Saturday, May 8, 2010

April 10 - Changing habits

When I first started my BrandDNA blog I was an avid reader of advertising and marketing blogs. Over time I built a repertoire of blogs that I visited on a daily basis.

If a particular blog had not published new content on the day I visited, I made sure I went back for another look later in the day.

I did this because blogs were a constant source of news, information and opinion on the industry in which I work.

What I really loved about blogs however, was that I was able to comment on them. This meant I was able to engage in a dialogue with the publisher of the content.

Not only that, but commenting also enabled me to debate issues with other commenters as well.

Blogging truly was a whole new way of publishing. One that sought opinion from the reader and encouraged interaction between reader and publisher and amongst the readers themselves.

Fast forward a mere four years and social media sites such as Twitter and Facebook have changed everything for me. A change of habit summed up perfectly by this quote I found on the web by Josh Miller;

“In the past, people would blog about a topic they thought was interesting. Now they just link to it on their Twitter. They do this also in place of comments since the Tweet will contain a comment.”

So what does the future hold for blogs, with more and more of the industry thinkers I respect shifting from longer opinion pieces on blogs to short snatches of thought via Twitter?

J. Paul Duplantis, from Quired, took a look into the future and came up with this insightful question; “Fast forward 5 years and tell me people are going to still login into 20 different networks to post?”

Obviously 20 network sounds like an exaggeration, but I’m pretty sure I have login names and passwords to close to that many social media and other online platforms.

In the future, people will, says Duplantis, “Post from their own website which will feed out to 20 different networks. Comments will be pulled in to the main website from all of the networks which will carry their branding and possibly their advertisers.”

This is already happening, believe it or not. The best, and most obvious example, is Google. My Google login and password work for a number of sites and services. As do my MSN and Apple account details.

So, if Duplantis vision is realised, and I suspect it pretty much already is, commenting on and reading blogs may actually become more commonplace in the future. As we consolidate our reading repertoire into our preferred social media channel.

The only thing preventing this from happening at the moment is the rise and rise of Twitter.

Of course many industry people, myself included, use Twitter as a source of links to information and opinion. But not everyone does.

Spend a couple of minutes in the “general” Twitter stream and you’ll soon discover that 90% of the people on Twitter are talking absolute crap about absolutely nothing. All be it in 140 character chunks.

But then most of us never visit the rest of Twitter. We stick to our followers and followees. People like us.

But even these people, smart as they are, have less to say in 140 characters than they do on a blog. Leading Russell Davies, the Godfather of marketing blogging, to say this;

“We were seduced by the speed and reach of twitter and started putting our fragments there instead. But bits of thought on twitter are ephemeral, they slip away from us.

Whereas on a blog a fragment of thought is pinned down, tagged, permanent and can become part of a larger body of accreted thinking.”

If Russell is right, and he usually is, blogging will be around for a long time. It just needs us to find a way to fit it back into our daily schedule.