The days of blogs are either numbered (according to the NY Times) or becoming more important (according to Steve Rubel). Gen X is either all on Twitter or Facebook (according to just about everyone) or moving beyond them using their cell phones (ditto). Never in the short history of the Web have so many people interpreted data so widely with so many contradictory conclusions.
So when it comes time to divvy up your communications budget and pick your corporate strategy, do you:
- Rebuild your Web site, adding blogging-like features (threads, comments, trackbacks, tags)?
- Train a bunch of people how to use Twitter and start initiating and following conversations?
- Split your efforts between Facebook and LinkedIn to attract and keep your talented social networkers?
- Use email and instant messaging for customer outreach?
The correct answer is all of the above, it depends, or go back to doing trade shows and taking out print ads in the IT pubs. What, there aren’t any print IT pubs anymore? Oops, scratch that last one. (Just kidding, somewhat.)
Still, it is getting harder to figure out what constitutes a great blog. My favorite Rubel bon mot (he now works for Edelman Digital): Think of your web site (including your blog) as your homeland, and your presence on social media services as embassies. You need both to build and sustain relationships.
Here is one example: I think most of us will recognize the name Andrew Sullivan as one of the A-list political bloggers (he currently works at the Atlantic). Yet he doesn’t take comments on his Daily Dish blog, and he doesn’t Tweet. You can get to him via old-fashioned email quite easily, though. Is this an outlier or an omen of the future?
Then there are those Twitter darlings who have gotten book and TV deals as a result of their Tweets who don’t have much in the way of blogs, at least not initially. Outlier or omen?
There are companies that are building Facebook landing pages, such as Delta, to replace or augment their Web reservations site. You can understand that Delta wants those fliers who live in Facebook to stay there when the time comes to book flights. But is it outlier or omen of what other businesses are doing?
In my last post/email blast, I asked you to send me your comments. I got them via Twitter, Facebook, email, and as blog comments. All were solid suggestions, although the emails started almost immediately after I sent out my request. Does that mean that you, my dear readers, are more email-centric, older, or wiser? (I would like to think at least the last one.) Who knows?
And that is exactly my point. With apologies to Blackglama, what becomes a blog legend most is up for grabs. Blogs should have comments and a rich interplay of ideas and tons of page views, but they don’t have to: they can be authoritative go-to sources of content in a particular niche. And yes, a healthy company does need a balanced diet of social media efforts, just like you need for your own nutrition and health.