So my cell phone rings last night and it's this weird fucking ring like something you'd hear at the horse track and the A's are blowing the goddamn game in Little League-ish fashion and WTF?! is up with this area code, I don't know anyone in this area code and "Hello?"
"Speaker! It's Bobby Bracelet."
I immediately begin to sweat. My eye starts to twitch. I know what's coming. He wants me to play Razz. "Bobby!" I say, hoping it disguises my primal fear.
"What's with declining the chat invite?"
I guess a few of the folks were having a little O8 party on Stars and had a conference room set up. I've taken to not playing poker a couple nights a week and Monday is usually one of them. It's my wife's day off, so we have a nice dinner. And there are no reality shows on TV, so we can spend some time together, making those memories that add fuel to our marriage.
Or I watch the A's while she plays her computer "adventure games," which is humorous since both activities cause us to shout at inanimate objects. A passerby might conclude we are having a bizarre argument.
So, anyway, that's why you punks (and punkettes) got declined, cyber-dissed by the Mrs. deep in the throes of solving the game's mysteries by going online to find the cheat codes.
I sense a rush of State of the Poker Blog Universe posts about to flow forth. I'm not gonna join in, mainly because I don't have a really strong opinion about anything.
Rini brought up link exchanges and as I said in his comments, nobody has ever asked me for one. The people I have linked are people who have inspired me, who continue to put out quality content. I know I'm pretty much a laggard as far as finding/adding new folks (as well as clearing out the deadwood), but I try.
It's interesting. Near as I can recall, I only asked one site to link me and that is only because they offered to do so (not to me specifically). I guess I wanted to be "discovered" organically. I guess I wanted people to add me because they thought it was worthwhile. I honestly got a big kick out of the first mentions I got on the more prominent sites. And that was because I know I didn't pander for them.
Which is not to say you shouldn't seek out those more prominent folks and direct them to your site. It's just kinda not my style. I was reasonably content to write in obscurity early on. Made me feel like I was working toward something. On the other hand, I was always happy when someone left a comment (and by someone, I mean April, who was pretty much my only reader for 3 months).
Really, the best way to get links, traffic and readership is to participate. Read the blogs, comment, link notable posts from your blog and play the WPBT tourneys. Reach out to other bloggers in your area. Get a home game goin' (or weasel an invite to an existing one). Invite Al out for a drink or 30.
At it's most basic, it's just networking, man. If you want to raise your profile, put in the work. Most of the people you are reaching out to were (are) in your shoes at one time. We're empathetic. That said, you are not owed you anything by your mere presence, so be nice.
And if Bobby Bracelet pings you on IM, DO NOT decline. Or you just might be getting a visit from the Michigan Mafia.