Sunday, October 03, 2010


JSH: Usenet is a stage

One of the weirder things over the years I've seen are replies from posters who will talk about sci.math as if it's about a dozen posters, act as if I'm talking to them exclusively, and confidently tell me I should just quit bothering them as "no one" is listening to me!!!!!

Most people find public speaking to be terrifying. And for most their world IS made up of roughly a dozen or so people they communicate with on a regular basis.

Some posters appear to just transfer that local feel to Usenet. Which probably allows them to operate here.

If they see Usenet for what it is maybe they'd be terrified of the public speaking to such a huge audience.

But Usenet is global. Potentially you can talk to millions of people if you say something interesting enough, though reality is usually in the few hundreds, while some people like me—according to Google stats again—appear to routinely be read by thousands.

THOUSANDS. Not a few dozen!!!!!!!!

Years ago in reply to one of these people I actually asked them how many people they thought were reading my threads or something of that nature as I'm vague on the specifics of the question but their answer has stuck with me through the years: about 12.

To such people Usenet is a local thing. I'm bugging them in their hangout, and why won't I just leave?

For me Usenet is a global stage from which I can put forward my math ideas and there aren't many such places.

Not in the mainstream—Usenet is THE place for someone like me to put forward mathematical ideas, and it's hard to see why I'd go anywhere else, until I crossed over into the mainstream, and then I wouldn't need Usenet.

To quantify the impact, once I bought ads for my math blog for a while, and quickly spent several hundred dollars with ads in a few countries around the world managing to do that in about two weeks. Meanwhile my blog had received that many hits and more on its own!!!

But the money was well spent as I could better quantify the value of the organic hits to my blog by comparing with what it would cost to drive traffic using ads and that was really informative.

I'd guess that Usenet for me is roughly worth about $10,000 US per month on a conservative estimate in terms of ad spend if I were pushing the information out directly without it.

So I probably get about $100k US per year benefit from using Usenet. One hundred thousand dollars U.S. for those in countries who present dollar amounts differently than here in the United States.

And to posters who think that a nasty reply, calling me names, or endlessly claiming my research is worthless will make a difference against $100k per year, they're not living in the real world.

They don't have a snowballs chance in hell.

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