Archive for February, 2009

I taught I taw a putty tat

My name is Chris, and I’m a tweet-aholic.

tweety_bird

Thanks for joining me. I should start off by saying that if you’re unfamiliar with the micro-blogging site, Twitter, it’d be worthwhile to read up on it before diving into my post. A lot of good blogs have touched on the value of Twitter and helped explain its use  since the site started gaining popularity in late 2007. Here’s a few:

I started using Twitter when I helped plan a Media Ethics Workshop that used the site for live updates in September 2008. By no means was it love at first sight. I scoffed at the empty text field and Twitter’s famous prompt: “What are you doing now?”

Heck, I’d been on Facebook for three years and never once filled out a status update. What on earth would possess me to use a site devoted to this nonsense? It’s not that I’m a private person; I’d just rather be doing things than talking about them.  Or tweeting about them.

The truth is, there’ s a whole lot more to Twitter than just telling people what you’re up to (or text-messaging to no one as my girlfriend calls it).

Twitter is a conversation.

Twitter is a resource.

Twitter is news.

Twitter is networking.

Twitter is entertainment.

But…

Twitter is also addicting.

More than anything else, Twitter is a gateway for me. It has opened the door to online resources that would be otherwise un-tapped. I’m connecting to professionals in my region and around the globe. I’m discovering blogs I never would have found through Technorati, or Google Blog search. I’m learning tons about social media and how it can be used effectively on behalf of a company, clients or myself.

It took me a while to discover how to use Twitter to my advantage, and I’m still not too sure what I’m doing.  But I learn more with each tweet and like to think (or hope) that I’m also providing some value to the conversation for others along the way.

Time flies on Twitter

Time flies on Twitter

The downside?

Twitter, like so many other SM tools, can also be a time vacuum. SM guru Chris Brogan, for instance, has averaged 40 tweets per day over the last two years. Hypothetically, this means Mr. Brogan stops what he’s doing once every half-hour to update his 46,000 Twitter followers. I have to wonder: how do people like that get any ACTUAL work done? (Only kidding about this, of course.)

In the realm of PR and converged marketing, though, tweeting is working — or at least it can be. As companies sign-up on Twitter and agencies explain the value to their clients, Twitter is exploding. But it’s certainly not pervasive, and likely never will be. Unless your business is SM, the days of using Twitter as a direct channel to your customers hasn’t arrived yet. It is, however, still a valuable resource for the PR professional, and a great way to tap into SM, even for a novice like me.

…And like clock work, as I finish up this post, I get a tweet that sums it all up:

“What’s Twitter all about? Listening to smart voices from 360 degrees. Listen in every direction, and help where you can.” (courtesy @ikepigott)

*Tweety image courtesy of jldfineart.com

*Time Flies image courtesy of blavish.com

February 24, 2009 at 7:19 PM 17 comments

Are blogs dead? Am I too late?

As I sit down to write my first blog post, I’m reminded of a track from Pink Floyd’s The Wall: “Is There Anybody Out There?” In the song, the title words seem to echo down an empty corridor as if to say: No, no one’s out there. And if there are people out there, they’re not listening to you.

But I don’t want to start my first blog post with pessimism. I did that with my first blog, and never was able to resurrect my motivation to contribute to the conversation of the blogosphere. Nevertheless, I’ve returned. And I’m motivated (check out the About the Blog page for more).technorati

My concern isn’t my state of mind; it’s the state of the conversation. The blog indexing site Technorati released its State of the Blogosphere report for 2008 a few months ago with some pretty alarming figures. I’ll spare you the nitty-gritty, but one stat is worth repeating:

Of the 133 million blogs indexed by Technorati, 94 percent are inactive. tombstone

I’m not surprised. Heck, I’m part of the 94 percent! But with this post I’m also becoming part of the 6 percent of active bloggers. So, is the blogosphere dead? Am I too late?

Wired Magazine seems to think so. The first line Paul Boutin’s article from last October reads:

“Thinking about launching your own blog? Here’s some friendly advice: Don’t. And if you’ve already got one, pull the plug.”

Thanks for the motivation, Paul.

But Boutin isn’t alone in his claim that the blogosphere is dead, or dying (find more examples here and here). I even found posts dating back to 2005 that claim “blogs are dead.” Seems as if it’s a recurring debate.

bozoThe recent argument over the vitality of the blogosphere centers on blogs becoming mainstream. Bloggers argue that personally published blogs with “authentic voices” are being pushed to the fringe by corporate blogs and “self linking bozos.” The fact that I discovered all this by reading said authentic blogs just drips with irony.

According to some, yes. And depending on who you talk to, it’s a death sentence.Though most agree that blogging itself won’t ever die despite the blogosphere being watered down with  concocted corporate blogs, it’s the other half of the equation that is disappearing: READERS!

Even Robert Scoble, longtime tech evangelist for Microsoft and famous blogger, said he noticed a trend of declining readers in late 2007. The Scobleizer, along with many others, points his finger at social networking sites for stealing the blog audience.

Which brings me back to why I’m entering the blogosphere.

As a PR student and member of “Generation Y,” I’ve been hesitant about expanding my SM presence from the comforts of Facebook. And frankly, I didn’t really see any reason to. I treat Facebook mainly as a “pull” medium, taking in only the information I want, rarely posting content myself.

A blog on the other hand, functions almost entirely as a “push” medium, requiring the blogger to invest time and energy to share thoughts and insights based on what he/she wants to add to the conversation.

twitterIf it hadn’t been for my adventures with the micro-blogging site, Twitter, I would have never found a use for regularly producing content. Though I admit that my “tweets” are about a 50/50 ratio of substance to rubbish, I’m part of the conversation (follow me to find out).

And that’s what blogging is about: joining the conversation. I just hope the conversation isn’t over. I hope somebody’s out there. Listening.

February 16, 2009 at 6:24 PM 7 comments


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