June 28, 2009

Blogging Is Still the Foundation In A World of Streams

Last week, Edelman's Steve Rubel made an aggressive jump - away from traditional blogging, turning over his site to a lifestream, which captures all of his activity from around the Web. His move, he reported, was due to a feeling that blogging "feels old" and that the new reality is about the flow of information. This followed on to a conversation he, Steve Gillmor and I had a month or so ago, which led to my post saying that RSS felt slow. But while I see some of the same issues Steve has, I haven't made a full move away from the blog, don't ever plan to do so, and for any company I give advice to, I tell them to do so would be a mistake.

The blog is the foundation and center for who you are - either as an individual, or a brand. While I believe the best bloggers in the world are participating outside of their blog, on Twitter, FriendFeed, Facebook and everywhere else, to only participate in those areas leaves a gaping hole. The world of lifestreaming and real-time is fun, but it can be as deep as a soap opera in a world that still demands insightful documentaries and news reporting.

In August of 2007, I said there was a new reality and that "Your Blog Is Your Brand". Most of you weren't reading me back then, but it holds as true now as it did two years ago.

Fellow blogger Jeremiah Owyang added his thoughts on the issue last week, asking, Is Blogging Evolving Into Life Streams? Interestingly, he noticed that Robert Scoble and Shel Israel, who were the authors of Naked Conversations, were now more focused on micromedia (FriendFeed and Twitter) than they were on their own blogs. It's a big reason why Mike Arrington told Robert he needed an intervention at the end of 2008. (Amusingly, Robert is going 'blog only' this week...)

In the last two years, the rise of microblogging tools and lifestreaming services has given blogging a less-prominent role on everyone's tongues, but it, in my opinion, is as important as ever. One just needs to make a conscious decision as to what type of data is most appropriate where. Longer, more thoughtful pieces with graphics and type style should go on blogs. Maybe a few photos and text go to FriendFeed or Facebook, and short status updates go to Twitter. The addition of more options shouldn't mean the elimination of the original.

The Blog Is Still the Foundation

In a presentation I gave to one company this week, I stated the same - I said the corporate blog is the foundation of your entire social media strategy. It may make sense to have secondary and tertiary blogs, but if you tried to just use Twitter and other services and neglect the blog, you would a failure from the beginning.

Blogging is not for everyone or every company. Blasphemy, I know. But it is work, and it can never be stopped. Once you start, there is no finish line, until you drop and become a 24 hour trending topic on Twitter. But blogs are your public whiteboard - extending your voice to your peers, your family, friends, or in the business world, your customers, prospects, partners, competition, press and analysts, and of course, your own employees. 140 characters just isn't enough.