Six Pixels of Separation - The Blog
August 19, 2011 3:39 PM

Don't Quit... Yet

Are you thinking of quitting Twitter or Facebook or Blogging?

Google + is getting a lot of attention lately. The people that are really enjoying it are now considering quitting Facebook and Twitter for it. It's hard to say where and when is the right time to quit anything (unless it's an unhealthy habit. For unhealthy habits the answer is always, "right now!"). The history of civilization (and business) is littered with messes because people misjudged when to quit something. We've seen people quit too early. We've seen people quit too late. We've seen people who never quit. We've seen people who always quit. One of the best books that Seth Godin has written to date is called, The Dip, and subtitle is, "A Little Book That Teaches You When To Quit And When To Stick." It's a book about quitting (and it's powerful).

Knowing when to quit is key.

Today, Hugh MacLeod, decided to quit Twitter and Facebook. In his Gapingvoid Blog post, "Reclaim Blogging": Why I'm giving up Twitter and Facebook, he says: "Keeping up a decent blog that people actually want to take the time to read, that's much harder. And it's the hard stuff that pays off in the end. Besides, even if they're very good at hiding the fact, over on Twitter and Facebook, it's not your content, it's their content. The content on your blog, however, belongs to you, and you alone. People come to your online home, to hear what you have to say, not to hear what everybody else has to say. This sense of personal sovereignty is important. And as I've said many times over the years, Web 2.0 IS ALL ABOUT personal sovereignty. About using media to do something meaningful, WITHOUT someone else giving you permission first, without having to rely on anyone else's resources, authority and money. Self-sufficiency. Exactly."

Don't quit... yet.

I often tell brands that are trying to figure out if Digital Marketing is going to replace their traditional marketing endeavors that, "everything is 'with', not 'instead of'." There is no doubt that focus - and knowing what you are focusing on - is critical too, but Blogging should never replace Twitter and Facebook. In fact, I would argue that Twitter and Facebook - if used in a certain way - can augment the Blog experience. It helps people share your content and creates another platform for discourse.

Social Media will not bend to your will.

Telling people where and how you would like them to engage with your brand can be tricky. If many people are on Facebook and Twitter and those people are the exact same kinds of folks that you're trying to reach to grow your audience, abandoning ship can be a risk. People know and like Hugh, so this may be the perfect moment for him to quit and focus solely on his Blog, but I'll miss him on Twitter and Facebook. My guess is that I'm not alone. I look forward to his tweets, the links he shares and meeting/following the people he responds to. His little nibbles of content make me hungry to check out his more robust Blog posts and his art. Twitter and Facebook act as an alert that keeps me reminded of how relevant and important Hugh and his content are (and it's not just Hugh - it's many other individuals and brands). Odds are that people don't love your brand half as much as they like someone like Hugh, so your job isn't to remove all of the ideal ways that they can connect to you. Your job is to make everything that you create as shareable and as findable as possible. I believe that to be the core truth of Social Media: how a brand makes itself as shareable and findable as possible.

My advice to Hugh - and others who are on the fence - is: please don't quit... not yet.

By Mitch Joel


Comments Comments Feed
  • Posted by Justin Kownacki
    Mitch Joel

    But the alleged reason to use Twitter or Facebook is to engage with others, not to solely self-promote. (We all just happen to self-promote endlessly, because we're in the age of ego.) Hugh not being active on Twitter or Facebook doesn't mean that Hugh won't BE on Twitter or Facebook; he'll be there because other people still need things to talk about. And if he spends less time engaging and more time creating, his fans will still share his content on their channels, which will bring people to his site, where they can engage him directly. He may get less engagement that way than he does now, but that engagement may be more powerful because the people who land there were interested enough to make the trip.

    If Hugh (or anyone) doesn't feel like he's deriving value from Facebook, Twitter or anything else, that's his prerogative. Those services only matter in the context of sharing information. And if the people who make good information want to spend more time creating it and less time reminding us that it exists, something tells me it'll all balance out. (Granted, it helps to be a "name" like Hugh. But if you have the traction, you can afford to shout less and make more.)

    Reply
    • I completely agree. All I was saying is that I will miss him and I believe he's missing an opportunity (that already exists for him) to continue the discourse. Once the art is created, it becomes the artist's work to get it seen/heard.

      Reply
  • Posted by Kevin Skarritt
    Mitch Joel

    HEAR, HEAR!! Great advice Mitch.

    Instead of quitting, how about integrating the platforms and letting FB and Twitter (and many others) run on "auto-pilot", if you will.

    Something like:
    * Write a blog post
    * Have FBComments at the bottom of each (allowing fans to comment freely, which draws THEIR friends into the conversation.)
    * Have the post feed to your fan page via FB Notes
    * Have the post feed to Twitter via TwitterFeed

    And, of course, there are SCADS of other apps and tools out there, other than those listed here, that do things in an automated/easy way.

    DON'T just quit! If you want to focus on just one platform, automate your content distribution to the other platforms as much as possible so your presence online is expanded, amplified, viral.

    I too would miss you Hugh!!!

    Reply
    • I see the other channels as a way to continue the discourse. If it's become too much for Hugh, I completely understand. I just know that the discourse on my Blog is typically augmented by the sharing of the ideas in places like Facebook and Twitter.

      Reply
  • Posted by Neal Caminsky
    Mitch Joel

    I've been telling clients lately that Facebook essentially (if not totally) was responsible for a revolution in Egypt. If that's the case, wouldn't it be feasible for Facebook to help revolutionize their business?

    Reply
  • Posted by Hugh MacLeod
    Hugh MacLeod

    Irony of Ironies: the cartoon in The Dip are mine ;-)

    Reply
  • Posted by Marcus Schaller
    Mitch Joel

    This is an issue I've been thinking about a lot lately. While I've made some very happy connections with some very cool people on Twitter/FB, 99% of what I see there are the same RTs and links and quotes and platitudes.

    As Hugh says, it's simply too easy to be lazy. Too easy to simply RT every article from Mashable, rather than write something worth an RT itself.

    Reply
  • Posted by Spencer
    Mitch Joel

    i guess most people will end up (or should) spending more time on the platforms where the people they want to interact with hang-out. Whether thats customers, friends, or peers. You can't do it all.

    I'm a Brit so I have to liken it to going to the pub. You try out a few places and end up becoming a regular at the place that you like the layout, the people, the atmosphere and the beer. Then you get to know the familiar faces and it re-inforces why you hang-out there alot. Every so often you go for a beer in a new place to see what's happening and depending on the experience you may switch alligences.... :-)

    makes me want a beer! :-)

    Reply
  • Posted by Tim
    Mitch Joel

    Mitch:

    I would agree with you...I believe that FB and Twitter is great in addition to one's blog or website. I still think that Twitter's a great listening tool...and that this listening might even be a positive thing for Hugh and others out there. If Twitter and FB are preventing you from getting your work on your blog done...well then maybe it's time to curb your Twitter and FB time. But abandoning those tools doesn't seem smart. Besides, didn't Hugh quit blogging to focus on sending out his posts via email a while ago?

    Reply
  • Posted by Mack McLaughlin
    Mitch Joel

    Mitch,

    Great advice, I actually came to this post today because I saw your Tweet in my LinkedIn stream.

    I would have gotten here eventually since I also follow your Blog on iGoogle or I might have seen your actual Tweet RT'd by someone later. But it might have been a few days from now after everyone has moved on to a new topic so I would have missed the Conversation.

    As you said Social Media is all about putting your Message, Story, Brand in all the places where your audience might find it and as the tools continue to improve that will get easier and less time consuming allowing you to spend more time Creating the content.

    Letting people know you just posted something to your Blog is not Shameless Promotion if you are creating value, it's actually a service to your consumers to make it as easy and as painless as possible to get to your product, service, or content.

    My only fear is that with Google+ on the scene that some people will pick one over the other and you'll have to pay attention to both as well as Twitter to keep up with Everyone you like to follow, in Brian Solis' recent poll it seemed pretty well split 25% for Google+, 25% for Facebook and 50% staying with both for the time being.

    So Mitch please keep posting to them all so that we can get to your content when we can as easily as we can.

    Thanks,

    Mack

    Reply
  • Posted by Justin Dupre
    Mitch Joel

    It's best to take advantage of all these platforms. They are free anyway and good for marketing.

    Reply
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