Last week I had the pleasure of interviewing Wendy Johnson. Wendy is the Top Plurker (by Karma which is Plurks popularity metric) and has been for quite some time. Prior to this interview I did not know much about Wendy nor did I understand how and why Plurk and knitting worked so well together. That’s right Wendy is a knitting blogger and author of a books!
As I interviewed Wendy the reason why she has such a following became obvious. Wendy is not only a very interesting and dynamic person but she is extremely personable. As I dug a little bit deeper into Wendy’s Plurks and her blog it was amazing to see the responsiveness of her audience. There is no doubt the level of commitment on both sides.
There is no doubt that any business can capitalize from successful social networking. Wendy has a wonderful perspective and we could all learn a few pointers from her success on Plurk.
Howard: I think there are many small business owners that can benefit from your experience and success with social media. Can you tell us a little bit about the impact to you blog and business from the use of Plurk and other social media platforms.
Wendy: Actually, using social media has no impact on my blogging, or my business — I consider it just a fun extra. I have no agenda on Plurk, I’m not really trying to push anything — just having fun chatting with friends.
My success on Plurk is a result of my success with my blog. My blog is quite popular and I have a lot of followers. When I got on Plurk, a huge number of my blog readers followed. Those are the people with whom I interact on Plurk every day.
So my experience is actually the opposite of what you are interested in, I think. The success of my blog impacted my success on Plurk, not the other way around.
Howard: You don’t use Plurk to share new blog posts and to promote? My assumption was that you would be growing your subscription to your blog based on your tremendous success on Plurk. After all you are the current karma champ surpassing the world’s top bloggers that have significant followings and influence. Does top Plurk karma status must create additional opportunities you would not have been exposed to otherwise?
Wendy: Well, I admit that I do a Plurk announcement when I’ve done a new blog post, but that is more as a courtesy to my Plurk friends who read my blog than promotion.
As some background:
I average 3 - 5 million views of my blog per month, and have done so for several years now.
Because of my blog’s popularity, a well-known and well-respected literary agent contacted me a few years ago and talked me into writing a book (a sort of knitting autobiography), which he sold for me. I’m currently working on my second book (a how-to and collection of sock patterns), to be published April 2009 by Potter Craft (a division of Random House).
I have a day job in the federal government and do the blog and knitting designs on the side. Started as a hobby, but has become somewhat lucrative.
What has top Plurk Karma gained me? Well, a lot of followers on Plurk who are probably wondering why the heck I am the top user, considering that I talk about knitting, my cat, and other ordinary topics. I can’t say that it has created any opportunities for me, but then, I haven’t actively sought any.
How do you manage your time? I know the effort it takes to work a full time job, blog, Plurk, write a Book, and take care of Lucy (the cat). How do you pull it all together and keep your loyal audience engaged?
Wendy: Yup, Alexa is not a reliable source. In fact, a friend of mine did a blog entry about that a while back comparing her blog to mine.
How do I manage my time? I never sleep.
Seriously though, I am always thinking, and writing in my head, which probably contributes to my insomnia. When I get home from work I write my blog post pretty quickly, as I usually have it composed in my head. At the moment I’m not doing much on the book, as it is at the publisher and I’m just waiting to see and proof the final galleys before it is printed. But I spend evenings working up new designs, playing with Lucy, Plurking, and watching old movies. My agent is working on getting me a commitment from my publisher to do another book, so no doubt I’ll have to step up the pace a bit if and when that happens.
Howard: Alexa is often criticized as a metric and with good reason. What is the secret to your success?
Wendy: Beats me, I find it hard to understand why so many people want to hang on my every word. But as far as knitting is concerned, I am very good at what I do.
Howard: You don’t build such a loyal following over night. I would say you are not only a great knitter but a fantastic blogger and social media expert. What was the tipping point of your success?
Wendy: Well, thanks. The blog success comes from being able to express oneself and maintaining a humorous positive outlet. I think that’s a key on Plurk, too. There are some people who do nothing but whine and complain and offer TMI (Too Much Information) — these are people I unfollow very quickly.
The tipping point? I’m not sure — it’s all been very gradual. I’ve been writing the blog for over 6 years now. I did get a definite boost a few years ago when there was an article about me, my knitting, and my blog in the Washington Post. August or September 2004, I think it was?
Howard :Google works wonders for finding that Sept. 2004 article titled “Knitting Together a Web Community“.
What is it about blogging and knitting that work so well together?
Wendy: Heh. Clearly your Google skills are better than mine — I searched and failed. I think knitters just love to talk about their craft and show other knitters what they are working on. Blogs are a great way to do that!
Howard: Thanks so much Wendy this was fun. I look forward to getting to know you even better on Plurk!
Wendy Johnson is a mild-mannered civil servant by day and a maniacal knitter by night. She is the author of the upcoming book “Socks From the Toe Up: Essential Techniques and Patterns from Wendy Knits”
The origional post was written on ourmonmouthblog.
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