Web achievements 101: Things to do before you die

Written by Josh Lowensohn

While the Internet might be a soulless place that’s mostly devoid of any real human warmth or compassion, there are certain things that make it better. While there might be a YouTube, we’re still very much the me generation when it comes to defining a personal identity online. Some of these “Web achievements” people pick up over the years require some serious talent. Others can be had with a little luck. We’ve compiled a list of some of the more prominent ones–consider it a list of things to do on the Internet before you die.

  • Skill.

    Achievements that require talent, skill, or personality

  • Get on Flickr’s interesting picture wall. Flickr’s interestingness algorithm is based on several qualities of user interaction with a photo. Flickr lists them as “where the clickthroughs are coming from; who comments on it and when; who marks it as a favorite; its tags and many more things which are constantly changing.” In short, it’s about how popular your photo is on an aggregate scale.

    Chances of it actually happening: Depends on skill. It could be one of the best pictures on earth, but if nobody’s looking at it, you’re out of luck. That being said, the photos you tend to see on Flickr’s explore page (the listing of interesting photos) tend to be great-looking, but even the occasional bad shot of something amazing makes the cut.

  • Make the YouTube featured videos list. This elusive honor puts your video on the front page of YouTube.com. Many unknown artists have gotten huge view counts and channel subscriptions out of a front page spot, which gets millions of eyeballs each day.

    Chances of it actually happening: Slim. The smattering of videos in the featured videos section on the front page is picked out by a team of YouTube editors. These folks are in charge of cool hunting, and given the amount of content that’s uploaded to the site each day, the best way to get noticed might be to get picked up on some other social sites for visibility first. Mark Glaser from PBS’ MediaShift has a great post on the editorial process here.

  • Get your post on The Best of Craigslist. This elusive honor is reserved for some of the best-written, or just plain obscure postings on the popular classifieds site. There’s no real science to it beside the fact that your post must be nominated by a certain amount of users before it’s picked out from the crowd.

    Chances of it actually happening: Slim. Getting on Best of Craigslist is incredibly tough. Nationwide only a handful of posts are picked out each week, and you’re relying on Craigslist users to not only read what you’ve written, but nominate it.

  • Making the front page of social news site like Digg, Delicious, Reddit, Slashdot, and Newsvine.

    Chances of it actually happening: Reasonable. The beauty of getting on these sites is that you don’t have to write an article you’re submitting. In most cases, the only responsibility is to write title and description. Adding a little style and flair to the original title and description can do wonders. On the other hand, writing a story, taking a picture or video that makes the front page of any of these sites is a far greater achievement than simply adding the link.

    Continue reading to learn about repetitive and ego-stroking achievements galore…

  • Become the Reddit’s all-time karma gainer. We’d classify this under repetition, except that Reddit’s karma system actually requires users to submit quality content. If you’re just spamming the site with a bunch of useless links, your karma will be buried into oblivion.

    Chances of it actually happening: Not without some work. If you’re unemployed or working for a news wire service you might have a shot. Otherwise, you probably won’t be able to keep up with some of the folks on top who are submitting more than a dozen quality news links each and have been every day for years.


    Getting these requires countless grinding or tireless participation

  • Acquire Elite status on Yelp.com. Becoming a Yelp Elite isn’t an exact science. According to the Yelp Elite info page, people are picked out based on a number of qualities, ranging from writing style to how much content they’re adding to the site. That being said, it doesn’t happen overnight. For some it takes months of countless reviews.

    Chances of it actually happening: Pretty good as long as you’re willing to invest yourself in the site and participate. The payoff is invites to private parties, and a snazzy looking profile badge. In the case of Yelp’s latest shindig, Elite members got to get into the party an hour earlier than everyone else.

  • Reach your Gmail in-box size limit. Google is currently giving everyone a little over 6GB of storage, but it wasn’t always like that. Google broke ground by giving people 1GB free along with a little counter that would add more and more storage as time passed. Throughout the years they’ve tweaked the speed of the counter along with total storage. The service is now at six times the original storage capacity.

    Chances of it actually happening. Depends on use. It’s happened before, and it can happen again. While most home users will be fine–if you’re trading around a lot of media files that max out that 20MB attachment limit, that space can eventually fill up. To those who have crossed the sacred threshold and fear deleting old messages, Google offers a paid storage expansion option to push the account up to 400 GB at a mere $500 a year.

    Egosphere cred.

    These are the nerdiest achievements of the bunch, and will make you feel important 2.0

  • Make the Twitterholic 100. The Twitterholic listing is based purely on followers on the popular microblogging service Twitter. These are people who are following your tweets, not the number of friends you have, or how many times you’ve updated your status.

    Chances of it actually happening. If you’re a male or female blogger with lots of fans, or a large Web news service, it’s in the bag. Otherwise you probably need to know at least 1,000 people with Twitter accounts who want to pay attention to what you’re saying. Currently No. 100 has a little over 1,100 followers with the No. 1 garnering nearly ten times that.

  • Get publicly slammed by Dave Winer. If you don’t know who Dave Winer is, he probably doesn’t know who you are either. Winer, who helped create the Web standards for podcasting, blogging and RSS is well known for writing or saying snarky things ranging from people to products.

    Chances of it actually happening: Slim. If you’ve built a popular Web app or retail product with some usability flaws, the damage might already have been done. He could also simply disagree with your opinion.

  • Make the front page of Valleywag. Silicon Valley’s self-proclaimed gossip rag is a blog at heart, and that means getting on it requires garnering the interest of its editors. Getting a mention on Valleywag holds more than some freebie potential traffic. You can become a hallowed member of its Facebook group “I got slammed by Valleywag.”

    Chances of it actually happening: Decent. Getting on the front page of Valleywag is no easy task but if you leave your cell phone unattended at a bar, are attractive, or and are dating one of Google’s founders, you’re a shoo-in.