Dear 43 Things Users,

10 years after introducing 43 Things to the world, we have decided we have met our last goal: completing the incredible experience that has been 43 Things. Please join us in giving one last cheer to all the folks who have shared their goals with the world, as well as all the people who have worked at The Robot Co-op to build this incredible website. We won a Webby Award, published a book, and brought happiness to a lot of people.

Starting today, 43 Things users can export their goals and entries from the site. Starting August 15, we will make the site “read only”. 43 Things users will still be able to view the site and export their content, but we won’t be taking any new content from users. We hope to leave the site up for folks to see and download their content until the end of the year. Ending on New Year’s Eve takes us full circle.

It has been a long ride (one of our original goals was to "build a company that lasts at least 2 years” - we beat that one!) While we wish the site could live on, it has suffered from a number of challenges - changes in how people use the site, the advertising industry, and how search engines view the site. We wish the outcome was different – but we’ve always been realistic about when our goals are met and when they aren't.

As of today, you will be able to download your goals and entries. See more about that on the FAQ page. Thanks for 10 great years of goal-setting and achieving.

- The Robots.

Export My Content

Joe Goldberg Working hard

make 43 things better (read all 6 entries…)
Step 1: Understand 43 Things' users?

I thought I understood our user base pretty well, but today made me think that over again. Need to spend a bit of time figuring out what makes our users tick. Are the 100 anti-facebook people really representative of our heavy users, or are they a vocal minority?


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joie de vivre Here, now and until the end

I've been thinking about this too

I don’t know how often you need to be on the site to be considered a “heavy” user, but I suspect I’m in the category. Probably anyone who comes on more than a couple times a week?

Here’s my take:

Privacy here: if I post something to Facebook, I have control over who sees the link or the posting, and I know who is on my friends’ lists as real people. Here, on 43t, I have 59 anonymous subscribers, all operating under pseudonyms even if their on-line identities were revealed to me. They could be major donors to my agency; my husband; my brother – who knows who is lurking here.

And then, anything I write can be shared with anyone else anyway. All the crazy shit I’ve confessed here – anyone could post it to Facebook for hahas if they were so inclined. Hasn’t happened as far as I know, but it certainly could.

And in fact, I’ve written stuff up here – just bicycle ride reports I believe – and linked to it from other sites, because it is indeed so accessible. You don’t need an account to read it, the advertisements are low-key – it’s a good place to post stuff for others to access.

In any case, the addition of the “share” buttons didn’t seem like such a big deal to me. Everything is always shareable anyway. I use the Google Toolbar, and there’s a big Share button right above this window right now. Sixty-one sites, from Blogger to Yigg are offered up as places I could repost anything here.

Clearly, though, people took it as a huge change – a sort of change of philosophy, and a betrayal of trust.

I don’t know what to say about this. It was easy for me to take the pledge not to repost what people have written here. In my nearly five years on this site, I’ve never been tempted to repost anything except what is my own. I’m only upset because it appears so many others who perceive themselves as a part of this community are so upset. Apparently people have deleted, left – I feel bad that they have gone.

nicolasc has left the building. 43T and the friends I made will always be special to me.

Thank you.

I really appreciate that you are open to reflecting on this. I hope you are sincere about that. I get the sense that you are.

One thing I’ve noticed is that the comments against this are coming from users I know and users I’ve never seen before. (Having been a regular for 4 years, I recognize a lot of names!) Even among the users I know, there are several I am surprised to see speaking up, because they are so unflappable (Stu, The_Breyfart,etc.) and tend to keep a bit more to themselves rather than join group causes. That, in my mind, is significant.

Thanks again, Joe. It’s been sad to see so many users delete, and others who feel compelled to redact their posts so that they are less personal and genuine. I’m glad to know that you are giving real thought to what makes the site valuable to members and to what their concerns are.

(This comment was deleted.)

Thanks, Joe.

It’s good to know you’re willing to figure out what makes us tick. One of the things that upset me was the apparent “get over it, like it or not” attitude that seemed to come across in the robots’ second blog post, in spite of the outcry, so I for one really appreciate that you’re giving it some thought.

One of the many things that attracts people to this site is that it’s not Facebook or Twitter – it’s deeper, more meaningful and much more supportive. I suspect you’ll find your “heavy users” are exactly the people who are least fond of the huge shallow networking sites.

(This comment was deleted.)

JustJürgen being away helps to return home

As a matter of fact,

this “Are the 100 anti-facebook people” is far from the core of what many protesters here have in mind. It has got nothing to do with “anti-facebook”.
But it has to do with the wish not to be exposed to a public – that is, the facebook-public- because the goal-setting and the support and and and have reached a certain degree of intimacy that I wouldn’t like people to share who I have kept apart from those thoughts and statements.
I communicate different things with different people here and there. And I don’t feel that those different spheres should get into touch without my explicit consent.

Thanks for asking, Joe.

I don’t share anything secret on the net, and I am kind of an open book anyway, so it doesn’t bother me personally.

I don’t have a “protest” goal because I don’t like having too many meta goals. However, I still feel it was badly handled. The users should have had a couple of weeks’ advance notice to scrub their goals and posts, if they wished.

I am curious: what’s the goal in linking to FB and Twitter? I am guessing it is to create more visibility to 43T, therefore raising the number of users, therefore being able to charge more for Google ads. Is this correct? I don’t object to your trying to make 43T profitable, of course. I want you guys to be profitable so that you keep running!

Joe Goldberg Working hard

We don’t set the price for google ads (google does) so other than that part, you are correct.

We’re always looking to bring in more users, but we’re unable to do that without the ongoing goodwill of our existing user base, so it’s a careful balancing act.

(This comment was deleted.)

Because I love 43T...

I want to ask: how do more users make you more profitable? It seems like they just cost you more money in servers, since the site is free?

I’ve always been curious about your business model and how to make it more profitable, because I believe in your mission.

I’ve been here a long time. I got out of credit card debt, and wrote and published a novel, thanks to the support of the community here.

More important, I am recovering from suicidal depression, and the support from the amazing friends I have here has literally been a lifesaver for me.

I think maybe you need a 43T store with little gifts to encourage, thank, and congratulate people, that users who are close friends can send to one another, without knowing the user’s real name or address (you guys have our street addresses, correct?) I’m kind of an expert at this kind of product. :)

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Joe Goldberg Working hard

In brief

Since the site is advertising supported, we target ads based on the content of the page and get paid if people click on the ads.

This is the same business model used by search engines (like Google) or information portals (like or social networking sites (like facebook). These sites give away a service and make ends meet by selling ads.

Tarrador My God, it's full of stars...

Do I understand that...

43Things increases its income if we mearly click on the ads that fill the columns on the page? I was unaware that this was how it worked. I haven’t ever clicked on an ad, but if it meant income in the coffiers of this site, I would be glad to do so. I’d even make it a goal.

If this is incredibly naive on my part, please understand I’m not network/website savvy.

I think I, like many people, have a 20th-century concept of advertising and marketing, where volume and numbers set the prices. My presumption was that ad prices were based upon the breadth of exposure and all activity/traffic, not just “regular” traffic (core members). Hence, high memberships translated into profitable ad markets.

Again, it might be simplistic of me, but I wonder if a core of “heavy users” who regularly clicked on ads, whether they pursued the products or not, would be a greater asset that drifters, perusers, or drop-ins from other sights who probably ignore the ads, focusing on the sites content.

(This comment was deleted.)
people here - Butterfly
last night - Butterfly
Wishlists - Joe Goldberg
I - Butterfly
Me too! - Evie

Silvie Hiding the FB button behind another button does not really work :((

So hoping that you do understand what this community means to us

This is soooo different from any other online community I have come across – people feel (relatively) comfortable to share their hopes and fears, and innermost thoughts that they would not even share to friends and family, and even more – the community on here supports, advises, listens and is just here for them 24/7. It’s not just about helping and sharing goals, is about helping and sharing life.

I know all the content can be shared, but it used to take time and effort, not a mere click of a button, and was something most people would not even have thought of doing…at least not before those buttons appeared. I have known people to post very very personal things with a subscript that they will delete the post in 24 hours, but they felt a real need to share something with their cohort of subscribers, and would risk it in the public domain to feel supported by their 43T friends. With an easy share click button this would be way too risky.

Putting the buttons there actually invites sharing of these deep and personal posts – when previously this felt like a secret corner with like minded people who would share your joys and help you through very difficult times..

I believe the community here is very very special, it attracts a certain sort of person that I can’t seem to find anywhere else, either online or in real life. I have made some very special friends here, some of whom I have now met, but many I know I am unlikely to ever meet – the world is a big place – but I am hoping one day that I might.

If it does all change to be just yet another SNS then it will hold nothing special for me, and I do not see any benefit to me in continuing to be here. I’ll just be grateful for the precious years I did have here, and hope to keep in contact with the very very precious people I have had the privilege to ‘meet’, from all corners of the world.

Please, please reconsider – if the buttons must remain please let there be an opt-out facility on the sharing aspect.

And thanks for taking the time to understand us.

(This comment was deleted.)
(This comment was deleted.)


I believe

This is the best explanation that I’ve seen too, Silvie.

Mindiesel It is no measure of good health to be well-adjusted to a sick society

I also


Cheer, cheer, cheer.

красивейшая Богиня ♥ ♥

As emus do love to correct people....

it’s currently 145 of your users, not 100, under this goal

Oh, and in order for my little cluck of protest to be heard where should I send that message of objection to? Please do advice.

(This comment was deleted.)

красивейшая Богиня ♥ ♥


counting 153 now.

And that’s sadly excluding the people who have already deleted their accounts. Plus those who have marked the goal as ‘completed’ once they left their pledge.

Bedhead2 I'll miss all of you! Please stay in touch. All the best!

Your a cute Emu : )

Lol! Thanks for making the correction.

Just knowing

that you are thinking about this makes me feel less hostile.

After reading The Robot blog about sharing, I felt like our concerns were falling on deaf ears.

I love 43T. Thanks for your consideration.

Bedhead2 I'll miss all of you! Please stay in touch. All the best!


Somehow reading that you (Surly) feel a little less hostile made me chuckle! He’s been replying and I’m enjoying checking out the replies.

(This comment was deleted.)

~ John Lee ~ Spring Forth In New Opportunities

defining anti-facebook

while I am sure there are some anti-facebook people among us, I would guess that much of the anti-facebook group is more of the “don’t put all my entries, comments and cellulite on facebook for everyone to see” variety

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~ John Lee ~ Spring Forth In New Opportunities

everyone cheer TajLV's comment

its perhaps the most profound title of a comment I have ever seen on 43Things! :D

~ John Lee ~ Spring Forth In New Opportunities


political and environmental things?

hmmmm – sounds like we have a great deal in common :D

(This comment was deleted.)

Well written my dear! :)

You simply showed yourself by this comment that 43Thingers are intelligent than average :)

I agree with you 100% with this, I just couldn’t say it this well myself.

danidee27 Shoot for the moon. Even if you miss, you'll land among the stars.

Thank you.

It’s good to know that someone listens!
Hopefully the rest of the team is feeling the same way.

Now, ironically enough, I did find this post of yours, Joe, in a link. Before going under fire, I’m not against links. I just think that our stuff on 43things shouldn’t be encouraged to be shared outside of 43 things.

I use Facebook. I use it to keep in touch with old friends. At large, I find it very superficial and would probably get rid of it all together if I weren’t so awful at keeping in touch with the few people I actually do want to stay in contact with from my past.

I use 43 things for an entirely different reason. I loved the site because it seemed like a genuinely supportive community.

I use it to try to encourage myself, keep myself motivated to become a better person, and to try to encourage others as I can.

I don’t post anything that I believe would hurt anyone around me if they read it. I’m not ashamed of anything I’ve written here.

So, what exactly is the problem I have with the changes?

This is a site that has a very involved community. We deserve to at least know about, if not have some input in, any major changes, especially those that could lead to us feeling our privacy has been violated.

The web is a beautiful thing. You can create an illusion of anonymity, or create an entirely new identity for yourself. You can reveal as much or as little about yourself as you wish. That’s an individual choice, however.

For 43things to encourage its users to share other users posts, lists, and thoughts on third-party sites, superficial ones like Facebook and twitter, well… that really changes the atmosphere here.

And mostly, I took offence to how quick the Robots were to be condescending and rude to people who were protesting the addition, telling us to be more prudent in the things we say here. The last paragraphs of that blog post sickened me. Apologies should come first, and not following that sort of comment. Talk about adding insult to injury.

Also… we aren’t just a vocal minority
We are the people who visit this site often, daily, even. That’s why over 100 of us were able to join this group so quickly. I’m sure it isn’t often that a new goal manages to have so many people adding it to their lists in such short time. Many of us are truly upset, and I’m sure most of us aren’t so unreasonable to refuse compromise, an approval process for others sharing us, or added privacy features. We’re here because we like 43things and want to continue using it, assuming it keeps the right direction.

heaveemetal Still I want And still I ache But still I wait To see you again

I'm just anti-sharing...

I’m not on Facebook because I don’t care for a lot of my past friends to look me up, Make or approve friend requests.
Here, I can be friends without the hassle of doing that. I have a certain degree of anonymity. I don’t have to register with my personal information.
And I would like some very personal entries I’ve made here to remain here.

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Joe Goldberg has gotten 33 cheers on this entry.


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