You Can’t Build Authority and Thought Leadership via Twitter

I’m a big fan of Twitter. It’s clearly gone mainstream in a number of ways and brings significant value for maintaining relationships, finding new ones, etc. But you can’t build authority and thought leadership through Twitter or other microblogging services (or aggregator-type services) like FriendFeed. Not unless you previously had some authority and reputation through blogging.

Robert Scoble recently questioned his own use of FriendFeed, and the amount of time he spends with the service. Michael Arrington responded with his own thoughts, essentially saying that Scoble is addicted to FriendFeed and as a result of all his time spent there, his blog has become a ghost town.

Robert himself wrote, “Some people tell me my thought leadership has declined as I’ve blogged less.”

I agree 100%.

Now Robert can afford to experiment, get lost in different services, and even have his brand and reputation tarnished, because of all the success he had previously built up after years of effort. But what about the rest of us?

Blogging is the single most effect way of getting your message out, building reputation, creating authority and demonstrating thought leadership.

Blogging isn’t the best way of staying in touch with people or having conversations; commenting just isn’t as good as more real-time discussions via microblogging. But blogging still dominates when it comes to the dissemination of quality information (and from that quality information comes reputation and authority.) And don’t get me started on the death of blogs. It’s utter nonsense.

A few things to think about:

  1. When you discover someone’s blog (via a link, referral, etc.) it’s not uncommon to look through a few posts, or even dig into the archives. The same cannot be said for Twitter. On Twitter you may look at a few tweets, but you can’t really build up enough of a profile of someone from that. So you make a much faster “follow or don’t follow” decision. With a blog, you dig deeper. Most of the time when someone follows me on Twitter, the first thing I do upon viewing their Twitter profile is check out their blog. That’s where the “meat” is…
  2. Blogs still generate more meaningful commentary from your audience. Sure, a bunch of people might re-Tweet something, but that’s not the same as having 10 or 20 or 30 or more people comment on a post.
  3. Blog posts are eternal whereas Tweets are forgotten. Although most old blog posts really don’t drive a lot of new traffic, they’re still more accessible and meaningful to search engines, and will pick up more traffic than old Tweets. Do you even remember what you posted on Twitter or FriendFeed last week? Probably not. Do you remember what you blogged about? A blog is truly an archive of your life, experiences, thoughts, opinions, etc. Twitter is like someone with no long-term memory.
  4. Twitter is now used quite actively to drive people somewhere – to get them to click through to somewhere. Brands do it. Marketers do it. Everyone does it. Blogs are destination sites.
  5. As fun as it is to post something pithy and quick on Twitter, blogging is still a better medium for expressing yourself, for weaving in more thought, multiple ideas, other people’s input and commentary. Blogging is strategic. Twitter is strategic too, but less so.

Microblogging services like Twitter are great for expanding your audience. They’re great for maintaining ongoing relationships and jumping “in and out of the stream” of what’s going on. Twitter and FriendFeed are great for keeping up-to-date on things; many people claim they no longer use an RSS reader because they get all the latest news from microblogging services. And that’s very cool. But it doesn’t equate to authority, reputation and thought leadership. Blogging does.

You may be able to increase your authority through microblogging services, but if you’re starting from scratch it won’t be effective. And it’s still best to have your feet firmly planted in the foundation of a blog.

January 12, 2009 Posted in Social Media by

  • http://www.yourblogismoney.com Locke | Your Blog Is Money

    I competely agree that twitter is not the greatest site to build authority but rather a place to communicate with people you have met along the way… Blogs are definitely the best way to rank in the search engines, there is no replacement for quality content and keywords… It still feels a bit like an exclusive club regarding page rank etc.. But many things in life boil down to the saying “it’s not what you know but who you know,” I appreciate the article, take care

  • http://www.yourblogismoney.com Locke | Your Blog Is Money

    I competely agree that twitter is not the greatest site to build authority but rather a place to communicate with people you have met along the way… Blogs are definitely the best way to rank in the search engines, there is no replacement for quality content and keywords… It still feels a bit like an exclusive club regarding page rank etc.. But many things in life boil down to the saying “it’s not what you know but who you know,” I appreciate the article, take care

  • http://jom-bloger.blogspot.com/ Budi

    Nice Post and thanks for sharing….

  • http://jom-bloger.blogspot.com/ Budi

    Nice Post and thanks for sharing….

  • http://www.guitarstatic.com/ owain

    I have messed about with Twitter but I still don’t quite “get it to be honest. I’m sure it can be a great way to promote a site or interest in a business but I still think it has a limited potential for smaller businesses and sites. Once it starts becoming a tool just for promoting websites and businesses etc (which it seems to be becoming to me)it’s going to become pretty meaningless for the average user.

  • http://www.guitarstatic.com/ owain

    I have messed about with Twitter but I still don’t quite “get it to be honest. I’m sure it can be a great way to promote a site or interest in a business but I still think it has a limited potential for smaller businesses and sites. Once it starts becoming a tool just for promoting websites and businesses etc (which it seems to be becoming to me)it’s going to become pretty meaningless for the average user.

  • http://www.crocshoesnews.com Matt Gio

    I get most of my visitors through Twitter. It’s the greatest way to communicate with people in your niche

  • http://www.crocshoesnews.com Matt Gio

    I get most of my visitors through Twitter. It’s the greatest way to communicate with people in your niche

  • http://upstartagent.com Chelle

    I’ve started using Twitter recently and I haven’t posted very much there yet. Some people seem to post every hour or so – and I’m not sure how that can be very productive, especially compared to what you would get if you spent that much time writing for your blog…

    I am hoping though what I will achieve from being on Twitter is finding others in my industry that are interested in networking – and for that Twitter seems like a nice “catch all” kind of place to stay updated on who is doing what and send quick little messages to others. We’ll see how it goes :)

  • http://upstartagent.com Chelle

    I’ve started using Twitter recently and I haven’t posted very much there yet. Some people seem to post every hour or so – and I’m not sure how that can be very productive, especially compared to what you would get if you spent that much time writing for your blog…

    I am hoping though what I will achieve from being on Twitter is finding others in my industry that are interested in networking – and for that Twitter seems like a nice “catch all” kind of place to stay updated on who is doing what and send quick little messages to others. We’ll see how it goes :)

  • http://blog.monkeyprofit.com/2009/01/social-bookmarking-software/ Jacques

    Excellent post! Great theory you have there and i have noticed exactly the same. But even looking back, twitter only brought me enough, quality traffic when i was posting two or three times a day.

  • http://blog.monkeyprofit.com/2009/01/social-bookmarking-software/ Jacques

    Excellent post! Great theory you have there and i have noticed exactly the same. But even looking back, twitter only brought me enough, quality traffic when i was posting two or three times a day.

  • http://www.capitalautoauction.com Auto Auction

    Not only on twitter but anywhere else one cannot be a leader. He/she has to gain respect in terms of the work they do and gain followers and thereby lead them successfully. This way only one could be a ultimate leader…..

  • http://www.capitalautoauction.com Auto Auction

    Not only on twitter but anywhere else one cannot be a leader. He/she has to gain respect in terms of the work they do and gain followers and thereby lead them successfully. This way only one could be a ultimate leader…..

  • http://www.executivegiftshoppe.com/wallets.html groomsmen gifts expert

    Thanks for Sharing!

  • http://www.executivegiftshoppe.com/wallets.html groomsmen gifts expert

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  • http://www.newjerseyrealestateguys.com Scott

    Right! I see a lot of bloggers also out there putting out very vague information just for the fact that it adds content. Your content must have VALUE also for visitors to re-visit, share, etc. Most people can quickly identify a poorly written blog

  • http://www.newjerseyrealestateguys.com Scott

    Right! I see a lot of bloggers also out there putting out very vague information just for the fact that it adds content. Your content must have VALUE also for visitors to re-visit, share, etc. Most people can quickly identify a poorly written blog

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  • http://watch-sports-live.blogspot.com Vladimir

    You’re right about that. We can’t build authority by using twitter but it’s a good medium in promoting a site.

  • http://watch-sports-live.blogspot.com Vladimir

    You’re right about that. We can’t build authority by using twitter but it’s a good medium in promoting a site.

  • http://stainless-steel-cooking.com Keith

    Twitter, IMHO, can be one of the biggest time wasters on the internet if not managed properly.

    Like you said, for driving others to a blog or site it is ok but to try and build a following, it is simply not that deep.

    Actually my Twittering has taken away from my other businesses until I realized that the ROI of my time is much more important than the numbers of followers on a list.

    Thanks for a great blog here!

  • http://stainless-steel-cooking.com Keith

    Twitter, IMHO, can be one of the biggest time wasters on the internet if not managed properly.

    Like you said, for driving others to a blog or site it is ok but to try and build a following, it is simply not that deep.

    Actually my Twittering has taken away from my other businesses until I realized that the ROI of my time is much more important than the numbers of followers on a list.

    Thanks for a great blog here!

  • http://www.airmattressbedsguide.com/ Kathie

    Twitter is great! I work for one of the big four consulting/financial firms in the United States and we use twitter.

  • http://www.airmattressbedsguide.com/ Kathie

    Twitter is great! I work for one of the big four consulting/financial firms in the United States and we use twitter.

  • http://www.intelli-collect.com Andy Lax

    As some individuals wrongly proclaim that blogs are dead, I would also disagree with those who assert that Twitter has no tangible value. For example, one can stay connected with colleagues through Twitter, share and receive links, practice casual writing (a form of microblogging), etc.

    Regardless, as Ben mentions, blogging should easily take precedence as an Internet marketing tool, and to establish one’s reputation and brand a given company. Like many, I just have to blog more often.

    Best Regards,
    Andy Lax

  • http://www.intelli-collect.com Andy Lax

    As some individuals wrongly proclaim that blogs are dead, I would also disagree with those who assert that Twitter has no tangible value. For example, one can stay connected with colleagues through Twitter, share and receive links, practice casual writing (a form of microblogging), etc.

    Regardless, as Ben mentions, blogging should easily take precedence as an Internet marketing tool, and to establish one’s reputation and brand a given company. Like many, I just have to blog more often.

    Best Regards,
    Andy Lax

  • http://www.escinsellik.net Escinsellik

    I think twitter is a great tool, for expanding your brand, I personally use it as brick and motor, status update with a link to read more..

  • http://www.escinsellik.net Escinsellik

    I think twitter is a great tool, for expanding your brand, I personally use it as brick and motor, status update with a link to read more..

  • http://automatedmoneymakingwebsite.info Steer

    I usually don?t post in Blogs but your blog forced me to, amazing work.. beautiful ?

  • http://www.businessgrowthconsultant.com/ Mary Ann

    Twitter is a booming platform right now. Thousands upon thousands of people are starting to use it every day.

  • http://www.businessgrowthconsultant.com/ Mary Ann

    Twitter is a booming platform right now. Thousands upon thousands of people are starting to use it every day.

  • http://www.hayda.net muhabbet

    Blogging is hard work and requires logical linear thought to be positioned as a thought leader. You need to be able to expound on concepts, thoughts, visions and ideation
    . thanks

  • http://www.hayda.net mirc

    I've started using Twitter recently and I haven't posted very much there yet. Some people seem to post every hour or so – and I'm not sure how that can be very productive, especially compared to what you would get if you spent that much time writing for your blog… tesekkurler

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  • http://www.herbalreleaf.com/ Herbal Care

    I don`t like twitter, mainly because it is a waste of time to use it in my opinion.

  • http://seolidafx15gazeteler.blogspot.com/ seoturk

    Twitter web site for owners to use it really need a very nice blessing. But I do not know how to use this system there is a lot webmaster.

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  • gokhanht
  • gokhanht
  • http://www.ajsquare.com/products/helpdesk-software/index.php joelchrist

    M using twitter to get more followers to my link. Yes,ofcourse i got more link popularity too via twitter.

  • http://elocalrocks.com/ Martin of eLocalListings

    I agree with the title of the post “You Can’t Build Authority and Thought Leadership via Twitter” the reason behind this is because twitter is a powerful yet should not be the be all end all. You should use twitter to connect with people in real life. Whether it be through speaking engagements or tweetups. There you will be able to express your authority in your space or niche. You are only as good as your last tweet, so make them valuable little bits of information!!!

  • vajinismus

    yes,ofcourse i got more link popularity too via twitter.

  • http://www.ajsquare.com/products/emailmarketing-software.php Email Marketing Solution

    Nice blog. i use twitter to promote my website. Get most of my visitors through Twitter. Twitter is the most effective way to increase your traffic.

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Ben Yoskovitz
I'm VP Product at GoInstant (acq. by Salesforce).

I'm also a Founding Partner at Year One Labs, an early stage accelerator in Montreal. Previously I founded Standout Jobs (and sold it).

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