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11 Reasons Why Blogs Still Matter

BlogSteve Rubel’s decision to pull back from blogging to focus on “lifestreaming”, Friendfeed and Twitter has captured a lot of attention given Rubel was one of the early enthusiasts about blogging – a move that helped thrust him into the high-tech spotlight and a big job with Edelman.

In the few weeks since going cold turkey, Rubel has appeared to be downright anti-blogging. His latest missive is a Friendfeed conversation: Is Blogging a Step Backward?

Here’s my take on why blogs are still important, relevant and valuable.

1. Blogs provide the platform to articulate and explore issues, trends and ideas, while providing perspective and thoughts from other sources – things that can’t be done in 140 characters or less.

2. Blogs let you provide links to multiple sources and different formats (Web sites, MP3s, PDFs, Word docs)

3. Blogs are a great way to build relationships with other people/bloggers by putting the spotlight on their thoughts and ideas

4. Blogs are a valuable “digital business card” because they give clients and potential clients a clear view of who you are and what you think.

5. Blogs are search-engine friendly, which means if people are looking for you or your area of expertise, there’s a better chance of being found.

6. Blogs are a labor of love that require time, effort and, often, brain-power. To write a good blog post, you need to think about it and have something to say. Blogs are diner; Twitter is dessert: part of the same meal and both tasty but different things consumed at different times.

7. People who are subscribers to a blog are willing to make an investment in someone else’s thoughts; people who become a friend on Twitter can make little or no investment.

8. Blogs give people the opportunity to comment on posts that capture their attention. In fact, the best part of many blog posts are the insight, perspective and passion in the comments.

9. To attract a following for a blog, you not only have to write good content but tap a variety of tools (del.icio.us, Reddit, StumbleUpon, Mixx, et al). This requires work but it’s rewarding when these efforts pay off.

10. Blogs are terrific way to indulge your passion for writing, as well as giving people an oppportunity to showcase their writing ability. Looking at the number of people who are now writing or have written books (e.g. Tara Hunt, Chris Brogan, Mitch Joel) because their blogs have attracted the attention of publishers impressed with their writing.

11. Since blogs provide a window into your thoughts and ideas, they can open doors and provide opportunities that may have never otherwise happened – be it invitations to speak, job offers, book deals, etc.

Unlike Rubel, I have no intention of stepping away from blogging. Sure, they take time and effort but the rewards – however you want to define “rewards” – are worth it. Don’t get me wrong, I’m enthusiastic about Twitter as well but I see blogs are Twitter as complementary tools rather than competing interests.

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  • http://www.phpr.co.uk Penny

    Agree – turning against blogging is lopping off a comms channel just because it isn't the latest thing. Channels are horses for courses. It's our job to put the right horse on the right courses and create links between them to generate buzz.
    I'd put Twitter higher up the menu analogy – as a taster, blogs add depth and the whole shebang is on the website. All boost online presence.

  • http://www.salesproducitivityinsider.com Nancy Bleeke

    Thanks for the insight! The "new" social media tools are great…but not a reason to totally abandon every thing else. Blogs, twitter, Facebook, etc. all need to be used within the context of a broader sales/marketing strategy to work.

  • http://www.SuiteMinute.com Peggy Duncan

    All of the above is true. Now that I've become a serious, award-winning blogger who has received opportunities solely because of my blog, I'll keep writing.

  • http://coffeenews-4u.com Johan

    I don't believe it's a question of one or the other. It's all a question of evolution. People will use what they feel comfortable with. Websites were static, blogs need time, twitter is quick, friendfeed evolving. I do what I want because I have an option. Thanks to the creators allowing me these choices. It's exciting to be experiencing accelerated evolution.

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  • http://blogan.net Brent Logan

    I believe Steve Rubel is muddying the waters — what he's doing *is* blogging. What makes it "life streaming"? Posting links, embedding objects, writing long or short posts, even posting by e-mail and having my posts propagate throughout my social media sites are all things I can do with my WordPress blog.

  • http://www.seanoakley.com Sean

    Couldn't agree more, particularly about the complimentary part. One of the biggest values of twitter, for me at least, is the new blog posts that I find through shared links.

    You just simply can't get the context and depth out of 140 characters. Blogs are a much better medium for exchanging thoughts and fully explained ideas. Then again, I don't think that's what Twitter is for, unless you're sharing links.

  • http://intensedebate.com/people/krestivo krestivo

    Hey Mark,

    Well stated argument. There'll always be a place on the Web for blogs, especially well-written ones.

  • http://intensedebate.com/people/marjae marjae

    As a reader and a follower, and not a blogger, I wholeheartedly agree with Mark. I love following people on twitter and developing a relationship there, but there is only so much they can share, or I can learn, in the space of 140 characters or less.

    Don't get me wrong: I LOVE twitter, the people there, and the links they share. It is an amazing place to form new connections, share with people, and build relationships. However, it does not in anyway replace blogging.

    Blogs are amazing. They are more extended and coherent expressions of thought. In my opinion, they are the next step in developing a relationship, as they require more of an investment on the behalf of both the reader and the writer.

    Blogging is still REALLY important.

  • http://intensedebate.com/people/cjsparno cjsparno

    Nice article. I agree with your points, and concur with Brent that what Steve is doing is still blogging. He is choosing to use a tool that works for him (and is working well for me too). Posterous can be used for Tumblr-like short posts and URL grabs, or can be used to write traditional blog entries. I currently use Posterous as my swiss army knife, composing and posting there (50% via email an 50% via bookmarklet), and letting it cross-post to my "traditional" WordPress blog as well as FriendFeed. In this way I get the best of both worlds – traditional blogging and "owning" my content on WordPress and lifestreaming. This type of article is very helpful – thanks for putting it together!

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  • http://www.sailtotrail.com Andrew MacPherson

    I can't help but sigh a little when people employ the tactic Mr. Rubel has employed. Lifestreaming replaces blogging which replaced TV which replaced magazines which replaced newspapers. Video killed the radio star. Blah. :) Nope, sorry… they're all still around. The tactic of decrying something in order to catapult one's self into a newer category is a time-tested publicity stunt. It's sensational and always gets attention.

    There's really no need to defend against such claims as they will come and go, but that doesn't make your 11 reasons any less spot on.

  • http://quillcards.com/blog/ David

    No blogs > No content > nothing on which to comment > nothing