If You’re Everywhere, Are You Nowhere?

Apple is known for their incredible, simple, intuitive design sense and they’ve created massive value with their extreme focus on just a few products. Steve Jobs famously returned to Apple to cut their product lines and throw away everything that wasn’t working well. Concentrate on one or two things at such a level that nobody can beat you. At first that was the iPod and Macbook laptops, but after those matured and technology improved it became the iPhone and subsequently the iPad.
Doing a lot is much easier than doing very little. Simplicity, cutting away the fat takes skill and patience. Testing and iterating. That’s why some one of my favorite tongue-in-cheek quotes jokes about difficulty in brevity:
“I didn't have time to write a short letter, so I wrote a long one instead.” –Mark Twain
What I’m trying to get at is that’s it’s very hard, if not impossible to be great at everything. In the creative world, you have a dual purposes: work on your craft or promote your craft. It’s often hard to do both at once. If you’re promoting your work, that’s time you’re not creating work. On the plus side, it’s difficult to be creative 24/7, so time away from your “work” is time you can promote (assuming that doesn’t suck away your energy leftover for being creative). In the hyper-competitive world of music and other artistic endeavors, you want to stand out.
So you’re everywhere. You sign up for every social network, you link out your work every chance you get to everyone you know, and you beg, borrow, and steal for a retweet, like, or upvote. It’s tough, but necessary. But if you’re everywhere at the same time, does that mean you’re nowhere?
I’m not condoning foregoing the next hottest thing because you’re “too busy” but often you need to focus on where the value is. Just because a community is big, that doesn’t mean you’re gaining value from it. The same is if it’s small. Any marketing device has its advantages and disadvantages. Sometimes you need to take the Apple approach and be great at one or two things. Whether that’s choosing a couple communities to focus on and really deeply engage with people or alternatively focusing on one type of promotional technique. For you that might be blogging, YouTube vlogging, tumblogging, tweeting, or maintaining an active Facebook page. If you’re going to do it all, focus on where you’re getting the most value not only in numbers but in engagement.