As some of you may know, I run a website called Virtual Perceptions. Branding-wise, it’s a place where I ‘cover upcoming trends and companies in immersive reality.’ In reality, its more a home where I divulge my thoughts on the tech, based on my very limited experiences from starting my research in late 2015. It’s a home with many of my thoughts and tidbits.

For the last six months I dedicated myself to growing this website, as much as I can. And through this process, I learned a few things about starting your own website, which I wanted to discuss here. Think of this article as ‘informative catharsis,’ while I sip some tea and watch some TV while typing.

To summarise my core points:

  1. The Virtual Perceptions Facebook and Twitter will be deleted – Things I learned from social media management
  2. The Virtual Perceptions website will re-orientate its focus – Why finding your hyper-niche is absolutely vital

I hope you learn from my mistakes!

For the sake of simplicity, please treat all mentions of VR in this article as ‘immersive reality’ as opposed to ‘virtual reality.’ Also, I have put in some background below – you are absolutely free to ignore this section as it gives more context of my personal history, should you care.

Background

I am not 100% sure where my interest in VR started. I’ve been a reddit/r/games trawler for some time, and much of the content I had seen were based around the limits of VR in the gaming market. These arguments were still around when I started my role in Diffusion, around a year and a half ago.

I’ve always been interested in turning up to random Meetup.com events and meeting new people, and one was Augmented Reality’s series of events on VR and its applications in lots of different markets. Far as I remember I went to one session near the close of 2015 – and since then I became very interested i nthe tech, and I saw how it goes far beyond gaming. Most importantly, I also saw how it had the potential to change so many different processes in the world. Training, medical, engineering, retail – it was a truly fascinating area. As such, I dove in.

The website existed since June 2016 – however, I shifted it into high gear when I joined Porter Novelli, and I made a bigger push with content and engagement. It supplied news and features on the industry, and very recently it became a home for an industry-wide report.

The Virtual Perceptions Twitter will be deleted – Things I learned from social media management

So I started my work on the Virtual Perceptions Twitter. After following an initial bunch of people, I started monitoring VR, AR, and MR news on Tweetdeck by creating various columns based on the word mentions. I then filtered the Tweets which appeared by only allowing those with at least two likes to appear. I then created a second column with a minimum of two retweets, so I could see people who may be considered ‘influencers,’ or at least people who resonated with the community. Very useful for finding upcoming people, so I really recommend it!

Screenshot 2017-03-05 at 2.36.52 PM.png

I then did what I called ‘like spikes’ every once in a while, I would trawl through those tweets and like / comment on various people’s profiles. This worked very well to get attention, though its something I may need to do more of in the future. Without being too annoying, of course.

The thing is, the website’s existence is the opposite of the way in which Twitter works.

Exactly like Instagram, Twitter is personality-based. The most influential, significant, and followable people are just that – people. You follow them because of them. And anything which isn’t them is considered fake, or corporate, or somewhat hollow.

Companies can get noticed with well-paced tweets and announcing certain items, but they don’t quite work as well because there is an intrinsic wall between the users. It’s a corporate face, a mask covering what makes them human and interesting. That wall needs to be removed, and flecks of real life needs to be tossed in. Tweeting the games someone is playing isn’t professional or on-message, but its vital to show the person is human.

My Virtual Perceptions Twitter defeats the point of this, for the reasons above. As such, the content is going to be moved to my personal Twitter, and the Virtual Perceptions home will be there. With time and repetition, I hope that it can be seen as the home of my website.

As for why Facebook alongside Twitter – its all about demographics. For now, the VR community is strongest, and it makes sense to focus there than on Facebook.

Which then ties into the next point – with a website that covers news, would it not be difficult to build a presence without a profile of sorts?

The Virtual Perceptions website will re-orientate its focus – Why finding your hyper-niche is absolutely vital

At the moment, the VR writing market is over-saturated. We have VRFocus, UPLOAD, Haptical, and many, many others writing virtual reality news.

Virtual Perceptions does the same, but its an area I cannot h,ope to compete in. I have a normal day job where I cover the website in my spare time, and I cannot be as timely with the news as any other place. Even worse, when I do make a post before lots of other people, it doesn’t get as many shares or as much interest as when a more established place runs the same story two days later. Yup, that annoyed me.

This was a wake-up call to me. The way I work in my life, combined with the high number of VR news outlets, fights against the website’s potential to grow.

That’s why a reorientation is required – one which incorporates my strengths and gives me the flexibility to work on it without having to work towards a specific deadline, or during daylight hours.

The State of VR in 2017
An example of one report I made in the past.

That’s why I want to focus Virtual Perceptions on report writing. Large, informative, and substantiated reports on particular areas of the industry, to be read and shared across the ‘net, using my analytical skills and research. They will all fall under the Virtual Perceptions label. In this way, I hope to fill my hyper-niche, and build from there. And in a way, I hope it can be more informative than an article on a new VR release.

News reports will come through the blog in sporadic times, but its more to keep my website up and running in search rankings than as core content – vital for SEO. But beyond these times, Virtual Perceptions will focus on report writing.

What is my identity online?

Some of you may not know this, but I also do a lot of quidditch PR as well, for both the Quidditch Premier League and QuidditchUK. This is not the focus for the article, but what is important is my split identity on the internet:

  1. A writer of immersive reality reports and articles
  2. A quidditch public relations professional

Yes, I am aware those are two eccentric hobbies.

This would mean my Twitter profile has a split identity crisis of sorts – it will look into immersive reality and quidditch, with an audience of both. It would confuse many people, and perhaps annoy each of those groups as I tweet about two separate topics. Would this be detrimental?

I cannot be sure, but I think it would be OK, as long as I embrace it as much as possible. Change the description to reflect both sides. Change the photo to show both sides. Tweet perhaps not equally, but definitely regularly on both topics.

Because in the end, I am me. And whether people would like me or not is up to them, so I might as well show them both sides of my life. With Twitter being personality-based, I’d like to show who I am.

Learning curve

No-one enters any hobby 100% perfect. We all expect some improvement and changes along the way. What is difficult, however, is seeing issues and having the bravery to cut your losses. It can be really hard to cut something you dedicated a ton of your time to, as it can feel its a wasted amount of time. The Virtual Perceptions Twitter is one such area, as is my news niche.

But that’s life, and I am happy to take a mini plunge and take a small risk for the sake of improvement.

To quote various film characters:

‘Fuck it.’

Tom Ffiske

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