With the relatively recent popularity of “lifecasting” applications, there’s been a lot of discussion in the Blog community lately about the future of the “traditional” blog medium. Many argue that blogging has lost it’s social roots and with the popularity of applications such as Twitter and Plurk, the medium may be well on it’s way to being obsolete. Below are a few notes on my position of this discussion and a possible new concept I’ve been experimenting with.
A Complement, Not A Replacement
First and foremost, I think it’s rather ridiculous to think that an application such as Twitter will ever take the place of a blog. In my opinion, lifecasting applications work more like post-it notes in 140 characters or less… not a conversation like blogging is. And yes, you could have a conversation on an application like Twitter… but, have you ever tried it? It’s virtually impossible to keep up with the constant stream of information.
That being said, I do believe that lifecasting is and will be an important part of the blogging medium. Not as a replacement, but as a complement. It’s another way of connecting with your audience on a more personal level. A way to not only tell your visitor who you are, but show them who you are by allowing them to follow you throughout the day.
A New Approach
One thought I’ve been playing around with lately is the concept of using Twitter, Plurk, or other lifecasting applications as an ongoing and organic “About Us” page.
The concept is rather simple. Anyone today can start a blog or web site in a matter of minutes – for little to no cost – and claim to be an expert on any given subject. Typically, the only information a visitor has to confirm the blogger or site owner’s credentials is an about us page; Which – as most of you know – can created as easily as copy/paste. This in turn, causes an automatic distrust for new sites and bloggers.
But, what if you could provide your visitors with a stream of information that includes not only who you are, but what you do as well; Sites you visit, blog comments you make, sites you bookmark, etc. It could provide them with more information to subscribe or just hit the back button.
Support For My Theory
Case in point is how I use Twitter in conjunction with my Blog at Addoursearch.com. I actually have two twitter accounts; twitter.com/addoursearch and twitter.com/tpeterson. The addoursearch username is used strictly for blog posts and business purposes… kind of like a hybrid RSS reader. At the time of writing I only have about 17 followers on this account, even though it has much more exposure to a larger audience through the blog. On the other hand, I have over 305 followers in about the same (active) timeframe to my personal tpeterson account.
Now, both accounts are being populated with my blog posts through TwitterFeed. However, in addition to the blog posts, I also add random thoughts and observations throughout the day to my tpeterson account. What I’ve found is that not only have my personal account followers been increasing at a much faster rate, I’ve also seen a much higher repeat click-thru’s to my blog as well.
So, why is this? Why are my follower rates increasing and why are the click thru’s so high?
My theory is that people see who I am and what I do on a daily basis, therefore they tend to trust the information I’m going to provide for them on my blog.
Now, since my personal Twitter account is just that… personal, I haven’t actually implemented this theory into practice on the blog. Giving hundreds, if not thousands of people access to my daily life can be a double edge sword. Not only personally, but professionally as well.
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