Do social media services kill the blog?

Answering Klout questions is sometimes difficult, as space is very limited and some topics require more in-depth discussion than the equivalent of 3 tweets – ask any regular on Quora! In most cases, I manage to stuff my collected knowledge into a couple of lines, but today Klout asked a very interesting questions that has been sitting in the back of my mind for quite a while now:

Are social media websites like Twitter and Facebook killing the blog? Why or why not?

The shortest possible answer is of course no – one letter shorter than “yes” even, and the right answer, too. So here’s the little song I wrote:

Social media has changed the blogosphere: instead of commenting, a lot of users “like” or “+1″ and the remaining discussion has moved away from the blog onto social media services. But blogs are a more important content back-bone than ever – the format evolves.

This line of reasoning requires a little elaboration: back in the early days of blogging, weblogs were primarily a means to document/store/share the websites bloggers had visited and found interesting – hence the name which stems from “logging your web journey”. In bold ignorance of the harsh reality our web fore-fathers faced, nowadays I regularly hear web-experts spread a different founding myth – one in which the first blogs were “online diaries”. No, wrong.

Online diaries appeared on the scene a little later, together with the first content-rich blogs: instead of presenting their readers with an extensive list of hyperlinks and very little additional information, the new generation of blogs would change the ratio of the two main ingredients: more content, less links. That’s when commeting became a vital part of the blogosphere and comment-rating plugins, an early form of social content structuring, became popular.

Enter social media: platforms like blogger or wordpress.com took care of the technical hassle, but is was Myspace that took the blogging phenomenon to a whole new level in terms of numbers. We’ve seen a couple of first-generation platforms go and we’ve witnessed the immense success of Facebook and Twitter’s increasing popularity among geeks.

Bloggers these days have stopped whining about the decreasing number of comments – the discussion happens elswhere, the prime content still lives on the blog. Several technical solutions allow bloggers to pull back discussions from social media platforms to their blog and/or use these platforms as distribution channels for their postings.

Facebook, Twitter, G+, Pinterest and all these other empty shells are ever-hungry beasts that call for fresh, new, entertaining and stunning content. They host pictures and videos and short status updates, but they’re far from a library of knowledge, tutorials and in-depth analysis. Social media is channel, blogs are a publishing platform – both formats co-exist and influence each other, but nobody’s killing anyone. At least not today.

How WikiLeads cannot get shut down [Cartoon]

If you’re a chef you’ve probably wondered why everybody is talking about these WikiLicks. And if you’re into online marketing, you probably wondered why you are still struggling with Facebook while the competition is already generating WikiLeads like crazy. Calm down – it’s WikiLeaks and it probably won’t ruin you. Oh, you’re a politician? In that case: be afraid. Be very afraid.

WikiLeaks Read more

World Blogging Forum Vienna 2010 – the next 10 years in digital media

On November 13th, A1 Telekom Austria and datadirt, the proud and happy author of this humble blog, invite international top bloggers and Austrian social media geeks to join the first pro-blogging conference in Vienna. The conference focuses on the future of digital media. We will discuss the impact of the internet on various aspects of our life in the next ten years: how will our jobs change? How will our personal life change? What’s the next stage of social media? The official homepage wbf2010.at will soon be online soon. The event will take place at A1 TA headquarters at Lasallestraße 9 in Vienna – we got a main hall plus various smaller conference rooms for break-out sessions, of course all equipped with stable WLAN.

Austrian bloggers and journalists are warmly welcome. There is no entrance fee; due to the capacity of the venue the spots are strictly limited though. In the next weeks, we will invite our international guests and give away all tickets via weblogs and media partners. Secure your spot now and join us: the first ten spots are available… NOW! Read more

datadirt Videopodcast: Eric Qualman’s Socialnomics

Eric Qualman is the author of “Socialnomics: How Social Media Transforms the Way We Live and Do Business”. More than 2 million viewers have seen his “Social Media Revolution” video clip. In June 2010, Eric gave a keynote presentation at Meshed conference in Vienna. After his presentation I sat down with Eric and we chatted about the changes of our media environment. Enjoy the new datadirt video podcast!

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Geeky Folks: Barcamp Vienna Gallery

Last weekend’s unconference at Microsoft in Vienna was the biggest Austrian Barcamp so far – the social media scene is growing, interest in social media platforms, new technologies and the paradigm shift in marketing has increased immensely over the last couple of months. This is not a big surprise: more and more people understand that the web 2.0 is not about a new generation of buzzwords that pollute the same old powerpoint presentations, but about a fundamental paradigm shift in the way companies communicate with their customers:

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Interview with Thomas W. Malone: Collective Intelligence, Privacy and Small Towns

In the newest issue of my video-podcast MIT Professor Thomas W. Malone talks about his reasearch on collective intelligence and the changing notion of privacy. Professor Malone is the founding director of MIT’s Center for Collective Intelligence. In 2004, he published The Future of Work, a critically acclaimed book about the impact of electronic communication on management, organizations and business. Before he started teaching at MIT, Mr. Malone was a research scientist at the legendary Xerox Palo Alto Research Center. So enjoy the podcast which contains a short introduction, the interview plus two exlusive bonus tracks :pimp:

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Concerned about your Facebook privacy?

Back in the 90ies, more than a dozen search engines fought for the user’s attention. A couple of years later (almost) only Google was left. Do we face a similar development in the field of social networking? Taking a look at the latest Facebook figures, I’m inclined to answer this question with yes. Yet their ever-growing social graphs make more and more users nervous, and even though Facebook in my opinion is doing a good job giving the user control over his content, Reclaimprivacy.org might come in handy. Read more

How to turn WordPress into a Social Network Site

WordPress offers a fascinatingly wide range of options: thanks to the power and the creativity of the open source community, the world’s most popular CMS has developed from a “blog-only” product into a multifaceted platform. Hundreds of plugins are waiting to cater almost every web publisher’s needs. These days, two new plugins take WordPress to the next level by integrated elaborate social network features. BuddyPress is now available at version 1.2 which plays along well with standard WP-installations; the previous version required WP multiuser edition. And then there’s Mingle, a new brilliant extension by Blair Williams, author of the (genius!) PrettyLink plugin.

Even though both plugins offer similar functionalities, they take a completely different approach at turning WordPress into a social network. While BuddyPress aims at running a stand-alone social network site, Mingle extends the community capabilities of nay existing blog. I installed it here on datadirt yesterday. Curious for a test-drive? Just click the new link Profile in the main menu! In the following posting I’ll explain why extending a blog with social network features is generally a smart idea. Read more

Just in case you need a Google Invite…

I got 30 more invites left. Just drop me a note and I’ll send one to the e-mail address you provided. But please don’t ask what to use your newly-won realtime comfort for. Frankly speaking, I have got no idea yet. But I said the same thing about Twitter when I registered my account there, so I’ll keep waiting for the wave frenzy to happen. What’s your opinion? Are you already surfing the wave?

foursquare.com + formspring.me = fourspring.me

I admit: this equation does indeed have more than one solution – the result could just as well have been formsquare.com. But it wasn’t. And that’s why the maximum mash-up for all geeks trying hard to keep up with the latest hype(s) enters the stage with a noisy, frightening BANG. There are many old sayings perfectly describing this delicate situation: An RSS feed in the aggregator is worth two in a web / A site and its RSS feed are soon parted & Better a big aggregator on a little domain than a little content on many sites. Can you smell where I’m getting at? Indeed: datadirt proudly presents: fourspring.me!

In case you have any questions about this new mash-up (which is so fresh and cool that even TechCrunch hasn’t mentioned it yet) there is a dedicated contact address. I made an old dream come true and got me an e-mail address which is really easy to remember. (if domain.length < 63 chars than domain = NOT):

ritchie.blogfried.pettauer@I-have-a-longer-email-address-than-you-because-size-does-matter.org

In case you want an address (as a forward to an existing mailbox), just drop me a message.