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:
- 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…
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.