Monday, July 6, 2009

The Balance Between Blogs and Social Networks

Ever since I read Robert Scoble's entry entitled, "Blogging is back? ORLY" I have been inspired to invest more time writing online. Why? Because I believe blogging has an advantage over microblogging alone.

"How so?" you ask. In my opinion, visitors are able to develop a deeper understanding and relationship with the author. When compared to Twitter, I can write any number of words to explain my thoughts and ideas. With Twitter, I am limited to only 140 characters.

Another weakness I see with social networking sites is the speed in which comments or contributions are buried. Try saying something on Twitter in the early morning and it is likely to go unnoticed. Honestly, you cannot blame people for sleeping but once it’s gone, it’s gone. Out of site, out of mind.

Last week, I had a brief discussion with a friend and extremely talented graphic designer, Michael Render, about how he tries to recapture discussions on Twitter. He explained that with UberTwitter he could see which posts he missed through the night. I'll admit I do that each morning, but then I only follow a few hundred people. Imagine following thousands of people. It's unrealistic to assume everyone will have the energy to follow suit.

With a blog, I find that I can fully explore a topic and catalog it for immediate review or future reference. Second, I feel as though blogs are more works of art that can be easily searched. Third, blogs are like living at home whereas Twitter, Facebook, and Friendfeed are like social events. They are great places to play but too transient for long-term residence.

Please, do not misunderstand me. I love Twitter, Facebook, Friendfeed, and other similar places, but there is a time and place for them. One such example is after you develop a blog entry. The time it takes to compose an entry is time alone with your thoughts and I believe it's time well spent.

Once complete, you're ready to share it with the world. That's where social networking sites really display their value. You've stated your thoughts and now it’s time to interact with others and get their feedback. Some of the best blogs are ones that initiate dialog. Sharing of ideas provides a fruitful ground for personal growth through other perspectives. How could that be wrong?

If you're on the fence about writing, let me assure you that the water is warm and quite comfortable. With the use of Blogger or Wordpress, just to name a few, you could be up and running in just a few minutes. Don't worry about getting it perfect before you begin, just begin. In time, you will find your own voice and style. Understand that someone out there is interested in similar things as you. If you don't write it, they will never see it.

On a final note, I am always interested in finding good people and information. Once you have started, let me know and I'll take a visit to your humble abode. As with Twitter and other social networking sites, building a following takes time. Remember, "If you build it, they will come."

Until next time...

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Damond L. Nollan, M.B.A.

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