Wednesday, September 25

You Can Make The Internet Meaningful By Doing Stuff Offline.

I had never heard of neuralgia until a few days ago. It is pain in one or more nerves caused by a change in neurological structure of the nerves rather than by the excitation of healthy pain receptors. In other words, the nerves tell your brain to feel intense stimulus even when there isn't any.

It is painful. It is debilitating. And it afflicts someone I've come to know over the past few months. She has suffered with it for the better part of a decade but most people didn't even know it.

Most of the time, Tinu Abayomi-Paul's condition manifests itself as chronic back pain. This time is different. It is severe enough that she will be undergoing surgery and decommissioned for a month, maybe longer.

This is especially challenging for her because, like me, she has a small business. In her case, she has two micro-businesses with an emphasis on search engine optimization and social media. And because both businesses rely extensively on providing services, she will not generate any income while out.

What do small business owners do when there is no safety net? 

Sure, some business owners are like me. You set something aside to weather the storm and hope it's enough. This time around, I'm cutting it close after recovery. But that's a story for a different time.

I'm only mentioning it now because Abayomi-Paul is facing something similar but different. She didn't have the luxury of being ready to weather an unexpected surgery this time around. She needs help.

She isn't asking for charity. All she wants is to work through recovery. So Abayomi-Paul had the novel idea to run an Indiegogo campaign to raise the money she needs to make ends meet while she recovers. Here's her story, along with some discounted packages that she put together for her campaign.

This is a short 10-day run campaign. It ends next Tuesday and you can find out more information about  Abayomi-Paul on her website Free Traffic Tips. For campaign details and packages, visit Indiegogo.

Do keep in mind that I'm taking a leap of faith as this isn't a pure endorsement. I haven't worked with Abayomi-Paul before, but I do know plenty of people who have. Mostly, I've enjoyed some banter with her as part of a social network group. I've also read her content and watched a few instructional videos that she has produced. She knows her stuff without all the bull that other people like to spread.

Who knows? It might make a great case study or best practice as one of those stories for the other Internet — the one that people sometimes forget about in favor of big data, big numbers, and big distractions.

We can make a meaningful online experience by doing things offline.

Yes, there really is an Internet with deeper purpose. It's the one that many pros abandoned so they could write business card books about social. So you don't hear about this stuff as much anymore because it doesn't draw traffic. If you want visitors, you need to write about landing on this page instead.

But hey, that's mostly okay. I don't begrudge anyone an opportunity to enjoy a silly cat video or hawk some ROI (oddly) to companies that will never appreciate why Dawn Saves Animals without the benefit of coupon codes, junk mail, or mountains of content.

You see, it's all very simple really. They do something instead. And then what they did lands online. It's something I hope my kids learn. Legacies can be written about online, but we make them offline. I think Abayomi-Paul deserves that chance. Many people do. I'll write about a few more soon enough.

But today, given all the changes coming down on search engine optimization, maybe this will be a great opportunity to talk to someone who knows about it. And all she is really asking for in return is a little time offline so she can come back and deliver something meaningful online. So what do you think?

Is this a worthwhile case study for business practitioners who have the misfortune of a medical emergency? Or maybe you might like to hear from someone else about Abayomi-Paul? Kami Huyse, Anne Weiskopf, Jennifer Windrum, and Ann Handley were among the first funders. Or maybe you would like to talk about something else all together? I'm fine with that too. The comments are yours.
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