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June 2017
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Reports of blogging’s death somewhat exaggerated

Blogging is dead. Maybe. According to some commentators.

But not really.

Back in 2007, Steve Rubel at Micro Persuasion argued that Shiny Object Syndrome and the attention crash mean that people were focusing on social networking tools rather than traditional blogs.

Charles Arthur of the Grauniad has pitched in with a piece based on the decline in inbound links to the site’s technology section from blogs. After dramatically – and incorrectly – declaring that “blogging is dying”, he qualifies his statement by saying he’s talking about the “long tail of blogging” – meaning that while big, “serious” blogs are still going strong, the mass of small blogs by ordinary people is shrinking.

Where is everybody? Anecdotally and experimentally, they’ve all gone to Facebook, and especially Twitter. At least with Twitter, one can search for comments via backtweets.com – though it’s still quite rare for people to make a comment on a piece in a tweet; more usually it’s a “retweet”, echoing the headline.

Of course, it all comes down to what you actually mean by “blogging”. Does it mean producing a website using a blogging CMS or would a more appropriate definition be posting content online in a user-friendly way?

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Twitter’s limitations shown by Harvard study

Eager to cut through the hype engulfing Twitter, some Tefal heads at Harvard Business School have done somerather clever  research into how the microblogging tool is actually used. First of all, despite what you may have heard, it turns out that Twitter is not the most important invention since fire and, surprisingly, will not bring about universal happiness and peace among all the peoples of the Earth.
The research found that most people using Twitter follow others. It also found that
  • The top 10% of users account for 90% of Tweets (as opposed to most social networks where the top 10% account for 30% of content)
  • 50% of users update their feeds less than once every 74 days
  • Most users make one Tweet and then leave (mind you , on average 60-80% of blogs are abandoned after one month and blogging remains a powerful phenomenon
Sounds pretty damning, doesn’t it? But it depends what you are expecting from Twitter. As a two-way mass communication tool it fails but, in marketing and content-distribution terms, Twitter is incredibly valuable. It’s huge: visitors to twitter.com grew 1,200% from Feb 2008 to Feb 2009 and Twitter has become the third largest social networking site in the US. Where Twitter excels is in narrowcasting relevant information to users who have expressed an interest in your content. It’s not a mass communication tool but a way of connecting to specific interest groups.  And targeted content is the Holy Grail of online communication.
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Top tip on using Twitter for marketing

We were tickled to come across the site  How To Use Twitter For Marketing And PR. It’s entirely blank apart from one very large word:

DON’T

This plea for sanity is born out of the vast amount of Tweet spam that infects the microblogging tool.  If you haven’t encountered this, create an account and wait for the flood of “followers” who offer you tips on alleged marketing or – on a less sophisticated level – links to NSFW images. Adding to the background noise by setting up a corporate Twitter feed won’t help. The way to use Twitter – and any social media – to spread a message is to target your audience, identify exisitng networks of interest make sure that your message is relevant to them.
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