Six Pixels of Separation - The Blog
April 20, 2012 2:26 PM

Twitter Is Not Easier Than Blogging

Somebody had to say it.

There was another "Blogging is dead" news item that crept out of USA Today today titled, More companies quit blogging, go with Facebook instead. Here's what the article is saying: "A survey released earlier this year by the University of Massachusetts Dartmouth says the percentage of companies that maintain blogs fell to 37% in 2011 from 50% in 2010, based on its survey of 500 fast-growing companies listed by Inc. magazine. Only 23% of Fortune 500 companies maintained a blog in 2011, flat from a year ago after rising for several years.
The trend in business is consistent with the broader loss of interest in blogging among all consumers. In late 2010, the
Pew Research Center said blogging among adults ages 18 to 33 fell 2 percentage points in 2010 from 2008."

This isn't about what's easy, it's about traffic and laziness.

We need to better define the word "easy." People think that Blogging takes a lot of time and just blasting out a tweet on Twitter or updating a Facebook page is much easier. It's not easier, it's just takes a little less time to create the content. Is that the benchmark we're going after as a marketing industry? How quickly we can produce content? You will not see me arguing that pinning something to Pinterest is way quicker than tweeting, which is way quicker than writing a Blog post or shooting a video for YouTube, but is it really all about the speed (and from the speed we get volume) that matters? Be honest. If I pulled you aside, is the marketing you're doing for a business about how fast you can put a message into the market or the quality of the message? It is about how many people see and connect with that message or who connects to the message?

New media. Old mistakes.

That's the four word summation of the USA Today article. With all of the tremendous opportunities we now have available to us - as brands - to connect with consumers in a world where we are all publishers - in text, images, audio and video. You can, without question, have an idea and share it with the world, and all we're really doing is rallying around the latest and greatest shiny, bright objects in the hopes that once the masses are there, we can blast them with an inane amount of inane messaging as quickly as possible (and because it's easy, it's better). 

Here's a truism: It's not about Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest or your blog...

It's about being relevant. As someone who follows a lot of brands in the many channels that they can now play, it's safe for me to say that brands that sucked at blogging are sucking at Twitter and Facebook too. Sorry, but it's true. Just because it's easier and quicker to post, it doesn't make the brand any more relevant or interesting. What these brands are actually doing is fooling themselves and creating a very false sense of brand security.

Get over the channel. Get into the story.

Yes, it's obvious, Facebook and Twitter lets a brand be more agile, but if you have nothing to be agile about, it's all for nothing. Too many brands are chasing likes, follows, +1 and retweets as if they are an elusive customer acquisition, when what we're really talking about is an instant attention grabber... and not much more. Is Twitter really easier than Blogging? Here's the test: start a brand new Twitter account and start trying to get people to follow you, retweet you and connect with you. How's that working out for you? You see, it's not really about the channel at all: it's a mindset that whatever it is you're going to be doing in the social spaces will be creative, innovative and help to tell your brand story in a new and interesting way (that actually fits the channel and is accepted by your audience).

If you think that any of this is fast, easy or free... you've got another thing coming.

By Mitch Joel


Comments Comments Feed
  • Posted by Josh Muirhead
    Mitch Joel

    Agree - I think the whole world needs to get over the shiny object syndrome.

    Recently I've become somewhat a power user on LinkedIn (just using it as an example - no affiliation nor do I make any money from those guys).

    Can I post quickly on LinkedIn? Sure, not as fast as Twitter, but faster than a blog. But, I've likely logged an hour per day on the social site because I'm currently building my business network, and that isn't a 30 second post - that's work.

    So - Agree

    Reply
  • Posted by Paul Farmiga
    Mitch Joel

    As someone that recently did the "Here's the test: start a brand new twitter account" test on my own a few months back which involved me transitioning off an account that had hundreds of followers (and more importantly not telling them I'm creating a new one) - I wanted the challenge of entering the stream for the story, not to coast and float in the channel with hundreds of unearned/non-personal connections.

    So far - it's tough getting to have the numbers dial-up, but I must must must regularly remind myself to remain true to my story-caring self and to the challenge I had for myself.

    Spot on Mitch - "Get over the channel. Get into the story." - and honest to goodness, I appreciate having 100 or so like you, Nilofer, Clay, Les, Julien and people like David Hieatt with what he's doing with Hiut Denim instead of floating and coasting.

    Thank you for posting your thoughts about this - keep going!

    Reply
  • Posted by Jordan
    Mitch Joel

    I think, like anything, there are degrees of difficulty associated with blogging and tweeting. Blogging and tweeting doesn't have to be time-consuming and expensive to be effective.

    It all depends on how you utilize your blog and twitter. If you have substantial readership, that requires you to stay on top of comments (on your site, and on syndicated sites.) blogging can be very time consuming.

    Conversely, if you integrate twitter with the way you live, it could be effortless.

    So, I agree that Twitter isn't (necessarily) easier than Blogging; but in the spirit of how it was mentioned in the articles you reference - I think there are fewer barriers to Tweeting than blogging. (i.e. It's easy to set up a Twitter account v. setting up a blog, a content calendar and governance documentation is generally easier to establish for twitter than for blogs, and the real-time aspect of Twitter reduces the barrier to posting because posts tend to be consumed or missed much quicker than with blogs.)

    Reply
  • Posted by Todd Schnick
    Mitch Joel

    i am growing tired of people viewing social web tools like twitter, FB, etc., as short-cuts... this stuff is all part of the long game people...

    Reply
  • Posted by Marc Ensign
    Mitch Joel

    It's not about the tools at all...it's about your message. Facebook, Twitter, Blogging, Pinterest or whatever your social flavor of choice is is merely a vehicle to get your message out to the public. Where it becomes a bit of a gray area is when you have someone using these tools for the sole purpose of growing their own interests alone...blogging fluff for good SEO rankings, following a bazillion people just for the follow backs, having 5,000 friends - 4,927 of them you have never met before, etc. Once it becomes less about community and adding value and more about numbers the only choice is to go with what is easiest, requires the least amount of effort and is the shiniest penny. More and more as Google shifts their focus and penalizes for over-seo-ing, etc. the more that becomes a losing strategy. Don't worry Mitch...blogging is not going anywhere. You'll be juuuuust fine! :)

    Reply
  • Posted by Lee dalton
    Mitch Joel

    Isnt this caused by all the snake oil salesmen that have promised big things to brands that get get lots of likes/friends etc on the latest shiny object ?

    As an old stick in the mud, I am just moving into blogging for the business website, mainly because as a B2B site in a relatively stable industry the opportunity for regular interesting content is slightly limited.

    Reply
  • KS - Web Designer

    I really can't see how it is possible to use Facebook and Twitter without blogging, if you are serious about building your influence only. Sharing other peoples' content is great, requires effort and an essential part of the mix. However, I just can't see it working if you don't have your own content to tweet or share.

    Reply
  • Posted by Amy Howell
    Mitch Joel

    I LOVE this post! So true! Forget the channel: get into the story! You are singing my song;)))

    Reply
  • Posted by Danielle
    Danielle

    Wow... I feel like this post should be sent to every CMO in the country. This perfectly encapsilates how I feel about most people's attitude towards social media. They're looking for quantity over quality and it can be extremely frustrating.

    In terms of the ease of blogging vs twitter, I agree that ease and time are not synonomous. I personally find twitter a more difficult content-generating medium then blogs, because twitter relies more on wit then blogs do. The best twitter accounts are not the ones that send out tweets every hour on the hour, they are the ones who engage and listen to their followers. That requires a serious investment of time and effort.

    Reply
  • Mitch Joel

    This blog post adjusted itself to show up perfectly on my mobile phone. I love that! Is that based on a plug-in, or is it more complicated, such as blogging and tweeting successfully?

    I agree that they are both difficult. I see blogging as adding value by educating your readers and establishing a relevant presence online for your target.

    Twitter is very different. What I'm trying to do there is a. Get known as a contributor networker, and supporter. And b. Have a network of people who are happy to engage with me, my content, and supprt me by sharing my tweets. It's definitely a long-term effort. I started a new Twitter acct last year and now have about 1,100 followers. I'm happy with how it's going, but know I can do better in supporting others.

    Sorry I just guest blogged here. It kind of came out inadvertently from your great post and comments! I'm @buildandbalance

    Reply
  • Posted by Kevin Behringer
    Mitch Joel

    I agree with you, Mitch (as well as many of the commenters). I don't think that doing Twitter, Facebook, Google Plus or any of the other social networks RIGHT is any easier than blogging. The key there being doing them right. Brands need to consider that maybe these tools are easier (if only in perception) because they're doing them wrong and just treating them as another avenue to spam people. If you are truly engaging and using them in the way they should be, it's not going to be any easier and my be harder to keep up with and stay engaged.

    You did point out that being fastest isn't the optimal strategy and I agree. I think there are really two ways to get noticed, especially onlin. One if them is to be the first to point something out. The first to a market. The first to report on something. The problem is, that kind of attention is fleeting. Much better to be noticed for doing something great. That kind of attention is going to stick around.

    Ultimately, these types of stories about the death of blogging are great because it means that the opportunity is increased for people willing to put in the time and effort to build something lasting.

    Great as always and I'm looking forward to seeing you in Chicago tomorrow at the Art of Marketing!

    Kevin

    Reply
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