Twitter? Or Your Blog?

Twitter changed the game as far as blogging. Instead of posting something, and MAYBE people would stop by your blog and MAYBE they’d read your articles and MAYBE they’d leave a comment, all of a sudden, what you had to say was being pushed to people who actually REQUESTED to hear what you had to say by following you and then either checking the site itself or installing an app or widget on their computers or phones.

Michelle & Bill
Twitter > Bill

I noticed that the traffic on the Yahoo Videoblogging Group fell off DRASTICALLY as Twitter presented a far better and faster way for people to get immediate responses to questions than an email list.

I also noticed A LOT OF PEOPLE putting a lot of their ideas on Twitter instead of their own blogs. I didn’t really think much of that until I talked with Tyme White about it ten (10) months ago, back in March, 2008:

Tyme: “Yes, the conversations are moving away from blogs but the problem is the same problem that has always existed, one I warned about at least two years ago. How many times has a writer published an article, a larger site wrote about it, and the conversation took place every where but on the writer’s site? Same problem – the writer would have to keep up with those conversations. Now, the same root problem exists, but there are many more sites where the conversation can take place. The writer publishes the entry and now a discussion can happen on the originating blog, any blogs that write about it, any site that aggregates content (Reddit, Chawlk, Digg, StumbleUpon, etc.), Twitter, MySpace, Facebook, any of the social sites that are popping up, forums…the list is long.”

The question is: does it matter to the writer if the conversation takes place in other places? If the answer is no, the writer would have one strategy. If the answer is yes, it does matter and the preference is for the conversation to take place on their blog, well, that would take a different strategy, wouldn’t it?”

So, referencing that practically-one-year-old post by Tyme… Does it matter where *YOU* blog your material? I blog mine to BillCammack.com. I post references to my blog posts on Twitter and Tumblr.

On December 18th, 2008, Wayne Sutton blogged about the advice he received from Tyme months and months ago:

Wayne: Earlier this year I had a conversation with Tyme White about twitter and personal branding that had stuck in my head ever since I got off the phone with her. She brought up the fact that I had a lot of twitter followers but where or how would I stay connected with those followers if twitter goes down (fail whale) , twitter gets purchased by google & closed like Pownce or their business model just doesn’t work and everyone leaves the community.

* For the record, that conversation actually happened months before Pownce got shut down, but I understand what Wayne was trying to say as far as making his point. *

So Wayne has over 11,000 twitter followers. It would seem to make sense for him to post to twitter a lot…

Tyme: “The reason why the conversation goes on without the writer being involved (and this is going to hurt but it’s the truth) is because the commenter doesn’t really care about talking to the writer. The commenter cares about commenting on the article. Unless the writer has a direct connection with their audience, the hurdle of converting a reader to a commenter is tough enough. If the reader finds the article on another site, it is a tougher hurdle to get the reader to leave the site he or she is on (particularly if it is a favorite site), and convert that reader into a commenter on the original site the article was published on. To achieve that type of interaction a deeper connection than publishing articles and hoping someone reads them is required.”

On December 20th, 2008, Chris Brogan wrote “Of Streams and Stopping Points”:

Chris: “Twitter is a stream. Facebook is both a stream and a stopping point (but mostly a stream). Your blog is a stopping point pretending to be a stream.

It’s important to think about where you want information to live, and how you want it to impact the world. For everything you toss into a stream rolls past, and if I’m not at the stream when you throw your leaf onto the waters, I’ll miss the leaf entirely, or perhaps catch only the ripples.”

I think this is a really good way to think about this topic. Do you want to post your ideas to a stream or to a stopping point? Like I said earlier, I post my ideas to stopping points, but I publicize them in streams. The question is… Which style is more relevant to the information you have for the public? Should you use streams, stopping points, or a combination of the two?

I think the answer depends upon the type of information that you’re presenting to the world.

There are lots of people who write tech blogs who are entirely derivative. All they’re really doing is regurgitating what they read or heard somewhere else and MAYBE.. if we’re LUCKY… adding literally two cents worth of their own commentary to the original information. These people are more like reporters than bloggers. They’re like the television news, informing you about what happened or what MIGHT happen. I’ve done blog posts like this, like this 2007 post where I “reported” that there was a New Joost Version Available”.

There’s no information there other than the facts that you could have read anywhere else. On top of that, that post ceased to be relevant almost immediately. Nobody cares on December 29, 2008 that a new Joost version was available on April 03, 2007.

If this is the type of information that you have to offer the blogosphere, put it on Twitter. People will see it quickly, react to it, give you credit for it, and then it will blow away in the wind. Nobody cares that it blew away, because your information was only as useful as it was timely and relevant.

OTOH, some people post original ideas that happen to be evergreen. These would be posts that are just as relevant today as they were on April 03, 2007. You do NOT want “How To Break Up With Your Girl” or “Why professionals avoid web video” to blow away, because people always want to know these things.

This is why I post to my own blog and use twitter/tumblr/etc for announcement purposes. I post evergreen, consistently relevant and interesting material, so it needs to be available when someone new searches Google for something that I wrote two years ago.

You wouldn’t, for instance, want this TIMELESS CLASSIC to go unseen, because you only referred to it on Twitter! hahahaha 😀 :


Permalink: Wayne Sutton TV

* Yes. I know that the video above gives an error message. Go to Wayne’s site if you want to actually see it. That’s really smart, making a video not embeddable….. *

So where should your material “live”? Should it rest on the temporary stream of twitter or the stopping point of your own blog? Who’s going to care next year about what you posted this year? Who’s going to care tomorrow about what you posted yesterday? Who’s going to care an hour from now about what you posted just now?

If you think people are going to care, make sure people can find your material on Google by posting it on a stopping point instead of tossing it away, down the stream.

~Bill

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13 Comments

  1. I have been thinking about this for a number of months, especially as a non-blogger but avid Twitter user. So it is likely in ’09 I shall be “forced” to begin blogging if only to keep track of some of my (few & far between) excellent thoughts that are only captured on Twitter.

    Thanks for the reminder.

  2. You’re welcome, Suki. 🙂

    That’s exactly my point. If you say something memorable on Twitter, that’s all well and good and everybody that saw it got a laugh or gained some insight. If you had blogged it, that information would be searchable, like “dress your girlfriend” and people who took an interest would be able to find more of your thoughts, because they would have been directed to YOUR site.

    The division has to be between stuff that you say that’s just throwaway information, or at least only temporarily relevant information (like “Joost released a new version today”) or something you’d like people to be able to search and read next year AND give you credit for being the person that came up with the concept in the first place.

  3. Tyme was on point as you said. I remember her saying this in our skype conversations too.

    Twitter totally flipped the game but blogging is still relevant to protect you!

    Thank you for sharing, Bill!

  4. You’re welcome, Jenn. 🙂

    I think it all depends on how people approach blogging/twittering. Are you just saying stuff to socialize, or do you feel like someone in the near or distant future MIGHT be interested in reading something you’re saying right now?

  5. My personal rule when it comes to twitter v. blogging is if I have a fleeting idea or link to share, I post it on Twitter. But if its something that requires deep thought, explanation or analysis, I blog it (especially if the idea can’t be expressed in under 140 characters).

  6. @Mark: Thanks for the comment.

    That’s another good point. If what you have to say can’t be properly expressed or explained in 140 characters, you have to put it somewhere else. You could still microblog on Tumblr, but I still think people look for more in-depth material outside of microblogging sites.

    On top of that, If I Google “billcammack twitter” I don’t get anything useful at all. It lists my actual twitter “home page”, which takes you to the CURRENT state of my account.

    Sure, you could try to use twitter search, except you’d have to know exactly the words you’re looking for. I just did a search on “billcammack joost” and got ZERO results, when I know damned well that I’ve posted about Joost in the past on twitter.

  7. I’m very new to Twitter, only joing to finally see what the fuss is about, but I still prefer blogging by far. 140 characters is awfully confining and the thoughts you post on Twitter are awfully fleeting.

    We use our blog as a means to share with friends & family who’re spread all over the country. But I also use it as a braindump sometimes – a place where to stick info that I’d want to refer back to at some point. My computer might go belly up (again) but the cloud is always out there…

  8. Hey Rob. Thanks for the comment. 😀

    The thing about Twitter is this… It’s excellent for getting information out there immediately. It’s horrible for finding that information in the future.

    As an example, I live in Manhattan, NYC. A crane fell over about a mile from my house and smashed some buildings and killed a few people, and I found out about it because someone that lives nowhere near here twittered about it. ASSUMING I would have had a television on and tuned to channels that report the news instead of cable movie stations, I would have heard about it way later.

    Similarly, a bridge collapsed in like Wisconsin or something like that. I knew about it before it hit CNN for the same reason. Someone local to the issue twittered about it and their followers got the information immediately.

    You also have to know how to USE Twitter. You have to know when to DM and when to @reply someone, and why.

    Twitter is an excellent one-to-many tool for getting information to people. I wrote more about it in June, 2007 in “Twitter Has ‘Ruined’ My Life” if you’re interested.

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