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The Ulbricht Silk Road Saga: 3 Quick Takeaways For Platform Creators

The founder of silk road received a life sentence. Here are 3 quick takeaways from this saga for platform creators

1: Pick Your Domain

What is illegal in country A may be legal in country B but one thing you should do is that you should make sure you are not a citizen of a country where your platform would be considered as being illegal. Whether you are living in that country is irrelevant if they decide to come after you. Now they might not get you but you should be ready to live with the fact that you might seen as a criminal or lawbreaker in your home country.

2: Its Smooth Sailing If The Authorities Are Behind You

I do not like the idea of bitcoin. If you ask me, it looks criminal. That is, the potential for criminality is high. Bitcoin looks more criminal than e-gold.
In a fair world, the government that prosecuted the people behind e-gold would have apologized to them after the bitcoin/silk road saga. Without bitcoin, Silk Road may never have sprouted. In fact, Silk Road became a possibility because of bitcoin and it was built around bitcoin.
However, e-gold was shutdown. Bitcoin is still being celebrated. Nothing touched bitcoin even when it was so glaring that it was the key to the existence of Silk Road because the authorities have looked at bitcoin and concluded that it was a good thing.
What is the difference between bitcoin and e-gold? One was created with the full awareness and support of ‘the’ authority but e-gold is from Canada.

3: Do Not Get Carried Away

It is a crime to get carried away by the success of your platform even when what you are doing is not criminal. This man slipped in many ways but if there is a lesson to draw from this, it is that your head should always be on your shoulder. If you have a growth plan for you platform and have put in place actions you would take if the platform reaches certain benchmarks of growth, stick to that plan. It might cost you something for life if you allow its success to get to your head.


This will be the second time I’ll be giving a mention to wattpad.com on this blog. The first time, I concentrated on the people behind the platform. I have taken time to socialize on the platform and this time around, I will be beaming my torch light on the people using wattpad and the Animal Farm complex that hovers just below the surface.
Animal Farm?
For those who missed out on when the education system was designed to educate, Animal Farm is a literary masterpiece that depicted the inequality that is inherent in any society.
Wattpaders are symptomatic of this Animal Farm complex in subtle shades. Come with me as we walk into the social dynamics of ‘these’ people. You are going to enjoy this but put at the back of your mind that this is still about reviewing a website/platform and seeing how it can be optimized to give out its best to users.
Basic Info: How Wattpad Works
It is a platform that brings readers and writers together, making readers out of writers and writers out of readers, allowing for both osmosis and diffusion to take place within a singular state of different concentrates (I challenge you to come up with a more original description).
Heavy Vs Lite
There are people who have chalked up to half a million reads/eyeballs. That is, what they have written and posted on the platform has been read at least 500,000 times. These are the heavies.
Then there are people who have less than 30 reads. These poor souls are the extra lite.
Yet again, the heavies have some huge following while as you will expect, the extra lite as so lite that you can drink 15 crates without felling tipsy. What does this difference imply? A lot.
Follow/Do Not Follow dichotomy
People who have so mush (sorry, I meant to say much, although I think it should actually be many) people following them tend to follow fewer people (too few) when compared to those following them. It is like twitterverse 2.
The massive number of reads means they will get massive and increased following. At the same time, they are no longer obliged to follow those that follow them. Neither are they obliged to personalize their messages. Rather they use Blackberry Broadcast to announce one thing or the other (BTW, a word of advice to wattpadders that want to join the heavies, slow down on your broadcasts and go for personalized messages PM. And if you want to tell everybody or all your followers something, use the bottom page of your next update to do so or go back on your last posting, click on edit and place it at the bottom, bold it so that it would be different from the story).
This reminds me of twitterverse culture where all the star has to do is twit and beehive of followers will buzz round their every character.
In case you do not know (i.e. talking to the heavies), you are perpetrating a subculture, importing something that should not be because the makeup of wattpad (where everyone is a potential writer and reader) implies that a more socially homogenous and integrated system should apply. That is, come down your high horse and interact with your fellow writers and readers.
Drawing/Fishing for Relevance
Simple. All you need do is read a chapter and post and incisive comment. It may be a one liner but this is not usually the case. That said, what you should focus on is the incisiveness of your comment. Being flippant or sounding trite DOES NOT WORK HERE. This is not to say people do not do and get away with it.
If you can do this, you would be throwing the right night into the sea and you could catch a ton of fish (too bad you cannot currently look at stats to see how many people check out your profile page, that will give you an idea of how relevant you are becoming, aside from you followers. For the record, I was only joking about adding the G+ profile page view stat).
Drwing/Fishing for comment/stars
There are some who actually ask you to read. And there is nothing wrong in doing this as long as you do not come off sounding beggarly.
The golden rule applies here. Do unto other what you want done to you. so it becomes a tit for tat issue. I scratch your back and you scratch mine. This is vain. Ideally, it should not be the case but politeness (well, it is polite to return a ‘favor’), personal interest (they will come back to vote on your next installment), we-are-the-little-guys/us-against-them mentality and other issues compels this tit for tat to continue unabated.
So what the we have in a nutshell?
A platform that is on its part to completely replicating our offline societal structure of the Haves and the Have Nots.
A platform that allows for soft scheming as one of the unstated basis of interaction between members.
A website that is streaked with a competitiveness that is not yet bordering on the unhealthiness (emphasis on the not yet).
It piques my interest to see how they will nip this at the bud and that is dependent on whether they see these things as issues to address.

3 Reasons Why People Shy Away From Opening A Twitter Account

Left Behind Complex

I missed the bus. The air flight is full. All spaces have been taken. They are having so much fun, why should I spoil it for them. The left behind complex anchors your feet (fingers really) from clicking that Sign Up tab.
Even if you eventually sign up, the left behind mentality might just make you to look like the person that came late to the company party and looked for in inconspicuous corner to hide until it was a politically correct time to make an exit. So you just you hear people say, I do have a twitter account but I am not an active user.

Building From Scratch

Filling your twitter space is daunting. These are the two ways people make a hash of things and both are equally frustrating.
One Way
Follow established and highly impersonal twitter accounts. Like the accounts of banks, newspapers, conglomerates etc.
The other Way
Follow the stars. Yes, they feel more ‘personal’ than following monolithic companies. Besides, you can easily immerse yourself with whatever it is that is going on in their lives. Of course, it will do you a lot better if you can follow stars who and by nature of what they do, are more interactive than others (comedians, social commentators etc)
Both ways are still a cover up. The fact remains that building from scratch and creating a real twitter social community is too daunting a task. It is something that takes time, like the relationship between wine and time. And time is something you never had, which takes you back to the left behind complex.

Simply Complex

Twitter is so easy. Yeah, right. What is hashtag? What is the difference between...I do not even know enough to ask an intelligent sounding question. And it is embarrassing Googling up “how to use twitter”. It is simple alright, it is simply complex

Quit the Doomsday Attitude; how can I really overcome early Twitter Jitters?

If you leave things as they are, more people will shy away from twitter and those that join will take too much of a time to come out of their shell. But is there any way that this can be helped?

Take it like the physical social world. It is a new place right?

Go as a group

Even if none of you know anything about the club (sorry, Twitter) or have never been there before, going as a group allows all of you to draw confidence from each other –or laugh at/with each other, which is a cool way of feeling at home in a new environment. You guys get to follow each other, create your own community and build your confidence in a new environment together.

Ask someone that knows to Accompany You

Yes, just like going to a new place. Having a guide that is conversant with the place will quickly put you at ease. You become part of his/her network and gently introduce you to ‘real’ people. You can find your way from there.

Twitter could become a dying network if more people feel left behind, think it too hard to start from scratch or feel they will not be able to wrap their heads round the lingo. No pressure on them then.