The big news during the last several months is that the blogs are dead. Now it's all about micro-blogging, and social networking. But is the blog really dead? Or is the death of blogs greatly exaggerated?
The thing about blogs, and most new internet advances, is that they goes through three stages.
- Discovery, where we discover this new found potential
- Buzz period, where it is blown out of proportions as people try to use it for everything
- Maturity, where the excess "fat" is removed, and all that is left is the stuff that really matters.
The blog is now at stage 3. We no longer need to discover what the blog can do. We all know what it is, and its value (or more importantly, how to make it valuable). And we have gone through the period where people try to use it for everything imaginable.
What's left is what the blog is really about, and that is what we are seeing now. The blogs that are dying are those who try to use the platform for something it is not really good at. But the blog itself is far from dead. In fact, it is more valuable today than ever.
The types of blogs that have died are:
- Personal diaries have moved on to Facebook, which is a much better platform for sharing what your life is about.
- All types of microblogging, either being short status updates about what you are doing, or just the quick note you want to share, has move away as well. In this case to Twitter, which is a far better at allowing you to "post short comments".
- Photoblogs have moved to Flickr. &
- Video blogs have moved on to several Podcasting channels, and dedicated video profiles like Vimeo, YouTube or Blip.tv
- Linkblogs are now being replaced by personal bookmarking channels at either Stumbleupon or Delicious.
- Event blogs have also moved on to Facebook
- Fan blogs have also moved on to Facebook
- Product showcases have partly moved on to many different platforms (depending on how it is done).
- Debates and asking questions have moved to Twitter - where I, while writing this article asked "is the blog really dead", and I got back some interesting feedback. (Thanks guys!)
The blog is dead when it comes to all of the above. It was never really good at it in the first place.
But the blog isn't dead. Far from it.
What is left is a type of blogs that has always been really effective. It is the "way for independent journalists (both professional and amateur) to write valuable content." Or when companies want to provide more personal and in-depth insight into what they are working on.
The blog is no longer a diary (that is what you do on Twitter), it is not the place to post links (that is what you do on Stumbleupon), and not the place to 'be' (that is what you do on Facebook).
How Companies should use blogs?
The company blog is actually a really good example of when and why you should use a blog. I have been advocating "company blogs" for several years, but it isn't for everything.
- If all you want to do is to 'be around' then you should create a Facebook Page.
- If you just want to tell people when you launch new products, then you should get a Twitter account.
- If you just want to showcase the latest pictures and videos you have taken, Use Flickr instead.
- If all you want is to publish your press releases, then you should forget it (nobody read those anyway).
- If you want to publish press images, use Flickr
(good example: Dell's official Flickr Page)
- If all you want is to publish when other people have posted reviews, then you should do that on either Flickr or your Facebook Page. ...Or, even better, create a Stumbleupon page, with links to all the sites.
- If you want to do product support then you should turn to Twitter.
(good example: HTC Twitter page)
- If you want to get people to feel the "life" in your company, then - again - use Twitter + Flickr
- If you want to connect to people, use Facebook, Linkedin etc.
- If you want to do case studies, turn to video and do a video podcast instead (via iTunes, YouTube, Vimeo etc.)
- If you want to make a fan page, turn to Facebook Pages
- If you want to support a cause, create a Facebook Group
- If you want to tell about your latest product, turn to one-pagers and post a link on your Twitter and Facebook accounts. And post the high-quality pictures on Flickr
- If your CEO (or key employees) wants to 'say a few words' use Twitter.
All of these are best done using other platforms that blogs. But...
- If you want to create a more in-depth look at what you are doing, use blogs.
(Good example: Microsoft IE Blog)
- If you want to give good advice about how to use your product, and how to get more out of it, use blogs. .
(Good Example: Google Docs Blog)
- If your CEO (or key employees) has something meaningful to say, providing good insights about the vision and motivation about the company, use blogs. .
(Good example: Ryan Stewart, who works for Adobe as a Rich Internet Application Evangelist)
- If you want to share your problems and happy moments while making a new product, use blogs..
(Good example: Pocket God)
- If you want to tell a story, use blogs.
(Good example: Seth Godin)
- If you want to share an idea (that requires more than 140 characters), use blogs.
- If you want to advocate a cause, use blogs (backed by a facebook group)
- If you want to share the excitement of something great you have made, use blogs
- If you want to do interviews, and you cannot use video, use blogs.
- If you want to publish articles, independently, use blogs. .
(Good example: this site)
- If you have a personal and in-depth message to share, use blogs..
(Good example: Andy Budd)
- If you want to publish news, do so in a personal way, with a personal touch, with blogs.
The blog is still the perfect place to connect with people via personal, focused, valuable and in-depth messages. But other social platforms have replaced the blog when it comes to other types of interactions.
The blog is dead when it comes to noise. The blog is dead when it comes to short messages. And, the blog is dead when it comes to sharing links.
But the blog is very much alive if you have something substantial to say.