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Stock & Flow: The Ideal Writing Mix for Your Online Content

[ via Robin Sloane, Snark Market ]

I was an economics major in college, and I’ve been grateful ever since for the few key concepts it drilled into me: things like opportunity cost, sunk cost, and marginal cost. I think about this stuff all the time in my everyday life. Sometimes I consider the marginal cost of, like, making myself another sandwich.

But one of the biggest takeaways was the concept of stock and flow.

Do you know about this? Couldn’t be simpler, and really, it’s not even that much of an a-ha. There are two kinds of quantities in the world. Stock is a static value: money in the bank, or trees in the forest. Flow is a rate of change: fifteen dollars an hour, or three thousand toothpicks a day. Easy. Too easy.

But I actually think stock and flow is the master metaphor for media today. Here’s what I mean:

  • Flow is the feed. It’s the posts and the tweets. It’s the stream of daily and sub-daily updates that remind people that you exist.
  • Stock is the durable stuff. It’s the content you produce that’s as interesting in two months (or two years) as it is today. It’s what people discover via search. It’s what spreads slowly but surely, building fans over time.

I feel like flow is ascendant these days, for obvious reasons—but we neglect stock at our own peril. I mean that both in terms of the health of an audience and, like, the health of a soul. Flow is a treadmill, and you can’t spend all of your time running on the treadmill. Well, you can. But then one day you’ll get off and look around and go: Oh man. I’ve got nothing here.

But I’m not saying you should ignore flow! No: this is no time to hole up and work in isolation, emerging after long months or years with your perfectly-polished opus. Everybody will go: huh? Who are you? And even if they don’t—even if your exquisitely-carved marble statue of Boba Fett is the talk of the tumblrs for two whole days—if you don’t have flow to plug your new fans into, you’re suffering a huge (here it is!) opportunity cost. You’ll have to find them all again next time you emerge from your cave.

Here’s a case study: my pal Alexis Madrigal here in SF has got the stock/flow balance down. On one end of the spectrum, he’s a Twitter natural and a Tumblr adept. Madrigal’s got mad flow; you plug in, and you get a steady stream of interesting stuff every day. But on the other end of the spectrum—and man, this is just so important—he’s working on a deep, nuanced history of green tech in America. He’s working on a book intended to stand the test of time.

You can tell that I want you to stop and think about stock here. I feel like we all got really good at flow, really fast. But flow is ephemeral. Stock sticks around. Stock is capital. Stock is protein.

And the real magic trick in 2010 is to put them both together. To keep the ball bouncing with your flow—to maintain that open channel of communication—while you work on some kick-ass stock in the background. Sacrifice neither. It’s the hybrid strategy.

So, okay, I was thinking about stock and flow while I was doing the dishes just a second ago, and wondered: Wait. There are all these super-successful artists and media people today who don’t really think about flow. Like, Wes Anderson? Come on. He’s all stock. And he seems to do okay.

But I think the secret is that somebody else does his flow for him. I mean, what are PR and advertising? Flow, bought and paid for. Messages metered out over time. But rewind history and put Wes Anderson on his own—alone in the world—and I don’t think you get the same result. His stock is strong stuff: hugely compelling, utterly unique. But how does he tell people about it?

So if you are in the position to have somebody else handle your flow while you tend to your stock: awesome. But that’s true for almost no one, and will (I think?) be true for even fewer over time, so you need to have your own plan for this stuff.

Anyway: this is not a huge insight, I know. Mostly I just wanted to share the lingo, because it’s been echoing in my head since my first microeconomics course. Today, whenever I put my hands on the keyboard, I’m asking myself: Is this stock? Is this flow? How’s my mix? Do I have enough of both?

8 Simple Steps to Set Yourself Up on Social Media

Freelancers new to flying solo can be overwhelmed by the mass of marketing opportunities on the web. And while social media is a great way to promote your business, it can be enormously time consuming.

Like any marketing activity, it takes time to build up your brand, but there is no need for promotional work to distract you from your core business. With careful planning, some quality writing and a time limit on your efforts, you can soon have a strong reputation across a large network of potential clients and promoters.

Setting up an online brand can be done quickly by following these simple steps…

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10 Top Tips to Top Google SEO Rankings (Try saying that 10 times fast!)

Top ranking in Google search isn’t a simple task, there is a huge competition out there you should be aware of some tips to impress the Google bot. I know there are tons of methods available on internet but I would recommend you to go with a simple and short 10 methods to rank top on Google. If you really serious about your business or website or blog, then you should follow each and every step to achieve your rankings.

So let’s start this 10 methods of coaster ride, remember each and every bit of information or method is clearly explained with descriptive words, so let’s start our journey to rank top on Google SEO rankings.
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10 Important Factors To Consider Before Choosing A Web Host

Like most things, making a decision on which web hosting company to choose can be tough. With all the companies out there each promising to have 99% uptime, unlimited resources, and knowledgeable support, there has to be a way to cut through the jargon and make an informed decision. Right?

dell server 10 Important Factors To Consider Before Choosing A Web Host
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This guide will help you make that decision by showing you how to compare apples to apples. By understanding what hosting companies mean by what they say, you’ll be able to decide which hosting company and package best suits your needs.
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More Than 70 Blog/RSS Directories

A List of blog and rss directories. Submit your url(s)
by toprank

Submit your urls to these sites to gain valuable backlinks, page ranking, exposure and potentially traffic for your blogs and rss feeds.
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Automated Online Backups – Free

A tool for automatic online backups
by JellyHead

MozyLets face it, backing up files is boring, but it is a good idea. Loosing digital photos, client files and important documents can bring a tear to your eye and set you back months or even years. Protecting these files usually means time consuming backups using tapes, burnt disks, or another hard drive, none of which are very reliable.  The solution? Backup online!…. so natually I googled it and the best one in my opinion is Mozy.com

Mozy provides 2 gig of backup space for free. All you need to do is sign up then download and install a very small application, select which folders to backup and choose how often and at what time. If your computer is idle at the times you set then Mozy will automatically backup. Just set, forget and rest assured that your files are safe.

5 Web Marketing Tips

A movie with tips and tricks to boost you online profile
by Aidan

I came across this movie in my web travels and found it to be a useful guide to seo and online marketing. Mark covers all the major points and explains himself clearly.
Watch the video

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