I spied an interesting article in a recent Independent “Viewspaper” section (consumed on the iPad of course) titled “Welcome to Planet Blog: How blogging has taken over the world” that basically said we are all bloggers now.
This got me thinking – firstly is this true, and also what is the status of the “pure” bloggers who started this whole blogging thing all those years ago. My first blog dates back to around 2004.
To the first point – the Independent article asserted that even those updating their Facebook status are blogging.
I can’t really agree with this (and perhaps this is the “purist blogger” in me) because I think there are those who use Facebook and twitter but do not maintain a “blog” are not bloggers (nor would they call themselves bloggers). Feel free to wildly disagree with me in the comments section below but I would be interested to hear the views of London Calling readers.
This leads me to my second point. If we do assume that bloggers are those that actually maintain a separate blog then perhaps the rise of these “microblog” platforms such as Twitter and Facebook will mean that the status of the humble blogger might be on the rise.
Let me explain.
To those “real bloggers” that have taken the time to set up their blog, craft a name, agonise over the template and blogging platform (do I go typepad or wordpress), then choose a domain name etc I believe have earned their right to claim that they are a true blogger.
I think therefore that those of us who go through all of this, and then allocate the time to regularly update the blog (more than a tweet or a paragraph status update on Facebook), but a decent few hundred words should be treated differently.
Not treated like royalty, but those brands, agencies and PR’s looking to find “influential bloggers” should rank those with their own blog as more influential than someone who just runs a twitter feed.
A blog can and should attract a community, as shown below in this ecosystem map from the Visible Technologies platform [disclosure: I worked for them]
The point of this post is that I believe that the rise of the microblogs (and the massive numbers now using them) means that fewer “normal people” are choosing to start their own blog, meaning that the “real bloggers” amongst us are becoming more influential in the eyes of many companies.
This potentially makes it easier to find bloggers that might be interested in hearing about a new product or service, however companies must understand how to approach and “recruit” bloggers. Most of us do it for love, it is our hobby and passion. On one hand it is flattering to have a well known brand (possibly one of our favourite brands) call us and admit they read our blog and want to engage with us.
On the other hand, some PRs take advantage of this and simply put us on a list of those to spam with press releases (in effect treating us as journalists who get paid to sift through press releases). I once received a 10MB PDF file about some new product, with an accompanying email pleading that I publish it. I didn’t.
Perhaps if more PR’s were like Stephen Waddington from Speed Communications who actually run their own blogs then they would realise how best to connect with bloggers by being one, and also why bloggers are potentially more important that a loud tweeter.
By the way, I also tweet @andrewgrill