How twitter and facebook can save your blog rather than kill it

One of the things that anyone keeping a blog must be aware of at the moment is that things are not the same as they were. At one time you simply had to put up something even vaguely interesting and people all over the world would read and comment. Blogging was like the Wild West – for the attention seeker there was gold to be mined her.

I remember Mother Ruth saying to me before she started blogging, “All you have to do is ask ‘Who teaches cats yoga?’ and you’ve an audience”. If you could supply an entertaining picture of the cat in question, you were immediately set to dominate the blogging world.

Nowadays, things are more difficult. One-liners like that have long since moved over to social media. Facebook and twitter are a more appropriate place for compact wit and if you are initially trying to reach friends and friends of friends then the social media platforms are the way to go. It is, to a large extent, what they are for.

I made a prediction in one of my new year posts that the number of active bloggers would decrease but the influence of those who remain blogging would continue to increase. I still think that is true and I can see when I look through my blog feeds in a morning that there really are far fewer people making the effort. The fad has past but there are some who continue. Those who continue tend to be those who have learned to harness social media and quite often those who have  given up have simply moved to social media instead. Perhaps blogging gave them connections with people that they are happy to retain in a different way.

For some people, starting a blog is about keeping up with those whom you know. For others it is like taking a few tentative steps into the limelight and tottering onto a very public stage. It is the latter type of bloggers who are persisting and they have even greater potential now to become global voices. The blogosphere is becoming free of some of the clutter. Now the cat pictures have moved to facebook and twitter, maybe posts with more substantial thinking matter more.

It is very obvious that quick witty thoughts are going on social media whereas blogs are now being used for more substantial thinking. Successful blogs these days quite often seem to have fewer posts than they once would have done but the posts themselves are more substantial.

Who would have guessed that blogging would have reinvigorated the essay as a writing style?

Anyway, it seems to me that you can write as much as you like these days, if you are not engaging on social media then you are unlikely to see many readers.

Here’s how to make social media work for you and keep the readers flowing in.

  • Post links to your latest blog entry on twitter and facebook (it isn’t rocket science, that’s where your readers are).
  • Note the plural! – Post a link in the morning to get the morning audience, one in the afternoon (for when America is waking up, if you are in Europe) and another one later in the day.
  • Don’t be ashamed to work for your audience.
  • Remember that email is a form of social media and offer people the chance to sign up to receive your posts. This way of reading blogs is growing.
  • Remember to provide an RSS feed for those who receive blogs that way. (For readers, I recommend Feedly now that Google Reader is long gone).
  • A witty link on twitter that gets retweeted is the gold you are chasing
  • A photo of a cat doing yoga is never wrong.

 

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  • Oh and one last thing. Why do you think it is important to ask questions on a blog?

 

Picture credit РMel on Flickr  Copyright (CC BY-ND 2.0)

 

Comments

  1. All sensible advice, Kelvin, except much of my energy for blogging came from exchanges in comments, which are mostly missing now, alas. Also, I hate Facebook. My account was stolen for the second time in a month, and my patience is wearing thin.

  2. An excellent post ..and I think perceptive….if only I could work out how to tweet

  3. “A photo of a cat doing yoga is never wrong” (if the link works, here’s Ginger practising his bakasana: http://i.imgur.com/ijXV7hr.jpg

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