Parents take one look at Jim Shaikh’s invention, the Yoomi, and go “why didn’t I think of that?”. The Yoomi is a self-heating baby bottle. Every parent with a baby has faced the difficulty of a screaming infant who is desperate for some milk, but they have no way of heating up a bottle. Enter “The Yoomi” a bottle that heats up itself when you need it. Brilliant. So brilliant, it is being featured in a new exhibition at The British Library which opened yesterday to focus on the fantastic inventiveness of Britons. But inventors featured in this talent line-up need to take a step back. The reality is that the plaudits inventors receive at the launch of their products soon turn into negative reactions and despair. Every invention eventually faces negativity, no matter how brilliant it seems at the start.
The IT research and advice company, Gartner, call this “The Hype Cycle“; when new technology is introduced everyone loves it and before too long it reaches a peak of excitement and interest. Then that plummets into a “trough of disillusionment” as people find things wrong with the technology. It can take several years before anything reaches the “plateau of productivity”.
And the same is true for blogging. People start with all the best plans for a future as a blogger; businesses have targets for readership and great ideas as to how their blog will take them “into the 21st Century”. At the start, all is well. Everyone involved is keen, enthusiastic and supportive. Gradually, more and more readers arrive and the subscriber numbers start to climb significantly. After a while, the blog starts to achieve more than the blogger could have hoped for – more readers, more quickly and more interactions than expected. Brilliant.
Then – oh dear – the rot sets in. The blogger finds their enthusiasm starts to fade; other business activities and new projects begin to get in the way. Eventually, blogging gets relegated to something of back seat. Before you know it, those once enthusiastic bloggers are not writing very often, resulting in few comments and precious little, if any, business. Disillusionment sets in. Indeed, in companies the CEO can say things like “I told you blogging was a waste of time.”
But, then something happens to re-ignite interest. It may be a random comment on an old blog post, or it could be that you meet someone who is one of your readers who asks why you have “given up”. Or you may be reading something which shows the power of blogging in terms of generating leads. So those flames of passion for blogging get fanned and you restart your writing, only to find it does work. Aha…you knew it all along…!
Bloggers appear to follow the same bumpy road as technology in the Gartner Hype Cycle. So, the question is, where are you on this blogging cycle? Knowing where you are can help you plan ahead and can improve your motivation. After all, if you are finding blogging a chore, if you can’t come up with ideas as to what to write about, or if you simply do not have the motivation to write, you know you are in the “trough of disillusionment”. And knowing that means you can be assured that things will get better.
Equally, if everyone is loving your blog, if you adore writing it, the chances are you are at the “peak of inflated expectations” so you can prepare for the rapid descent downhill…!
So, how long does it take to reach the “plateau of productivity” – for most blogs who are in the Technorati index which are regulars and well-loved, it’s around two to three years before you “make it”. The chances of being an overnight success in blogging are pretty slim. Stick at it and you will succeed – but give up in that trough of disillusionment and you are shutting the door to potential success in the future. And maybe that’s why many British inventions never succeed – we give up too soon, only to find that other nations take up our ideas when we are disillusioned. The exhibitors at The British Library should take note…!
Graham Jones is an Internet Psychologist who studies the way people use the online world, in particular how people engage with businesses. He uses this knowledge to help companies improve their online connections to their customers and potential customers and offers consultancy, workshops, masterclasses and webinars. He also speaks regularly at conferences and business events. Graham is an award-winning writer and the author of 32 books, several of which are about various aspects of the Internet. For more information connect with me on Google+