All posts in Blogging

  • Blog Posting Formats Best Defined by Type of Blog

    A few years ago blogger Amy Gahran introduced a series of posts about blog posting formats in which she outlined seven styles:

    1. Link-only
    2. Link blurb
    3. Brief remark
    4. List
    5. Short article
    6. Long article
    7. Series postings

    (I'll let you read her post to get more detail.) 

    Well, that was then, this is now as they say. Blog posting formats are better defined today by the type of blog than the particular style. Instead of seven, you now have three: Long-form, short-form or micro-blogging. 

    Long-form

    Bloggers have gotten quite verbose in recent years. Some posts resemble essays containing hundreds of words or more. These tend to be (hopefully) more well-researched and almost article-like in their composition. Case in point, Jeremiah Owyang's blog Web Strategist Brian Solis. (See comment from Jeremiah below.) My, that man can write! His are some of the most thoughtful compositions I've seen. (That's true of both men.)

    There is no one particular "long-form" blogging platform. Any of the traditional ones are suited to that purpose. Where the difference really evidences itself is in a newer form of blogging commonly called short-form.

    Short-form

    This style of blogging is a good fit for when more traditional (i.e. long-form) "blogging is too much and tweeting is too little," to quote Damien Basille.

    There are a number of such platforms now: Posterous, Tumblr, and a new theme Typepad is introducing to address this space, Chroma. (UPDATE: See announcement from Typepad today regarding its new Typepad Micro.)

    My short-form blog is my "everything else" blog. I try to keep this blog very topically-centric, but there are times when it's useful to post something not on topic. Short-form blogs fit the bill. (BTW, I'm going to be transitioning from Posterous to Chroma soon.) As Econsultancy suggests in this post, there are any number of ways to use this format.

    Micro-blogging

    Of course, we all know what this means: Twitter. 140 characters to share everything from links to valuable online resources to what you had for dinner to everything else in-between. (And, sharing links to resources trumps sharing what you had for dinner hands down.)

    Blogging continues to evolve. There was a time that it appeared to have lost its place in the new scheme of things, but I think now it has secured its positon as a hub for all one's social media activity…or it should be anyway…and, therefore, is still very relevant. I, for one, am glad. 

  • Business blog icon Steve Rubel quits blogging – the end of an era

    Steverubel Steve Rubel announced yesterday that he has set aside blogging in favor of lifestreaming. Steve has been blogging at the very popular Micropersuasion for years, since 2004 if memory serves me correctly.

    He's a veteran in this space whose influence has literally helped shape it. He is also someone tasked with the responsibility of looking down the path to determine what's next. In one of his last posts at Micropersuasion, he said this…

    "My job at Edelman is to remain at the cutting edge and to advise major marketers on what's next. This means I must experiment and evolve or I will die." 

    Evolve or Die

    "Evolve or die" must be the mantra for many of we "veterans." I'm talking about people like Toby Bloomberg, Denise Wakeman, Yvonne DiVita, Debbie Weil and others who, like me, have been doing this a long time, but who, if we don't watch out will get ourselves pigeon-holed in the past and outpaced by younger, more nimble personas who don't carry the baggage of years gone by. 

    Maybe I'm wrong, but blogging has been around long enough that there is an "old school" mentality. I think I'm a victim of it. Hardly a day passes when I don't look back to 2005 and think of it as the "good old days" of business blogging. 

    Truth be told, Steve's jumping ship on blogging, which he says "feels old," has shaken me about as much as the news of Michael Jackson's death. That may sound silly to you, but I've invested my life in this enterprise for the past five years, so this is a big deal. One of business blogging's icons is leaving blogging behind in favor of something new, lifestreaming. 

    (When I refer to Steve as an iconic figure, that's not hyperbole. You recall the cover story from BusinessWeek magazine in May 2005? It featured Steve.)

    The Old is New Again

    Back in the day, before social networks like Facebook and MySpace were popular and long before Twitter was on all but the most avant-garde's horizon, we "lifestreamed" on our blogs. Everything went there because that was about the only place content could go! Robert Scoble is a perfect example. He'd post mulitple times a day about all sorts of things. If you wanted to know what was going on with Scoble, you read his blog. 

    While he still maintains his blog, now there's Building43, a new project he's doing in concert with Rackspace, his new employer. It's supposed to be a mashup of video, Twitter, Friendfeed, etc. (explanation here)

    The more I think about it, I wonder if tools like Posterous and Tumblr aren't the "new" blog platforms, just better suited for today's bent toward incrementality. Could it be that the old is new again? Perhaps so, and Steve figured that out more quickly than the rest of us. 

    What Happens to Long Form Blogging?

    More than once I've referred to Brian Clark's statement about value blogging. Essentially, blogging has morphed from being the "shoot from the hip, speak from the heart," extemporaneous form of expression to something more well-researched, full length and almost article-like. Even Scoble refered to his blog as long-form.

    I still think there's a place for that. It's not going away anytime soon. Even as long as blogging has been around (more than a decade), it's still catching on. A friend of mine is even writing a "blogging 101" book. Can you believe it? A basic, how-to blog book in 2009?! Incredible as that may seem, I'd venture to guess thousands of copies will be sold. (At least my friend hopes so.)

    What Does the Future Hold for Business Blogging?

    In 2004, I asked the question on my blog, what's the future of blogging? A number of notable people chimed in to respond. One of those was Steve. Unfortunately, that particular blog has long since gone the way of the albatross and the content from that series is lost (something I chagrin to this day). 

    I wonder, though, if it's not time to ask that question again. What do you think? What does the future hold for blogging, particularly business blogs? Does Steve's move away from blogging signal a shift? Or, is there room for both lifestreaming and long-form blogging? I'd love to hear your thoughts. 

    PS: Micropersuasion is a treasure. Truly, it's a chronicle of the evolution of the Internet, the social Web and of blogging itself. I'm grateful he's leaving it live for archival purposes. 

  • It’s time for a sponsored conversations summit

    Moneyblog

    After waging a small war on pay-per-post for years, I’ve come to the conclusion that sponsored conversations, as they’re now being called, is a blogging business model that is not going away.

    Forrester seems to think so anyway, having just completed a report on the topic, reaching the conclusion that “this practice will take its place alongside public relations and advertising activities in the blogosphere.” That’s a pretty bold assertion, don’t you think?

    Rather than further marginalize myself as an idealist or blogging purist, I’ve decided to take a more pragmatic approach. That being, if you can’t beat em…might as well make sure ethical standards and best practices are encouraged. 

    How do I propose doing so? By convening a summit. 

    I outlined my proposition in a comment on Forrester analyst Jeremiah Owyang’s post. I repeat it here, hoping it will become somewhat of a rallying cry for those of us who cherish this industry and want to see its best interests protected. 

    I’ve staunchly opposed the idea of “sponsored conversations” for years. I believe that editorial and advertorial should be distant relatives, if related at all.

    I know this form of “journalism” pervades every type of media, so it’s not surprising that it has crept (or leapt) into new media as well.

    Above all, however, I’m a pragmatist and realize that, like it or not, this new business model is not going away. Given that, I believe its incumbent upon those of us who cherish the dignity of this medium to come together and create an ethical standard by which we all can abide.

    As you well know, blogger ethics been a topic of conversation for years, one that’s been met with equal shares of derision and ridicule by many.

    We’ve feigned the notion that new media is a territory that exists outside the realm of governance, one where each person does what is right in his own eyes. Given that new media is becoming more and more mainstream, that argument is archaic.

    I propose one of two tactics:

    1. A workgroup be formed sponsored by an objective third-party which does the grunt work of creating such a standard.

     or more preferably

    2. A summit be convened consisting of all the major players who would have a vested interest in the outcome.

    As president of the International Blogging and New Media Association (IBNMA), I would have great interest in offering our organization to serve the role as sponsor. I think we are ideally-suited for a number of reasons, not the least of which is our only interest is in pursuing that which is best for the social media “industry” as a whole. We take no official position on this matter, so our judgment as an organization is not swayed in either direction.

    Alternatively, I could see both IBNMA and Social Media Club serving in joint partnership, and maybe some other entities as well (Blog Council, SNCR for example.)

    I also suggest that BlogWorld and New Media Expo be the venue where such a summit takes place. A day could be set aside in advance of BWE proper.

    The bottom line: It’s time we come together and do the hard work of ensuring that transparency and authenticity, which, by many, are now considered nothing more than cliches, continue to be the chief cornerstones upon which the social media enterprise is built.

    I truly appreciate the role that Forrester has played in shedding light on this issue. Now, let’s go the next mile by convening a summit or forming a workgroup. Frankly, I prefer the former and believe that the latter would follow in due course. 

    I recognize that, like me, many of you oppose the idea of sponsored conversations. However, I think you would have to agree that the tide toward the more widespread adoption of this business model is advancing at a rate too rapidly to stop, especially considering Forrester has given it their blessing and that a number of highly respected, high-profile bloggers have endorsed it. 

    I would ask that, in the best interests of the business blogging and social media industry, you be willing to set personal differences aside and help us craft a standard that everyone can live with. 

    I am not asking you to surrender your convictions about the practice, but, rather, view it from a larger perspective, the health and welfare of the industry. 

    Of course, the alternative is to do nothing and let market forces dictate the outcome. Perhaps that is the better course of action. My concern is that we have danced around this Maypole long enough and it’s time to reach a conclusion.

    So, in summary, I’m calling for a summit of all the major players from all sides of this issue: Ted Murphy, Chris Brogan, Jeremiah Owyang or Sean CorcoranMatt Cutts, Michael Gray, John Battelle, Wendy Piersall or other blogger who is on the anti-sponsored conversations side of the equation, and anyone else who has a dog in this hunt…maybe even Jason Calacanis (OK, well, maybe not Calcanis). I suggest Blog World and New Media Expo as the venue (hold the summit the day prior).  

    What do you think? Is it time to lay this issue to rest? Should a Sponsored Conversations Summit be convened? I would appreciate your feedback either way.

    Related posts on the topic that add fuel to my fire:

    Don’t Mistake PR and Creatively Earned Editorial Links for Sponsored Conversations - Adam Singer

    Matt Cutts vs Ted Murphy on Paid Blogging and Sponsored Conversations – Searc Engine Journal

    An Open Letter to Matt Cutts – Ted Murphy

  • Maximize your marketing dollars during the recession

    Nine ways to maximize your marketing dollars during the recessionToday's news is all about the economy and how we are in the worst recession since the Great Depression. The company I serve as marketing director, Bizzuka, wanted to put a "recess" to all the negativity and discuss some ways to use the Internet as a cost-effective marketing tool, not only during difficult times, but at anytime.

    We interviewed some of the best and brightest people in marketing today, people like David Meerman Scott, Paul Gillin, Ben McConnell, Ann Handley, Todd Defren, David Alston and a host of others, gleaned their insights and created a nine-part series we've entitled, Nine Ways to Maximize Your Marketing Dollars During the Recession.
     
    Each video is only a few minutes long, yet contains a wealth of information we know you will find helpful. Take a few minutes to watch, then share the videos with your network via Twitter, Facebook, your blog or email.
     
    Click here to watch the nine ways video series.
  • Do you have a social media system?

    social media system

    A couple of weeks ago John Jantsch, the Duct Tape Marketing guy, tagged me along with a number of others in a note saying that he had written a blog post outlining what he referred to as his "intra-daily, daily, weekly and monthly social media routine or system" and suggested that we follow suit. He said he would hook them all together to create an "at this moment" guide.

    My initial reaction was, "But, John, I don't have a system!" I tend to be more or less extemporaneous, spur of the moment in my social media interactions via Facebook, Twitter and other social networks. (Obsessive might be an even more apt description.) Blogging, another part of my "routine," is often catch as catch can. Unlike John, I am decidedly not a systems-oriented thinker.

    The more I thought about it the more I realized the need to deploy such a system, if for no other reason than to find a way to better manage the flow of all this stuff and not allow it to dominate my day. Plus, John asked me to participate and I want to honor his request.

    So, what follows is my newly-ordained, shiny, brand-spanking new car smell social media system.

    (Before we get to that, allow me ask the question that is the title of this post, do you have a social media system? If so, please leave a comment briefly outlining what it is. Or, better yet, write a post of your own and leave a comment with the link.)

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