Sunday, May 05, 2013

In the mix

Twitter was once called a “microblogging platform”—anybody else remember that? Well, it never was one, and Facebook isn’t a blog, either. But, I think they’re both part of the mix.

The other day, Roger Green posted this:
When I noted that I’ll be doing less blogging someday, I should have made it clear that I won’t be filling up that time using Facebook. I mention this specifically because many of my original blogging buddies from 2005 and 2006 have done just that.
None of my blogging buddies have done that, but there are some people who, in my opinion, should be blogging, instead post things to Facebook (or Tumblr) that would make great conventional blog posts. I think it’s all about reach.

Facebook is a social network without equal (sorry Google+ fans; much as I like that platform, it’s barely used by people I know). Depending on one’s privacy settings, there are potentially millions of people who could see a posting. It’s not just your friends, but who they share it with, and so on. And, if you have loose enough settings to permit public viewing, the total number who might read your words could be many millions.

Even though most ordinary people would never—ever—reach such stratospheric numbers of readers, I nevertheless think that it’s the huge potential reach of Facebook that makes it so tempting for some people to use a kind of mini-blogging platform. A conventional blog post on any platform—Blogger, Wordpress, some other site or even self-hosted—is very unlikely to offer that same huge potential audience.

My own blog has a consistent and rather small readership (quality, not quantity!). If I wait for people to discover it on Blogger alone, that’ll never change. So, like most bloggers, I try and reach other readers, perhaps even those who don’t ordinarily read blogs.

So, I have Networked Blogs publish a teaser for each new post to Facebook, and that’s resulted in something interesting: I often have more interaction about my blog posts on Facebook than I do here. Friends will “Like” a post or make a comment there, something they never do here. Similarly, a teaser is automatically posted to Google+ and I’ll often get a +1 there, which people could do here, but seldom do.

What all of this means for me is that Facebook, Google+ and Twitter are all important parts of my blogging: They let people who often are not ordinarily readers of blogs know about my posts, and sometimes they read them. But the thing is, all those places point back here—the post is here, not in any of those other places.

Roger’s post lays out some of what’s good about Facebook, though his mention of the designated hitter rule baffled me; I never understood it—or, perhaps, baseball—at all. But I—we—digress.

After I read Roger’s post, I said on Twitter:
For me, Facebook is for people I know IRL—family and old school friends—and Twitter is for people I WISH I knew.
Sometime in the past year or so, Facebook became a place with a high percentage of people I know in real life; all the others remain quite low. But all the networks I take part in have interesting people who are willing to engage in conversation—and isn’t conversation part of the whole point of blogging? It is for me.

Facebook cannot replace a full blogging platform, I don’t think, at least in part because social networks don’t have as much overlap as many people assume. As a blogger, I’d like to reach, yes, but more to engage with all sorts of people. For me, Facebook, Twitter, Google+, etc., aren’t a substitute for traditional blogging, but they’re definitely in the mix.


Roger Green said...

Specifically, I was noting that the designated hitter rule is 40 years old, and I'm still so old-fashioned that I STILL haven't warmed up to it.

Arthur (AmeriNZ) said...

Yeah, while not know the specific lineage, I got that it appeared to be an age reference. I just don't get the rule at all (not that I've actually tried).