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September 22, 2008

Have Blogging Platforms Become Antiquated....Already?

This provocative title is in response to a post by Stephanie West Allen where she discusses blogging and references back to a post by Alex Manchester who in turn responds to a post by James Dellow's Blogging Manifesto.

In James Dellow's Blogging Manifesto he states:

...the key difference between blogging and content management is the intent of the blogger to engage their readers on some level over a period of time, rather than simply broadcasting information. And that to me is best described as a conversation, although a hyper-connected one at that.

http://www.anythingaboutcars.com/images/1929_Desoto_Blue.jpgThe crux of Dellow's manifesto is that the intention of blogging (conversation) pre-dates blogging platforms and that conversation has now blown past current blogging platforms to other social media.  Blogging platforms evolved to fulfill the need to converse with readers.  So, if conversation has now moved to other web-based applications has blogging become antiquated for conversation and now simply a platform for content management?  And does a platform for content management still make sense?

Alex Manchester comments:

For me these days a blog is little more than a sophisticated, easy-to-use website platform. A place where an individual or a department/function can have their own site quickly and easily. Simplistic that may be, but whether news posts or thought articles, the commenting or conversation aspect of blogging appears to by dying down in many places (just recently there was a flurry of blog posts suggesting that "comments were dead" - a scary thought for many companies just flicking the "On" switch on their corporate blogging initiatives....).

Yet blogs without comment aren't necessarily lacking in readership - or even participation. This is where the "intent" aspect of James D's manifesto falls down for me. I don't think conversations necessarily make a blog. To me they're a component, a module that can or cannot be there (and increasingly are not there).

Wow.  Just as people are starting to finally wrap their heads around the idea they actually need a blog someone comes along and says it's a great place to manage your content and present your expertise to the world versus a more static platform but if you want to have a conversation, not so much.

Well, I'll weigh in. The blogging platform is not antiquated as it remains the best internet attraction tool for the solo practitioner. Attraction of potential clients is the number one reason you will have a web presence and the best web presence for a potential client or referrer of clients (even other lawyers) is one built on software which supports blogging.  However, I do agree the conversational element of blogging has diminished.  Why? Because people are going where it's actually easier to connect and converse.  And if they can converse with you in an easier way, they are going to give you their comments through that same environment instead of leaving it on your blog.

If a blog author I know is on Twitter chances are I will contact them on Twitter (give them GREATER publicity for their post by putting the comment in the Twitter stream with a link to spread the word to those who follow me) and let them know I enjoyed the post.  It's better publicity for the author.  And it's faster, too.

If the author is not on Twitter, of course, I will leave a comment on their blog.  And those who have multiple-thousands of followers still get a voluminous amount of comments on their blogs (but I venture to say mainly because those commenting are not Tweeting yet).

Has the conversation moved?  I believe it's starting to.  Does that mean you should bypass building a blogging platform for content management and conversation with readers? Absolutely not. You do not exist today without a web presence and the best web presence is a robust blogging platform capable of evolving with you...whatever the evolution may be.

What do you think? When's the last time you left a comment on a blog? 

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Comments

Laurie/Halo Secretarial

Well I still like to leave (and receive!) comments on the actual blogs. I think it's the easiest place of reference for other blog readers, especially as many probably aren't involved in the same twitter streams. If I love a post though I am likely to share it on Twitter!

Sandy Slaga

Good thoughts, Susan. I'm still getting the hang of Twitter.

Kenan Farrell

If I have to go through some signup procedure before leaving a comment, I generally do not. But if it's fairly simple, I'll leave a comment if I have something to add to the discussion. I'll often even draft a comment before deciding not to submit it. This exercise at least helps me clarify MY thoughts on the matter.

Donna Seale

Hi Susan. Interesting post. And, because of its subject I decided to actually comment :) I know my personal habits are such that I read tons of blogs but comment infrequently. Time is very much a factor. While I'm new to Twitter, I agree that from a conversation perspective it appears to be much quicker and probably more effective at 'getting the word out' about something interesting to discuss. In relation to my own blog, I find that the vast majority of my readers comment via e-mail versus using the comment section on my blog. I haven't alerted my readers yet to the fact I'm on Twitter. Once I do, I'll see if this pattern changes or not. Again, thanks for the post, as always it was thought-provoking and also highlights to me how great it is to be a solo. I can read your blog, learn about a potential new trend and consider implementing a new way of doing things right away.

Susan Cartier Liebel

@Donna, Hey Donna. Nice to see you here :-)

As one reads more blogs it does become time consuming to comment and when you do comment you want it to be meaningful.

Since it has been said 50% of your blogging time should be leaving comments on the blogs of those you would like to be associated with, I think many people comment to attract that blogger's audience..to be noticed...through the link to their website. And that's perfectly acceptable and the added value of commenting.

@Kenan, you make my point above by giving much more consideration and thought to the commenting process because your name is linked to same in what now seems like a more formal process versus 140 characters on Twitter which is highly informal and fast-paced.

@Sandy, You'll get the hang of Twitter. I have full faith in you :-)

@Laurie, you use your comments wisely to spread the word of your services to your target audience and you leave comments worth reading as well. :-)

Raj

As a lawyer, I tend to agree with A Manchester's comments - my blog has a good readership and results in enquiries and clients - however very few comments. I view it more as a showcase (more versatile and easier to use than a traditional website) of my expertise and secondarily as content management.

Alex Manchester

Hi Susan,

Good post, and forgive me if I'm wrong but you pretty much seem to be agreeing with everything I said. Is that right?

What's most interesting to me in your post above is the additional idea that blogs are, front and centre, a person's presence on the web.

Currently this is true, but we all know how much personality can be derived from blogs (a lot). I think we're now starting to see a heck of a lot more personality through something like Twitter. "People are less guarded" a colleague just said to me about it.

Like it or not, blogs are becoming... not antiquated as such... but the baseline. The default. They are undoubtedly OLD in terms of popular use of the Web. Micro-blogging is new, but no longer cutting edge.

This makes me wonder what sort of compression we'll see in Web application timeline. Traditional, one-way websites (no comment function etc.) are now being squeezed out. They are antiquated. Blog-style sites are the standard, but Twitter-type stuff is on the increase. Will your blog forever be the front and centre for your web presence? I don't think so, and I'm finding Twitter a far more useful and interactive tool than I've ever found any blog - either that I write or just comment on.

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