Wednesay 17th April 2013
uddenly I am having a crisis of confidence about the SPRCA blog. Is blogging now passé with the emergence of social networking sites such as Twitter and Facebook plus other sites that offer various professional skills that you might require such as LinkedIn
I signed up to Google+ some time ago and I soon became overwhelmed with ‘people who might want to become part of your circle’ but because I am choosy about who I want to be friends with I use it very rarely. So am I missing out by not using Twitter and or Facebook? Does it make me ‘Billy No Mates?’ Should I stop being a Twit and Tweet?
I have done a little research and before I go any further I know that for every person who is in favour another will take the opposing view so I make no promise about this blog post being a balanced view on the subject but merely my thoughts that I hope will spark some discussion.
So what about Twitter? Nicholas Beaudrot posted on his Donkylicious blog that he decided to give up Twitter for Lent and has published a graph about Twitter use: -
‘I’m not going back to Twitter. Or rather, I’m not going back to Twitter until I find a way to separate the wheat from the chaff. And on twitter there is a lot of chaff. The above extremely accurate chart suggests that up to 90% of a typical twitter feed is basically a waste of everyone’s time. If I could write a filter that only showed me tweets that contained links, that might improve the signal-to-noise ratio to the point where twitter were useful.’
*Ezra Klein, (editor of Wonkblog and a columnist at the Washington Post), picked up on this and blogged: -
‘I don’t want to bite the hand that feeds me, but amen. Toward the end of the election, I pretty much stopped reading Twitter altogether. It improved my life, and the quality of my work. There was so much partisan sniping and gaffe-driven garbage that reading almost anything but Twitter was a huge improvement in the quality of the information I consumed. I’ve since returned to Twitter. But I’m there more than I’d like to be.’
He goes on to say: -
‘If I neglect my RSS feed today, the posts will still be there tomorrow. The same is true for the books I’m reading, the magazines piled on my nightstand, the tabs open in my browser, the long-form I’ve saved to Pocket, the e-mails I’ve filed away to read later, the think tank papers saved to my desktop, and pretty much every other sort of information I consume. The backlog nags at me, but I’ll get to it.
Twitter elicits a more poisonous information anxiety. It moves so fast that if I’m not continuously checking in, I completely lose track of the conversation — and it’s almost impossible to figure out what happened three hours ago, much less two days ago. I can’t save Twitter for later, and thus there’s always a pressure to check Twitter now. Twitter ends up taking more of my time than I’d like it to, as there’s a constant reason to check it rather than, say, reading a magazine article.
If the conversation was worth that kind of continuous attention, then perhaps the anxiety would be a productive one. But it’s typically not. Beaudrot’s snarky graph, (above), is, I think, close to the truth.’
For me his most telling comment was: -
‘The time it takes to keep up with Twitter crowds out other information sources that have a higher payoff.’
A bit more research about comparisons led me to read the Inkhouse blog written by a public relations and social content agency serving a range of innovative clients from emerging start-up’s to Fortune 500 companies. Great, I thought, they should know what they are talking about.
They ask a question about blogging and immediately give the answer when they say, ‘Is Blogging Passé?! We Say No Way.’ The post gives an interesting view on blogging versus social media sites as this extract demonstrates: -
‘It’s 2013, and you might be thinking about how you are (or should be) using the latest social channels to engage with audiences. I’ve had some clients ask me, “Isn’t blogging over? Shouldn’t we be concentrating on other channels like Google Hangouts, Pinterest, etc., etc., etc.”? Don’t misunderstand me — there are lots of channels worthy of your consideration, but those social networks should be considered spokes to your content hub, which takes its best form as a blog. Quite simply, people like reading blogs—in fact, 46 percent read blogs multiple times per day. And company websites that have blogs get 55 percent more traffic than those that don’t.
Think about it. One-hundred-forty characters can only get you so far — that’s why as much as 80 percent of retweets have links to external content. The old saying goes “a picture is worth a thousand words,” but is your presence on Pinterest or Instagram really telling your full story? Getting people to come and watch your videos on Google Hangouts is great — but once you get your audience intrigued and jonesing to hear more, where do you send them?
A social media effort without a blog is like an email campaign without a website. Once you get someone intrigued, you need to have place to send them for more information. Posting, commenting, pinning and liking across social outlets are all a means to an end — namely to get people to come hear your full story. That’s where your blog comes in. Consider that B2C companies that blog get 88 percent more leads than those that do not, and B2B companies get 67 percent more leads than those that don’t.’
‘Think about it. One-hundred-forty characters can only get you so far’ actually sums up for me the reason why Twitter, Facebook and the like will always be lightweight, consisting of throwaway comments that are for the moment only. As Inkhouse says there is a need to have in place somewhere to send people for more information and a blog allows that expansion of thought after the 140 characters have expired.
On another blog, The MatriXfiles, Joanna Pineda, (CEO, Founder & Chief Troublemaker, Matrix Group), writes: -
‘If you google “is blogging passe,” you’ll get nearly 150,000 results, many of them with the exact title of “is blogging passe?” Some of these articles and posts go back as early as 2008. The general thinking goes like this: with the rise in popularity of Facebook and microbloggins platforms like Twitter, putting up and managing a corporate blog is passe. Put another way, since it’s much easier to create short-form content on social networks, long-form content creation (blogging) is dead.’
However she goes on to say that niche blogging with high quality content is more important than ever and gives these reasons why she thinks that is so: -
‘Blogs continue to be a great way to educate your members and customers. I tell clients that blogging requires a greater commitment than Twitter or Facebook, but it provides more benefits.’
So how many blogs exist in the world today? The answer is that nobody knows for sure but this site says: -
‘Well, the current estimates say there are about 450 million “active” English language blogs right now, but that number varies according to the source. Technorati estimated over 200 million blogs at the start of 2009, with exponential growth since then.
Of course these numbers change every day however, as new blogs are started by the thousands (or tens of thousands) every day, and a large number of blogs have also reached the point of where they could be defined as “abandoned” and should be subtracted. When including non-English in the total number, especially those in Chinese Mandarin, there may be over one billion blogs worldwide.
This equates to 1 out of every 6 people in the world with a personal blog!’
But where does all that leave the SPRCA blog? Well, I think the answer to that is that it is still evolving. That fact that it is a member’s only blog means relying on members to comment or post, few currently do. There is no doubt that the blog is read by several hundreds of people a day and it’s Alexa ranking shows that it has a following. It also consistently ranks highly in Google searches and that gives it a good online presence.
The fact that the blog is a member’s only blog is one of it’s strengths as its ethos is all about its membership. From the outset, great care has been taken to ensure member’s personal details are kept securely with only those who need to know having access. Those details, including email addresses etc. will never be passed on or sold to anybody especially to a commercial organisation.
Couple this with many social networking sites who routinely use subscribers details for commercial reasons. You might not be aware but when signing up subscribers give full permission for such commercial use as this recent Telegraph article reported; see – Facebook terms and conditions: why you don’t own your online life. The article comments: -
A photo posted on Twitter remains the intellectual property of the user but Twitter’s terms give the company “a worldwide, non-exclusive, royalty-free license (with the right to sublicense)”. In practice, that gives Twitter almost total control over the image and the ability to do just about anything with it. The company claims the right to use, modify or transmit it your photo any way.
Callum Sinclair, partner in the Intellectual Property and Technology group of law firm, DLA Piper, says that Twitter’s terms, to which every new member must agree, “grant extremely broad rights over your content… With these terms companies are saying ‘you own your content, but we can just use it however we want.’”
It goes on to say: -
The most striking example of such a ‘land grab’ can be seen on professional networking site LinkedIn. LinkedIn makes broad claims over users’ content, giving it the ability to “copy, prepare derivative works of, improve, distribute, publish, remove, retain, add, process, analyze, use and commercialise, in any way now known or in the future discovered…” LinkedIn applies this claim not only to users content, but also all data, concepts or even ideas passed through their service.
A member recently commented that the SPRCA blog is more of a news feed than a blog and there is some truth in that remark. The reason being is the reluctance of many members to get involved either by writing a post or commenting on a post. If only we could get a nucleus of members willing to occasionally write a piece up for the blog it would keep the content fresh and possibly stimulate discussion. This would not entail a great commitment; one piece a month from a dozen different members on any subject would broaden the content considerably.
In short, it appears that blogs still have a part to play online as do all the popular social sites such as Twitter and Facebook because one site links into another and as stated above, ‘those social networks should be considered spokes to your content hub, which takes its best form as a blog.’
Another great strength contained within a blog is the ease in which threads can be picked up or history researched. Type any word in the search box in the sidebar and if we have published it all will be revealed. In the video at the foot of this article one main criticsm of Twitter is the difficulty in picking up a thread if a user has not been on the forum for a few days. There seems to be no easy way to check back and find out what has gone before.
As this article approaches 2,000 words in length I suddenly understand why 140 characters are so limiting and it therefore demonstrates to me the need to have a place for more in depth discussions online. What better place than the ‘Old & Bold Blog?
So, yes, blogging Is ‘Alive, Well and Very Inspiring’ according to Marshall Kirkpatrick but the latest thing to hit the Internet is paper.li – ‘How to Create your Online Newspaper In Minutes’ … hang on a minute, what have I been doing for the past three years…?