Hugh McLeod writes:
So thats why I have a blog, I suppose. I like the control. I write something, I post it, it gets read, hopefully good things happen as a result, somewhere on this small blue planet of ours. Unlike a book or a movie or a TV commercial, theres no waiting around for somebody else to greenlight it. The only light is the greenlight.
I guess my point is, if youre one of these people considering giving up on blogging in exchange for paying more attention to Facebook, Twitter, YouTube and MySpace, or whatever they throw at us mere mortals, bear in mind you are giving up on something rather unique and wonderful.
Hughs onto something with this. I chatted with an ex-blogger recently who lamented that he ended his blog 12 months ago to spend more time exploring social networking. His words still ring in my ears (paraphrased):
I was offered a job through my blog. I have 9000 friends at facebook and myspace. I used to know most of my readers by name and knew that they all knew mine - even though there were only 200 a day. I know a lot more people see my profile on facebook - but most of them just are hunting for friend bait. I used to spend hours writing things that meant something on my blog. I now spend hours updating people on the lattes I drink and people I meet on Twitter. I had a brand of my own on and on my own property on my blog. I now have a brand on someone elses property.
His ultimate reflection was to wonder what he could have achieved if hed invested the amount of time and energy into this blog as the time and energy he invested into his social networking.
My own opinion with social networks is that theyre not all bad (and you dont need to choose between blogging and social media) - but that I see them as a secondary and supportive strategy to support my primary activities - those being my blogs. Social networks have been useful as straws in the overall nest of my brand.
Social networks (as well as other social media and web 2.0 sites) have the ability to reinforce your brand, drive traffic, introduce you to new audiences and open up new networks - but in my own business the primary vehicle that I use at present to drive forward what I do remains my blog.
Further Reading - Blog Bloke wrote on a similar topic a few days back. I dont know that social networking will die - as he does - but rather think well see it gradually integrate more with blogging and hopefully see the pendulum swing back to a more balanced view of these types of sites.