teh s3quence 015 – HALLOWEEN 2011 EDITION

Because I like to do things out of order (and also because I totally forgot that I hadn’t posted teh s3quence 014…), I’m giving you teh s3quence 015, the HALLOWEEN EDITION!

Usually when I make a Halloween mix, it’s pretty straightforward — pick a bunch of songs that are about zombies, vampires, ghosts or are otherwise spooky, mash them together, make sure there’s at least one requisite track from an actual Zombie (Zombie Girl, White Zombie, Rob Zombie, Nik Fiend (who actually is a zombie) and call it good. This year, I went about it a bit different.

Rather than just get a bunch of Halloween-themed songs, I tried to pick tracks that were actually spooky, not just about spooky things, or spooky in a campy way (see: Sneaky Bat Machine and Voltaire). So this mix has a lot more emphasis on mood and ambiance. Oh, there’s the Zombie Girl track in there, too, and I threw in “Everyday is Halloween” at the end to lighten the mood (how often can you say that you added Ministry to lighten the mood?), but otherwise I was going for stuff you might actually play if you were hosting a haunted house or a let’s-all-watch-The-Exorcist party. Also, you know, I had to step up my game this year to compete with @slighter’s Halloween Mix…

 

Track list

01 Pugilistas – Sea Soul’s Breath
02 Skinny Puppy – Testure
03 Velvet Acid Christ – Fun With Knives
04 Alien Sex Fiend – All the Madmen (Padded Cell Mix)
05 Air – Radian (excerpt)
06 WAX MONSTERS – Mercury
07 Delerium – New Horizons
08 Marilyn Manson – Redeemer
09 Gary Numan – Dark
10 Angelo Badlamenti – Haunting & Heartbreaking
11 Dax Riggs – Night is the Notion
12 The Black Keys – Strange Times
13 Godspeed You Black Emperor! – The Dead Flag Blues
14 jazzsequence – when the lights go off in space, do you say “Bloody Mary” ten times in front of a mirror just to see if she comes and slits your throat?
15 Krii – Dzaes Manouverz
16 Le Presage (feat. Mr. Dibbs and Jel) – Invitation to Hell
17 DJ Krush – The Blackhole
18 Nine Inch Nails – a mixture of nightmares (Symphony of Noise Remix)
19 Meat Beat Manifesto – She’s Unreal
20 Funker Vogt – Seelenwanderung
21 Zombie Girl – Symphony of the Living Dead (Part 2)
22 Queen Adreena – Heavenly Surrender
23 Ministry – Everyday is Halloween [Original 12″ Version]

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There’s only one zombie story…and it sucks

After much hype and to-do, I decided to give AMC’s new zombie show, The Walking Dead, a go.  54 minutes into the 1 hour & 6 and I was already bored to death of the headshots, raspy whispers and groaning, and the “ohmygod the last bastion of hope is actually full of zombies but no one knows!!!”

Dude.  I like horror.  I watched the Nightmare on Elm Street series when I was in early elementary school.  But what is it about zombies?  I mean, seriously.  Here’s a synopsis of every fucking zombie story ever:

– You wake up from a coma
– Everyone is dead
– There are zombies
– Also, there are a few survivors who know wtf is going on
– There’s some place that is supposed to be safe from zombies
– It isn’t

I figured that, you know, you’re going to run a TV show about zombies, there has to be more to it than that, right?  Some kind of new twist?  How the hell are you going to run an entire 13 episode series on the premise of “everyone’s dead, some of the dead are zombies and they want to eat you.”  At least in 28 Days Later there was the whole “humanity is worse than the zombies, maybe we deserved this” thing going on – morbid and makes you want to slit your wrists, but at least it’s something else.  And it suddenly occurred to me that the thing about Cherie Priest’s zombie steampunk book Boneshaker (a freaking awesome book, btw) that was awesome, wasn’t the zombies.

So, then I think, wtf?  Why are zombies so popular?  They aren’t sexy like vampires.  They don’t have the whole Jekyll/Hyde thing like werewolves – a metaphor for angsty men who need some kind of justification for not being able to control their anger.  They’re just dead people.  Who aren’t.  The whole zombie meme came out of – oops! – accidentally burying people alive (usually said people had some sort of disease which gave them the semblance of death, like a coma, until you buried them and they woke up in a coffin and tried to claw their way out.  This also may have had a bit to do with the whole superstition that graveyards are haunted).  Zombies are like the least interesting horror creation, ever.  Are they trying to play on our fear of our own mortality?  Because I’m totally freaked out that I’m going to die and come back as some undead version of myself intent on eating my progeny’s flesh.  Yep.  I don’t know.  I don’t get it.  Zombies suck.

How not to use Twitter

I’m done.  Seriously, I’ve had it.  I’m done with the lies and the hype and the spam and the spin doctoring.  I’m done with “twitter methods” that promise thousands of followers and fame and fortune and all they really deliver is spam, affiliate marketing, and zombies – the precise thing they claim to avoid.

You want to ruin any desire you had to ever use twitter for what it is – a microblogging, communication platform?  Here’s what you do:

Spam RocketStep 1 – find some kind of site, network, ebook, method, scam, or tool that requires you to auto-follow people who follow you.  It doesn’t matter what site, network, ebook, method, scam, or tool you choose.  There’s plenty to choose from.  Some are free, and some are $97.  This is the single best way to crap up your twitter account.

Now why would I say it craps up your account?  Isn’t it required to send Direct Messages to people on twitter to follow them?  Doesn’t that hinder communication?

You want to know what hinders communication?  Not being able to read the stuff that I actually wanted to read to begin with.  Having to dig through line after line after line of bile I don’t care about, and retweeted links I saw 2 hours ago.  Having to filter through teeth whitening, and auto-fed links from Google Alerts that probably the twitter user in question hasn’t even read.  You want to know what hinders communication?  Being auto-DM’d shite links for more affiliate crap, scams, networks, ebooks, tools, and twitter methods that require me to join their network or buy their book.  Not being able to even look at my own DMs and creating a rule in Outlook to auto-delete all DMs that aren’t a message from TrueTwit to verify my identity, because the alternative is hundreds of emails a day for garbage I don’t care about.  That hinders communication.  Not able to send a DM?  @mention me and deal.

That brings me to Step 2 on how to ruin your twitter experience.

Step 2 – Auto DM your new followers.  What better way to make your twitter experience miserable than to spread some misery of your own?  Here’s a clue: no one likes auto-DMs.  The whole world of twitter has turned into a den of con-jobs, marketers, and spam, and the whole auto-DM thing basically ruins Direct Messaging as a whole.  The solution?  Stop following stupid people.  I propose that from now on, anyone who auto-DMs anyone else is instantly unfollowed.  Honestly, I don’t care what you have to say if what you have to say is forced on me in a Direct Message.  Now, some people just say Hi in an auto-DM, and those people I may be able to tolerate.  Maybe.  But if there’s [co]http://anythingatall[de] I don’t care, you go into the fecking trash bin.  If I followed you, probably I looked at your home url and thought you were cool, but if you are going to send me the same url I already know – or worse, send me your affiliate coded link to whatever-the-crap you’re selling – you’re on a fast track to my shit list.  And honestly, I should make a shit list, now that twitter’s added lists…

Step 3 – follow a whole bunch of people you don’t really care about.  Now why would you do this?  Simple: because some twitter method told you to.  Or because some site or network that guarantees hundreds or even thousands of followers requires it.  If you don’t care what they have to say, why bother?  So what’s the definition of “someone you don’t really care about”?  Well, one trick is to go into someone’s follower list who you do care about, and follow all of their recent followers.  You know nothing about any of these people, whether they’re robots, humans, porn, or spam, you just click click clickety-click through page after page after page until you’ve capped out your maximum number of users you can follow in a day.  Effing fantastic, sounds like a great way to waste a half hour.  While you’re at it, you might as well try to scoop out your eyeballs with a spoon, pour some mustard on them, and eat them for breakfast for all the good either of those things will do you.

Here’s the thing: twitter is all about communication and sharing.  At its best, it opens up a channel to communicate globally about topics you’re interested in, with people you would never have known about otherwise.  As such, it comes down to Dunbar’s number: 150.  You honestly can’t keep up with a whole lot more than 150 people and have a real, engaging, two-way dialog with those people.  It’s been proven in studies that Facebook users with hundreds of friends really only actually keep in touch with a small handful.  Our brain just can’t handle relationships in excess of  a few dozen.

So, with twitter, if you are following a ton of people, into the thousands, your twitter stream becomes an unreadable landfill of refuse that never ends.  There’s no conversation, only chaos, and amidst the chaos is spam and ads and affiliate marketing and crap.  Sure, about 50% of those thousands of people (maybe more, but it’s always been roughly 1:2 when I’ve tested this theory) will give you a reciprocal follow, but who cares?  It’s just a number, it doesn’t mean anything.  Most of those reciprocal follows are from auto-following zombies like you’ve made yourself into.

There are those that will say that the numbers mean everything.  That it’s all about the numbers, and the content doesn’t even matter.  That once you hit a magic twitter number, say 10,000, you’re set.  You can advertise anything, blog anything, sell anything, and have enough people click it that you can make a decent living off it.  Even if only 1% of your followers click on your links or ads, that 1% still amounts to 100 people, and that still equates to a lot of traffic/money.

The reality is this theory is bullshit.

No, really, it’s bullshit.

I say this as someone who’s tested and used one of these fabulous “twitter methods” for several months.  Let me give you a little comparison.  I have our business website [ap].  [ap] has a twitter account @ArcanePalette.  I ran through the steps of setting up the “twitter method” on @ArcanePalette for about a week and stopped shy of adding 1000+ people to follow.  I probably got to 800 or so that I was following, and quit.  I left the account sit, and gradually the follower (and following) numbers exceeded 1000 because I was doing reciprocal follows.  The twitter stream was unreadable, but it didn’t matter because I had other accounts (namely @jazzs3quence) that I actually read.  I didn’t pay much attention to who ended up following @ArcanePalette.

On the other side I set up several different twitter accounts that all ultimately directed to jazzsequence.com.  At the beginning, they were pointing to the home page, and then later they were directing traffic to specific pages reviewing (with my fabulous affiliate link embedded) aforementioned “twitter method”.  In total, I only set up about 4 or 5 accounts but I got each one to 1000 followers before moving on and creating a new account.  I tried every trick that all of the supporters of the “twitter method” said to do: automated tweets with my affiliate link to sell copies of it, automated tweets by feeding links via twitterfeed, I even made myself sound important like I was actually getting sales (although never actually lying and saying it outright.  I’m sure some will say that was my problem).  With 1 account at over 3000 followers, 3 accounts at over 1000 followers each, and 1 account with several hundred (because I stopped mid-week) all pumping links and ads and trackbacks to my site, you’d think that eventually I’d get a single affiliate sale.  Nope.  Not a one.  If there are people with 10,000 followers saying they can make hundreds or even thousands of dollars a day getting 9 or 10 sales everyday, you’d assume with a combined total nearing 7,000 followers that I’d get at least one.  In six months.

It’s a lie: no one’s selling anything. Or not at the scale they say they are.

And what do I get in return?  At first, just looking at numbers, I compared the growth of my twitter followers to the increase in traffic to my blog.  I figured, even if the sales didn’t come, whatever, I’m not a salesman and I don’t want to be.  But traffic is good both for my site and [ap], and if it helped to generate traffic to either of those places, then that would help me/us get a higher Google PageRank (secret: it didn’t).  Sure, the hits to my blog increased steadily, roughly in line with the twitter numbers.  But on the other hand, there’s @ArcanePalette, doing none of the spam, only occasional autofed (and dare I say relevant) design links from blogs I follow and respect, and then a feed for new posts on our website.  [ap] gets more traffic by a significant margin by using none of the sneaky tricks to grab people from twitter.  Sure, twitter is one of the biggest sources of links to jazzsequence.com, but the average time on the site is generally under a minute, wheras the average time on arcanepalette.com ranges from 4-9 minutes.  The majority of people who land on jazzsequence.com couldn’t give a crap about me or my site, not really, regardless of how I got them there, so that increase in numbers really just amounts to two things: Jack. Shit.  (I guess that really counts as just one thing.)  if I get 50% or more of my traffic to jazzsequence.com from twitter, but all of it is just a brief glance, wheras I get actual, quality traffic from Google, design sites, and various other places (including, occasionally, twitter), then I could care less about the 30 second traffic from twitter, I really could.

Sure, there might be some great people in the midst of the hundreds of people a day I’m meant to follow according to the “twitter method” but how would I ever know?  Only luck would allow me to actually notice one of their tweets in between br.it.ney fu.ck.ed and “whiten your teeth now”.

I’m not the first person to say that automatically reciprocating all follows is a bad idea.  And probably, if all you want to do is set up hundreds of twitter accounts selling affiliate products and cumulatively generating thousands of links, a fraction of a percentage of which actually result in sales, then using one of these wonderful twitter methods is great for you.  But if you actually want to use twitter as a social networking application, engage with people, & learn things you didn’t know before, then following someone else’s rules for how to use twitter is a surefire way to make you hate everything about twitter and not use it the way it was meant to be used.

And how is it meant to be used?  However the hell you want to use it.  the rules are there are no rules.  It’s like a dance – it’s a fledgling technology that has adapted to the way the users have used it and the users adapt to the changes the technology implements based on how it’s used.

Take it from someone who went around the block and finally came back home and wondered what the fuck was I thinking? If I’m doomed to obscurity with this blog because I didn’t completely sell out and start posting porn to boost my traffic numbers, then into obscurity I go.  I’ve got better things to do than to waste another minute on one guy’s dream to put more cash into his own pocket at any cost.

Looking for an affiliate program that sucks?

a social experiment

photo credit: <a href=i’m starting a twitter experiment today. i’m tired of reading upstart blogger and listening to all the tales of how great his new product twitter rocket is.

i’ve no doubt it works.

however, i am left with a lingering skepticism: as great as the product may be, and as fantastic as a 50% payout on his affiliate program is (it’s actually unbelievably good), that still makes 50% in ashley morgan’s pocket. his recent @sixfigureluke campaign to promote a random schmoe to generate a six figure income in six months just means that ashley morgan will also be on a six figure payroll in that time. i can’t help but be skeptical.

but i’m left with a lingering doubt about generating even a modest amount of steady, passive income — am i doing the wrong thing by listening to the skeptic in me?

i’ve tried following upstart blogger’s example and find out how twitter rocket works without actually buying it. he himself did that with Twitter Traffic Machine and Brute Force Twitter. i didn’t have much hope in accomplishing anything in my searches, but i figured i had to at least look.

then i tried another tack – with our @ArcanePalette twitter account, i tried out Tweepular. lots of people use it, right? it suggests followers and reveals people who you follow who aren’t following back and vice versa. so i followed everyone who was following me, and unfollowed some people who weren’t and then added the first 200 (and some change) recommendations. huge mistake. my inbox was suddenly spammed with worthless marketing zombies and porn bots. i regretted what i did within 2 hours of doing it.

it can’t be that hard, right?

here’s the thing: like i said, i have no doubt twitter rocket works. way too many people are preaching its virtues for all of them to be creatures of ashley morgan’s imagination (as was accused by others of @BloggingHannah – she literally spends just about all day tweeting about Twitter Rocket). but i’m unwilling to shell out cash on anything that’s promoted that hard. it sounds too much like a scam. what i know of twitter rocket is:

  • it’s a process (as opposed to a software).
  • you spend about 30 minutes a day on it.
  • you can find targeted people to follow (and followers) that are in your niche.
  • you can pretty much tweet naturally as you would otherwise.
  • it’s easy.

my experiment: reverse engineer twitter rocket (or something close).

i’m a smart guy. i’ve been around the net for a long time. i also know how upstart blogger approaches things and what he’s good at, having read his blog for a while. i am a twitter rocket affiliate. mostly this is an experiment to see if i can figure out how twitter rocket works. or, failing that, at least figure out a process that i can use — let’s call it twitter schoolbus (my 4 year old loves Magic Schoolbus, and a schoolbus that can turn into an airplane, a spaceship, and an alagator is a good enough metaphor for my experiment).

i am going to create a new twitter account and try my theories. as soon as i test them, i will post what i’m doing. because i’m also sick of everyone saying “i’m letting you in on my secrets” without actually letting anyone in on anything (without paying, that is). and if i can generate at least $97 through twitter rocket affiliate links, then i will buy twitter rocket just to appease my curiosity.

what’s my real goal? this blog gets very little traffic.  i think it could do better.  the theory is that if your twitter following is big enough, you can drive a good amount of that to your blog and generate your passive income if you have well placed ads.  at this point, i’m not concerned about making money, although it would be nice.  all i’m trying to do right now is to drive some traffic to my site without feeling like a spammer, or part of some crazy pyramid scheme, or using black hat seo techniques.  if i do make money, well, so much the better.

let the experiment begin: @teh_s3quence