Steve 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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