Summary: If we want responsible subject level experts to blog, we have to make the results more rewarding.
There is a new discussion as to whether or not blogs are dying from Media Post’s “Social Media Insider” written by Catharine P. Taylor. The address for the article is http://www.mediapost.com/.
In essence, Catherine states that blogs are not dying so much as they are changing demographics; younger people are blogging less, older people more. She also observes that, “…people have, to some extent, shifted their channels of self-expression to less labor-intensive platforms like Facebook and Twitter.”
My take on this is that blogs can be a gigantic pain “but” they can create meaningful relationships between you and your core community.
I assist governments, associations and nonprofits and my work involves nothing more than telephone conversations helping others create social media platforms. I help them cut through the clutter and confusion and get them on the right path. I wish that someone was there for me when I started our government social media site four years ago.
For those that stick with it, their sites produce approximately 30,000 page views a month after 18 months and 50,000 page views with two years of effort. That’s a lot of people exposed to your message.
What is clear, however, is that the blogging world is filled with endless negatives that drives many to reconsider their initiatives; this connects to Catherine’s observation that people have shifted to less labor-intensive platforms.
The people I assist are subject level experts who create hand-crafted articles with links to trusted sites but they are often beaten in Google searches by clearly lesser sites who know how to play the linking game. For those new to the concept, the number of links from other websites determines how much traffic search engines send you.
Responsible writers understand that good articles create good links but the wild swings in traffic indicate that Google can’t figure out if they are a good or bad witches.
They understand that links and popularity take time and also require some creative marketing, but when they place their articles on social sites like Reddit and Yahoo Bookmarks they are often accused as being spammers because they include links to trustworthy sites.
During my interactions with social media site administrators they encourage bloggers to get to know the people on their sites and to spend time interacting with their communities. The bottom line is that jokes about body parts and sophomoric observations are fine but links to great sites are not. The message and emphasis they convey is not on quality but time spent on their sites regardless of the content.
For professionals trying to do good, inadequate page rank and traffic and accusations of being spammers are discouraging events that cause them to lose interest in blogging. They have limited time and they don’t want to waste it by interacting with the “less than kind” crowd in some social media sites. All they want to do is create good content and responsibly interact with readers. They advance their agendas by serving the public.
So Google and social media sites need to figure out the responsible stewards of the social media world. I would suggest, for example, that a link to a dot.gov site immediately gets a pass as to anyone’s definition of spam. Others believe we need to return to hand-picked sites where it’s obvious that responsible and original content reigns.
If we want professionals to enter and continue to blog, the web world needs to treat them with more respect. Some social media sites like StumbleUpon ( http://www.stumbleupon.com/home/) are wonderful and provide a meaningful place to put articles without accusations of spam. Many others need to come to grips with the fact that social media thrives only when responsible participants are rewarded for their work.