I’ve had a couple debates with people on Twitter about the apparently declining value of blogs and RSS in the face of Twitter’s growth and yet what I see is a departure from the principles and values that underpinned the social media revolution which began almost a decade ago with the introduction of this new medium called “weblogs”, or “blogs”. Despite being an opportunity for more intimate personal interaction, many businesses’ Twitter accounts are maintained by marketing agencies and where those businesses have blogs, their blogs tend to be written by their advisors rather than by someone actually at the coal-face, so to speak.
This trend is more of a return to the command-and-control style interaction that customers rebelled against more than a decade ago and which prompted the famous statement from the Cluetrain Manifesto:
Markets are conversations
Di’s blog is a reminder about some of the values that seem to have been forgotten in modern marketing initiatives on the social Web. It is also a reminder of how valuable and relevant “old fashioned” tools like blogs and RSS are, even as Twitter continues to grow and prominent social media luminaries speculate about RSS’ demise and its replacement by Twitter as a medium for content delivery.
I’ve been chatting to Di about her blog and two things piqued my interest: she mentioned that interest in her blog had picked up noticeably when she started sharing news about her personal life and her family and also that her blog has attracted over 1 000 unique visitors since 1 January 2010 (about 2 days ago). That may not seem like a lot of traffic to some bloggers but consider that the blog launched in December 2008 and is focused on scrapbooking. Di told me that her readers tend to be mothers and grandmothers, not exactly the demographic you would expect to be heavily involved in blogging and online media. Just the same, these scrapbooking women are precisely the sort of niche market books have been written about.
These women are interested, engaged and truly passionate about scrapbooking. Actually, they are passionate about memories and family and when Di shares family and personal stories and experiences she becomes a person her customers can identify with and relate to on a very personal level. This dynamic shouldn’t be new to you if you’ve been involved in social marketing but it does appear to be a dynamic many marketers have forgotten in the race to get their clients on to the social Web. It is also a reminder that blogs and RSS are still relevant to the majority of Internet users and, in all likelihood, your customers too.
There is far too much focus on Twitter and talk about Twitter as the new multi-purpose medium but it still a fairly limited technology, despite its utility. It is really one tool in a toolkit that still includes blogs and RSS. As Di pointed out to me when we chatted briefly about Twitter:
Yeah except you cannot display a layout on Twitter
I realise my insistence that blogs and RSS are still relevant and valuable media on the social Web makes me sound a little old fashioned by Web standards. At the same time too much focus on one or other medium is just misguided. Twitter is a powerful tool and so are blogs, Facebook pages, RSS feeds and even email. I often wonder if all the hype about Twitter has resulted in a complete lack of perspective.
Legacy4Life’s success is due largely to Di’s authenticity on her blog. She shares real experiences with her readers and they connect to her on a very personal level. This is what social media is about.