We all know why Paul Boutin wrote his disingenuous post, Twitter, Flickr, Facebook Make Blogs Look So 2004, claiming that nobody should think about starting a blog and those who have one should "pull the plug." He wants links and traffic. And he'll get them, as folks who are willing to post outrageous nonsense generally do. But on the chance that someone out there might think his advice worth listening to, here's mine: ignore him.
The ironies are so rampant. Boutin signs off claiming to be a "correspondent" for the "gossip site Valleywag." It's a blog. He's just another blogger. He's posting his advice against blogging on, you guessed it, a blog. And the blog is one of a couple of dozen blogs that make up Wired.com.
But let's put aside his blatant traffic-seeking hypocrisy and look at a couple of his arguments. The main one is that the blogosphere is so crowded with professional, big-media bloggers that newcomers or little guys can't get found.
One of our clients, Dr. Bill Ward a/k/a DR4WARD, started his blog about marketing around Super Bowl weekend this year. I just did a quick check of his traffic today and someone came from a Google search for the terms "budweiser commercial dalmation appeal emotion" (without the quotes) and Bill's blog was # 6 on the first page (click on the image to enlarge). Ahead of Budweiser's own site. Ahead of any mainstream media. In fact, six of the top seven results are identifiable as blogs reviewing the Super Bowl ads.
Want to get found quickly: Get blogging!
How about blogs that have been around longer, but still are smaller businesses focused on big topics like, say, blogging and social media, to pick a space with lots of competition?
Well, around here we recommend blogs for businesses large and small, but we also eat our own cooking. So I did a quick check for traffic to this blog today and found a couple of relevant visits. One visitor found us by searching Google for the terms "investing in social media" (without quotes) which brought up my post from last Friday, Warren Buffett's Investing (in Social Media) Advice as # 4 on the first page out of nearly 2 million results (click on the image to enlarge).
Another visitor found us by searching Google for the terms "blog versus websites" and that brought up my post from two and a half years ago, More on the Website vs. Blog debate (I know, I couldn't have scripted it better, but it's true), as # 5 on the first page out of more than 12 million results (click on the image to enlarge).
So, if you have a blog and want to keep getting found: Keep blogging!
The other main argument tossed out by Boutin is that text based content is old-fashioned or "not where the buzz is" as he puts it. He advocates using YouTube, Flickr, and Facebook(?) to easily publish audio and video content. Um, yeah, so what?
The addition of new tools is no argument for abandoning the ones you have. Those tools also make it easy to collect all that content back on your blog, where your audience can browse and get to know you. In a matter of a couple of weeks after we got Bill Ward blogging, he had his Keep Digging for Worms: The Movie video up on both YouTube and his blog. His introduction on the blog says a lot about the value of communicating to all learning styles:
Note: If you like reading ... well, keep reading. But if you're more of a visual-auditory learner, scroll down to the video version of the story ...
Boutin's last argument is especially amusing. He claims we should all be managing our business communication in 140 character tweets on Twitter (he says "as a writer [he's] onto the system's real appeal: brevity"). He tells us this, of course, in his 632 word, 3,199 character blog post. Let's see, making his argument on Twitter would have taken him at least 23 separate tweets, if it's even possible to make an argument in that disjointed way.
Now let me emphasize, I'm not discounting the value of Twitter, or YouTube, or any other social media tool, for business networking and communication. My lovely partner Yvonne DiVita is both a well-known blogger (LipSticking.com) and an avid Twitterer (@y2vonne). As of a few minutes ago, she had nearly 1,000 followers and a 98.3 grade on Twitter Grader. That placed her at # 3 among "The Twitter Elite in NY" (click on the image to enlarge).
So we certainly understand the value in selectively using a manageable array of social media as business tools. For now, and the foreseeable future, that includes blogging.
(Heck, around here we still help people publish books!)
Alright, Boutin's arguments against blogging don't hold water. But what are the arguments in favor? You can find some in the comment stream on his post. Ted Murphy has posted a well thought out response on IZEA Blog, Eight Reasons Why Blogging Will be Bigger Than Ever in 2009, and there's an interesting take from the employee-minded viewpoint on Max Gladwell, Out of Work? Need a Job? Start a Blog. This is Resume 2.0.
But I'm going to close this post by looking back at some more irony ... as an introduction to a series on why blogging is such a powerful business tool. Boutin is not the first to predict the end of blogging or advise against them as business tools. Wa-a-a-y back in April 2005, Graeme Thickins wrote an article on Darwinmag.com, Enough With the Blogging Already. His main subtitle was "Why Business and Blogs Are Like Oil and Water" and he offered 10 reasons. My series will take each of his reasons and explain why they are both fundamentally wrong and actually supply 10+ reasons why business and blogging are made for each other.
Now the final ironies:
- As far as I can tell, Darwinmag.com where the end of blogging was foretold has itself been offline since 2006. I was able to find the Thickins article only on the Internet Archive.
- And Graeme? He's blogging! And Twittering!
I did a little poking around in Graeme's About page and his Archives and he's evolved from pretty skeptical about blogging when he started his blog in November 2005 to pretty enthusiastic, inviting author and blogger David Meerman Scott to speak at a Social Media Breakfast. So in honor of Graeme's evolution and the apparently extinct Darwinmag.com, I'm going to call my series A Darwinian View of Blogs as Business Tools. Part I will examine Graeme-Apr2005's first reason for asserting that business and blogs don't mix: "Business doesn't do 'passion.'" Coming soon.