Friday, April 13, 2007

Blue Dot April Newsletter - Making Friends

Our user base continues to grow each month, but I've notice that many of our users are not connected to Friends on Blue Dot. I think that's such a shame. For as nice as Blue Dot is for saving and recalling your own bookmarks, I know I get so much more out of it because it connects me to other people.

So I thought I'd share with you:

  • Top 5 Reasons Blue Dot is Better with Friends
  • Effective Ways to Build Your Blue Dot Community
Mike's Friends Top 5 Reasons Blue Dot is Better with Friends

Keeping in touch with old Friends

When I first got involved with Blue Dot, I invited a couple of my best friends from high-school. Since we are in different parts of the country, and life is busy, we had almost lost track of each other. It's hard to find an excuse to send email, call, or visit. But we still have a lot in common and want to stay in touch.

Now that we use Blue Dot, I get a chance to follow along with things they're Dotting. I also tend to write comments in my Dots, with my friends in mind. Not only do I record what I want to remember about a site - but I try to write something I think my friends would find interesting.

Occasionally, we have conversations using the Blue Dot "Add Comment" feature (which is ONLY accessible to you and your friends - no spam here!).

Tapping the experts

I'm a career software developer, but there are always new things to learn about in our industry. So, I try to pick Friends that are experts in areas I'm just learning about. I ask them to "Dot" their favorite resources on the topic. And, when I find something I don't quite understand, I can Dot about it on Blue Dot. More often than not, one of my Friends sees my post and gives me the extra bit of advice I need to get un-stuck.

When I am looking for information, I search my Friend's Dots and I usually find a great recommendation - even if the Dot was created many months before I needed it.

Team research (secret or otherwise)

If you work in a team that wants to keep up with and share the latest developments in your field, or share competitive research, Blue Dot is an easy way to do that. And, if you all agree to use a common tag, you'll be able to see all your Dots grouped together. For example, we use the tag "bdmentions" to share all the blog posts and news articles that we find on the web.

Learn how to create a private Friend List if you only want a subset of your friends to see some of your Dots.

Planned serendipity

Planned Serendipity is something we didn't expect, but that happens all the time to those of us with a lot of Friends on Blue. Someone will Dot about an upcoming event (e.g., a Demetri Martin concert in Seattle) if they think some of their friends might be interested in going. Blue Dot comments make a great way to organize a group to go on impromptu hikes, weekend camping trips, or even just beer-nights.

Bored? What are your Friends sharing?

When you have a few minutes to burn during the day, most people go to a popular internet news site. You may find something interesting to read, but it won't be very unique to you and your friends. Since I have many Blue Dot Friends scouring the web each day, each dotting their own idiosyncratic sites, I get to read more eclectic and sometimes more interesting stuff by browsing my Friend's Dots.

Effective Ways to Build Your Blue Dot Community

We recognize that it can be hard to get your friends to join Blue Dot. People generally don't have time, they don't see the value is saving their bookmarks online, or they don't think they have anything to share.

On the other hand, once they try it, many feel that they can't imagine going back to surfing the Internet without Blue Dot. Here are some ideas to help you build your community:

  • Invite people who have an interest in YOU. If you're just out of school, invite some of your friends that no longer live in the same city. You can invite them one at a time, or many at once using our address book importer.
  • Share something of interest to them. The most effective way to get people interested is to send them something that you've already shared on Blue Dot.
    • When you create a Dot, click the "Add Friends by Email" at the bottom of the Blue Dot window.
    • Click the Share button on any of your Dots, and either pick Email This, or send them the address of the Permalink page.
    • Send many related Dots at once. You can send a link to all your Dots on a specific topic. Just go to My Dots, and click the topic tag in any of your Dots. For example, I'm interested in Space, so I could send my friends this link:
  • Put a link to your Blue Dot profile in your email signature. At the end of every email I send, I add the signature block:

Mike Koss Blue Dot - Head Cheerleader

That way, if people want to find out more about me, they can go right to my profile and see a quick summary of the stuff I'm interested in.

  • Don't give up. If you're friends don't respond at first, follow up with a personal email or phone call. Many times people are busy - and getting a message from a company they don't know won't get their attention like a direct call from you would.
Good luck! I hope these tips were helpful. Let me know if you have any success stories you'd like to share with me - and above all - I hope you have fun using Blue Dot with your Friends.
If you have questions or suggestions for ways to improve our service, please feel free to reply to this mail or send them to us at
Mike Koss Head Cheerleader, BlueDot.Us


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