Oct. 23, 2023 | 1,000 True Fans, 15 Years Later
Does Kevin Kelly's famous 2008 marketing essay still apply?
Illustration by Kevin Sterjo
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October 23, 2023
Is the 1,000 True Fans Theory Still a Thing?
via layers feature in Canva
When Kevin Kelly first wrote his “1,000 True Fans” essay in 2008, Instagram didn't exist yet. YouTube was still a baby. Facebook profiles didn't have walls. The idea that the lay person or creator could cultivate an audience of millions seemed pretty farfetched.
The 1,000 true fans theory asserts that, to succeed in business, you should focus more on cultivating “true fans” than lots of fans. True fans are the people who have a deep connection with you, engage with you, and refer you to others. Often, true fans also give you the sense of community and belonging that is increasingly fleeting online.
Fast forward to today, and it seems like you have to have a bazillion fans to make any progress online. Good news: You don't! The 1,000 true fans rule still rings true in both online and offline business.
However, you do have to go about attracting your true fans differently, because the way information gets distributed on the internet has changed a lot. This new post explores what to adjust in your writing and content creation efforts.
Social Media Hates News Now
c/o Ivan Samkov via Pexels
The biggest disruption to media in the last 25 years was social media. Since social media was a powerful distributor, bloggers and publications alike saw great success syndicating article links to these feeds. Brands with especially juiced headlines, the BuzzFeeds and Upworthys of the world, crushed the competition.
But now, that's changing. One by one, these same platforms are deprioritizing news, even though people want it. The running joke on journalist Threads is that people want it to be a platform where they can safely get and share news, but Instagram won't allow it.
How will this change websites? How will it change writing, and content? The New York Times has the scoop.
A New AI Writer
Oops, sorry -- punctuation error there.
I should have said “A New AI: Writer,” because Writer is the name of a new AI startup you might want to be aware of. (We really need to stop with these general company names though, this is getting ridiculous.)
Writer is interesting, though. It differs from LLMs like ChatGPT in that Writer has been really transparent about what information its technologies were trained on. OpenAI and most other artificial intelligence have not been so forthcoming. The transparency play is an interesting positioning move, especially since many are concerned about the inherent biases of AI engines.
If your organization is wanting to work with AI, but have sensitive company data you don't want swirling all around the internet, Writer might be great for you. Its example use cases pertain to things like medical data, legal discovery, financial services, and life sciences.
Zapier's blog, one of the best in the biz, has the scoop.
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