling them what they should do.

Do as I say *and* as I do.