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The Social Blogger

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The advent of Social Media has changed the face of blogging in some interesting ways. Many bloggers have actually reduced the frequency of their posting in favor of Tweeting their thoughts instead. Others have incorporated social media channels such as Twitter, Facebook and others into their blogging activities. Still others use it primarily as just another marketing tool for their blogs. Whatever the use, there is no denying that Social Media is here to stay. But how will that affect our blogging?

The blog has always been a social platform by way of the commenting system. With the addition of social media platforms the conversation has moved off the blog and out into the wild. This has forced bloggers and Web masters everywhere to change the way they are doing things. So what do we do with our blogs now that the conversation has moved to a different corner of the room?

The first thing to realize is that the conversation hasn't actually moved to a different corner of the room, it has filled the room. The conversation no longer has a central hub, only a starting point. From there it becomes a thing unto itself and moves according to its own will. All we can do is ride along and hope to influence it in some small fashion.

So what do we do with our blogs?

There is no easy answer to this question. Using social media channels as a marketing platform is certainly a viable idea, and is working well for many. Reducing the frequency of blog posts in favor of microblogging channels also has a legitimate use. I, for one, have had many thoughts pass through that, while they weren't enough to warrant a whole post, were still valuable enough to pass along. And in this new social Internet, incorporating social media channels into our blogs is virtually a must.

Perhaps our blogs can now become repositories for articles and thoughts that are too large or complex to fit into the limited constraints imposed by much of these newer, more immediate channels, while the social media channels can become the vehicles by which we add to our larger thoughts and fill in the gaps left by editing constraints. This can range from anything like the “deleted scenes” feature found on a DVD to a handy way to engage in a question and answer session with our visitors.

More likely, social media channels will find their own way, a way that I can't even begin to imagine yet. Our blogs will become a part of that way as we learn to accept social media as another facet of an ever-growing dialog around our pet topics. Our blogs will devolve into just another one of the miriad of methods at our disposal for the sharing of our unique insights. Our role as bloggers will evolve from one of “authorities” to one of “conversation starters”.

It is said that to lead is to serve. Is it possible that the new leader will be most effective not leading from the front or the rear, but rather from the crowd, just one more voice in this new social tapestry? What do you think? Leave a comment below and share your thoughts on the future of the blog and the blogger. Where do you think we are going?

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About Marc Berry

  • http://www.techne-eikon.com Marc Berry

    I haven’t really played with Posterous much yet, though I have been getting good results with HootSuite, which also allows you to post to Twitter, FaceBook, LinkedIn as well as a variety of other services.

    Thanks for the tip, I will take a closer look at Posterous.

    Cheers, Marc

  • http://blog.rainer.eschen.name rainwebs

    Ping.fm and Twhirl is also a good combo. I put a tweet into the channel with every blog post. So all social accounts get an update of it automatically.

    Blogs become archives. Twitter is so much easier to comment things or tell your crowd something interesting. I still don’t know what Facebook is for in this game (maybe I’m too old). But it seems to me that there’s nothing more that is important for the near future in social networking. You may differentiate target groups and find some others, like MySpace, linkedin, xing, etc.

  • http://www.techne-eikon.com Marc Berry

    rainwebs: Hootsuite can send to Ping.fm as one of the services, though I am running into a bit of crossover and duplicate posting as I play with the various services out there. If I ever get it sorted out, I may just write an article about that… heh.

    As for Facebook, I tend to use it for more of my personal interactions than professional dealings. Having said that, I am aware that there are many who are using FaceBook professionally. For some reason the whole idea simply does not appeal to me.

    Thanks for mentioning Twhirl, I had completely forgotten about it.

    Cheers, Marc

  • Ted

    But how do you make advertising dollars on Twitter?

  • http://thingsalongtheway.blogspot.com/ Cindy

    I like your article Marc. And your open way of inviting participation.

    Twitter/facebook involve a lot of pointing to more space consuming works. I think that the intense real time presence with people (like a party and you can step in and out and it’s always on), from everywhere around the world, in one location can be used to point those who are interested to our more space consuming ideas on our blog. (otherwise found through other means, like google or someone else’s blog).

  • http://www.techne-eikon.com Marc Berry

    Ted: there are a few schemes to make money directly from Twitter, usually in the form of sponsored Tweets. These involve a potential advertiser paying you to tweet about their product or service. The other method that I have seen recently is to provide a tweet service, such as TweetMyJobs.com which has companies paying them to tweet job openings.

    The only other way is to use Twitter to drive traffic to you blog or site and make your money there as you would normally.

    Cindy: I like your party analogy, well put. In addition to pointing to your more space consuming works, Twitter and Facebook can act like that guy at the party who obsessively phones all 500 of his best buddies to tell them about the awesome party he’s at. This allows our content to reach a larger audience via word of mouth, always the preferred option.

    Thank you both for dropping by and posting your thoughts.

    Cheers, Marc

  • http://zahidlilani.com Zahid Lilani

    Twitter has proved to be excellent in creating buzz, atleast for me. It gets the message out instantly.

    Hootsuite is excellent because it lets me track statistics of the links I post, I try to post links that my followers click most and in that way learn more about what clicks and what doesn’t.

    I think bloggers have benfited more from Twitter than anyone else.

  • http://line-of-reasoning.com Jens Scharnetzki

    Hi Marc, I agree with the most theses you pointed out in you article. It is fine sum up of the strategic positioning for bloggers in a still evolving web world. But in one point I am not convinced that u got it right. The appearing of the tool “blog” was just the evolution of the social web that started right with the beginning of the web(E-Mail Lists, forums, rating stars…). So I disagree with the point that bloggers were the “authorities” of the social web.
    Bloggers were, are and will be just a part of web but because of a lot of very good bloggers, an important one. So if you want to to divide this part of the web into microblogging and blogging, you can do this by the depth of the information.

    The last thing that I want to mention is, that I would correct your theses of the blogger as the “conservation starters” of the social web. This is one part that could be done by a blog, but a conservation could start nearly everywhere in the web, nowadays even by a tweet.
    I think a blogger has the right and responsibilty to get deeper on the ground of a story and his blog can be the fixed star :-) to a certain kind of information that is not so elusive as a tweet. But of course a tweet is an excellent way to inform the user and get the user to this fixed star.

    Cheers,
    Jens

  • http://mizbviewsfromthetower.blogspot.com Jeanne Browne

    Thanks, Marc, for this very interesting “conversation starter” on how/where/why blogs figure in the growing arena of social media.

    I’ve had a love/hate relationship with what we used to call “new media” since the early 90s. Like all technological innovations, there’s a dark side, a light side and (just to complete the box) stupid and exploitative sides, as well.

    I’m a Boomer, and for my generation much of this is strange, confusing and difficult. Because of the size and scope of the Web in general and social media in particular, there are those who use these platforms as a toy, others who use it purely for economic gain, those who use it for personal communication, and others who use it for socio-political soap boxes.

    I’ve only been blogging for a bit more than two years and my motivation was to do my own writing about what I regard as serious/important ideas, as opposed to the business stuff I churned out for clients for 35 years. I find it cathartic and rewarding. I still don’t know how to bring people besides a select few of my friends to my blog, but it’s a long learning curve and I’m still working on it.

    I was on Facebook for less than a day and hated it. But I’ve been on Twitter for about a month and I enjoy it as a way to scream into the dark about a bad day, drop the occasional pearl of wisdom, and announce my personal blog and BC work.

    I don’t know where this brave, new, ever-expanding world is going — but it’s clearly changing the nature and content of communication, the quality of language (getting worse, not better) and is in keeping with what social observers like Faith Popcorn said we’d be doing right about now: cocooning, basing much of our lives at home and much of our human interaction through “new media.”

    If, in 2012, life as we know it doesn’t all come crashing down and throw us back to apx. the 18th century, it should all be very interesting.

  • http://www.techne-eikon.com Marc Berry

    @Jens – you bring up a valid point in that a conversation can be started anywhere on the web, for at the end of the day it is people who start and carry conversations, not blogs, forums or Twitter posts. However, it is my feeling that in today’s internet, the conversation is most likely to be started on a blog or possibly a Tweet, depending on, as you say, the depth of the information offered.

    @Jeanne – As a 43 year old, I share your love/hate relationship with social media. While I am fairly certain that I understand it, I am equally uncertain that I completely get it. This form of communications is somewhat foreign to me, but by the same token delightfully fascinating.

    I have been blogging off and on for about 5 years, and for my own experience social media has actually had a negative impact on my blogging. In the frantic struggle to keep up with the real time web my blogging has fallen off drastically, something that I regret. In many respects the article was an attempt to reconcile this issue such that I could better integrate the social aspects of this new internet into my main passion of blogging.

    Thank you both for dropping by and adding your thoughts to the conversation. You have both given me more to consider as we try to integrate the various roles that social media will play in our lives as time (and the internet) march forward.

    Cheers, Marc