A personal year in review: Success, failure & help from my friends.

Inspired by Gareth M. Skarka, I am doing a quick year in review of my own personal social media and web projects. I hope you can indulge my self focus. Many of the projects never went anywhere, but I learned so much from small tests, little steps, and the generosity of others who shared their knowledge.


Started a social media podcast series. I had one interview that went well, but a lack of people to interview and audience development caused me to shift the format to news updates. After two months of doing that, I let the podcast series end in March. One of the great things about this project was that I got to work with Philsquare who I hope to do business with again in 2012.  They do great work.

Started blogging on LLSocial more frequently. And by frequently I mean at best once a month.

Started a GroupMe SMS account as a backup communication system for Lawrence if Twitter and/or the Internet went down. Seven invited people signed up, but thankfully it hasn’t been needed yet. I admit this is another project I started with enthusiasm, but have not worked on since.


Blogged about my frustration with a lack of investment opportunities in social media and advised investing in one’s self whether with personal accounts or business projects.


Started attending a weekly Sunday morning breakfast organized by Ray Munoz. A number of people joined over the year, and it keeps going strong. You can join us 9:30 AM at Genovese in Lawrence almost every Sunday.

Started researching Twitter names I thought would be good to base a large account around. In the process I secured @free on Twitter.


On April 1st, I first posted to @free with a Google April Fool’s offer of “finger warmers” for typing. Google actually delivered them in the mail.

In mid April, I decided to shift @free follower development from a follow-back model and try promoting it with MyLikes.

On April 22nd started the Twitter account @Lblogs to automatically tweet most of the blog posts in Lawrence.

In late April I decided that an SMS text system for @free might make sense.

My one year anniversary working with ITFO Communications. Working on a variety of thought leadership, marketing and social media projects has helped improve my skill sets in a number of meaningful ways.


Launched a completely custom SMS text service for @free. While I learned so much from the developement, if I had to do it over again, I would have started smaller and used existing technology.  As it is, this was an expensive project that might be more than I need in terms of local targeting.


The one year anniversary of the formation of Social Media Club of Lawrence. I attended most meetings over the previous year and learn so much from everyone who attended and participated.  If I had to point to just one thing that helped me over the past year, it would be the knowledge this group shares every week.

In mid June I started more aggressive development of the @free audience including the use of sponsorships. For more details on this, I am doing a talk about it on Janurary 18th. You can find more details on the Facebook events page.

Predicted that Twitter would need to start doing @ message ads based on keywords users used. While Twitter has yet to attempt to put ads in users @ message sections, they are placing ads in timelines based on keyword usage.


Wrote about my early attempts at using Google+ for audience segmentation. While I am no longer particuarlly excited about Google+ due to a lack of users, I used those same principles to launch new Twitter accounts focusing on students as well as iPhone and Android owners.

In late July I considered creating stickers or key fobs for @free users that could help with branding and/or be the basis for contest entries. I abandoned the idea due to cost and more importantly, the realization that the time it would take to do fullfillment wasn’t reasonable or the best use of my time given the early nature of my startup.

In late July we launch the @free website.


Begin to explore monetization ideas for @free. At the end of August I ask @free readers what they thought.

Create a Facebook app page with Shortstack apps to promote the @free Facebook page.


Suggested a book author topic meeting for Social Media Club of Lawrence. On October 12th we had the meeting.

Put the call out for contributer for new @free accounts. In the process I found my sales lead, Matt, and student lead, Haley.


Launched @universifree, @atFreeiPhone and @atFreeAndroid.

Attended a KU Small Business Development Center introductory class on starting a business. I had created several businesses before, but still found the class very helpful. I followed it up with a meeting to brainstorm ideas for @free as well as doing a monetization plan.

Attended a Social IRL conference where I got some good advice from Ben A. Smith.

Decided to list Documentary Films .Net for sale, and wrote up copy for it.


Attended, and @free sponsored, a SocialIRL event in St. Louis.

Put a blog post on Documentary Films. Net saying it was for sale.

@free got its first five business sponsors.

Created my first YouTube video to go along with a blog post about Follower Wonk. The video has less than 30 views, but I learn a considerable amount in the process. I am thankful for all the advice I got from Patrick Conroy about video over this past year.


Sold Documentary Films .Net to a Danish entertainment content company focusing on films.

Update my LinkedIn profile to reflect some of the changes over the last year.

Tried out a new service, Clarify.FM and as a result got to have a phone call with Dan Martell, one of the Internet marketers I respect most.

Changed my personal Twitter username to @JoshD from @lawrencekslive.

Joined Pinterest and found my collecting impulse reignited.

I know many people limit themselves to one resolution or focus for 2012, but if 2011 has taught me anything, is that I will keep taking next step on current projects, try lots of little experiments and then put the focus on what works and keep building on little wins. 2011 had so many failures (I use that in a good way), but out of those, I am really happy with many small wins that built on themselves.

I used Evernote and PostPost to help with my memory of when and what happen this past year.  I highly recommend both free services.


2 thoughts on “A personal year in review: Success, failure & help from my friends.

  1. Josh Davis Post author


    I didn’t get to mention how awesome you are at coming up with social media and domain user names.



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