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 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.

New on datadirt: Rate reader comments

Many Facebook users have wished for a dislike-button. But the biggest social network on the planet obviously doesn’t want to start click-fights for popularity: “If you love something, like it – if you don’t let it go”. I’ll try a different approach and offer you the full binary options aka the two basic emotions: I encourage all readers to use the new “thumbs up” and “thumbs down” symbols below every single comment to express their opinion:

Comment Rating

Read more

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:

Read more

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, might come in handy. Read more

datadirt Geek Supplies: Background-Template for formspring is getting gold: hype-searching geeks are moving on, and these days their favorite URL is it’s a really simple q-and-a platform – kind of like Twitter, but without the 140 character limit. The service lacks a lot features, it’s still in a pretty early stage, which didn’t keep me from registering though:

formspring.meThe setup just takes a minute: like on Twitter, there’s the avatar pic, the homepage URL, a short description and that’s it. When it comes to eye candy, offers a couple of templates, but the more brand-aware user can also upload their own background pic – now in 2 minutes, because I’ve compiled a Photoshop-template that speeds up the process of creating a custom formspring template a lot. Read more

Weekly Blogistan Round-Up no. 26/2009

“Welcome to the world of tomorrow!” No, that’s not right. Let me try again: “Welcome to the world of the last seven days!” That sounds better! There’s a lot to show-and-tell, so without any further ado, let’s jump straight into last week’s social media news.

The Future of Facebook

There’s been a lot of talk about Facebook’s future last week. Regular Geek views the new multiQuery API plus the profile search as two important steps in opening the walled garden:

There is a very strong feeling from developers that a closed system like Facebook cannot succeed. While I tend to agree that a completely closed system will have difficulties, Facebook has slowly opened up little by little to a decently open system. They still have some work to do before they become as open as Twitter, but the foundation has been started.

And Copyblogger, even goes a step further in explaining “How Facebook kills SEO”:

But the rise of Facebook creates a growing segment of the web that’s completely invisible to search engines – most of which, Facebook blocks – and can be seen only by logged-in Facebook users. So as Facebook becomes ever larger, and keeps more users inside its walled garden, your web site will need to appear in Facebook’s feeds and searches or you will miss out on an important source of web traffic.

ReadWriteWeb looks even further into the future. My guess is that scenario 4, “distributed social networking”, has a huge potential, and Google wave might give this a huge boost:

The next step after Facebook may be no social network in particular at all – it may be social networking as a protocol. A set of standards that let you message, share with and travel to any social network you choose. Suddenly all the social networks have to improve because they are competing on quality of service, over customers that have free will and are able to leave at any time.

From blogging to lifestreaming?

Blogging is dead – that’s what they’ve been saying for a couple of years now. But is lifestreaming here to stay? Of course a social media feed is a welcome guest on many sidebars, and the time budgets are indeed shifting:

It seems as if blogging is becoming old hat, or at least evolving into something smaller, faster, and more portable. I’m with Louis Gray, I’m not going to give up my blog, instead, I think of it as the hub of content, and the rest of the information I aggregate (notice the Twitter bar up top and the Friendfeed integration below). To me, joining the conversation is certainly important, but it doesn’t mean the hub (or corporate website) goes away.

19 Twitter apps compared

Mashable compares 19 twitter clients, from pro-dream-machine to keep-it-simple:

Now that Twitter is older than a toddler, you have a variety to choose from. From apps for groups, Mac and PC specific clients, and apps that let you do a whole lot more than tweet, you can use this guide to help you find the desktop client that’s right for you.

And just in case you don’t know what to do with these clients, take a look at his Mashable posting on twitter strategy..

The matrix tie-knot

I found Henry’s video on Lifehacker – this one should make many Matrix fans quite happy:

If you’re a very sharp-eyed fan of Matrix movie trilogy, you’ll recognize the knot captured below as a rare specimen sported by “The Merovingian.” The knot itself didn’t originate with the movie, and isn’t rightfully named “The Merovingian Knot,” but the Ediety Knot. Still, it’s nearly impossible to find any reference to it independent of the movie, so let’s just keep the Wachowski-an etymology for now.


It took me a couple of tries and my knot is still not perfectly symmetric – but I must say: great video-tutorial!

The cost, the pay-off, the quickie

The Cost (and Payoff) of Investing in Social Media sure is an impressive title. So there’s no need for actual arguments, especially when the introduction acts as a series of climaxes:

But is social media right for your business? Could it be a free substitute for a traditional (read: expensive) advertising plan? How much time should be spent in the care and feeding of all those profiles? The answers may surprise you.

It sure did not surprise me – actually, I’d have guessed that the answer would be “maybe”. But one thing I do know for sure: SM strategy (read: social media. don’t read: Sado-Maso) is not a series of quickies and requires careful analysis and planning. So this is probably one of the dumbest quotes I’ve read in a while:

Time is money, but Weathers says it’s all about how you manage it. “Previously wasted down time like sitting in taxis for 20 minutes or standing in a bank line for 10 minutes is now spent on my mobile phone, bouncing between Twitter and Facebook. It’s getting easier and easier, and for branding an entrepreneur, I think it’s golden.”

While writing the occasional tweet on your way to the airport or answering Facebook messages via Smartphone-client is a great time-killer for geeks, this is not what social media marketing is about.

btw: bad, bad! Using a javascript that dangles with the contents of the clipboard when copy-pasting is just… not a good thing.

Most WordPress Themes suck!

And it’s Blair Williams who claims that – author of the mighty and highly acclaimed Pretty Links for WordPress. Now we all know that good looks are sometimes sufficient for a night of fun, but if you’re thinking about a long-term relationship, there are plenty not-so-visible factor to be considered: in the case of a WordPress template comment formatting, landing pages and many more are among these. In his post, Blair outlines the 10 most common issues with WordPress templates – definitely worth a look if you’re thinking about switching!

I’ll think a theme looks clean, beautiful and professional — then I install it, have a look under the hood and realize that it has fatal flaws.
This really makes me wonder how many people are slaving away on their websites and blogs all the while their site is dying a slow death because of a WordPress Theme that they think is fine.

Brüno comin’ up

It’s been a while since Sacha Baron Cohen shocked the world as Kastachstan reporter Borat. In his new movie he portrays a gay Austrian fashion journalist – I’m so looking forward to see this film – starting on 10th of July. The trailer is *very* promising:

Pic of the week

Man’s Best Friend is the title of zedzap’s bw-shot – very nice pic, no HDR this time :mrgreen:


Video of the Week

This movie has got it all: action, car stunts, daring love scenes… unlike the director of the latest Bond movie, Asim Varol did a great job:

And that’s it – see you again next week! Thanks for you whuffies and never forget: comments and feedback make blog authors happy :mrgreen:

Input for weekly round-upGot any news you’d like to read about in my weekly round-up of current blogosphere events?
Don’t hesitate to contact me! Of course I’ll include a backlink to your original story.

So don’t hesitate – just click here for the contact form and give me an update on your issues: Give me input!.

Facebook kicks st00pid numbers, allows unique names

But if you actually want to secure your unique name, you gotta be quick, because:

Starting at 12:01 a.m. EDT on Saturday, June 13, you’ll be able to choose a username on a first-come, first-serve basis for your profile and the Facebook Pages that you administer by visiting You’ll also see a notice on your home page with instructions for obtaining your username at that time.

That’s what the official blog says – and what’s even more important: once you chose your unique username, it’s here to stay – no change of mind later on. And it’s first come, first serve – so be quick! Read more

Weekly Blogistan Round-Up no. 21/2009

This weekly round-up comes with a free day of delay, as I was pretty business last night taking pictures of the sunset from Braunsberg. Riding my bike home I had to be very careful since a nightly meeting of a rabbit and a motorcycle is usually a very unpleasant experience for both sides. I haven’t digi developped all pics yet, but this one turned out quite nicely:


So back to blogging business – what a week! We now finally know that there actually *are* differences when it comes to the two sexes using social media. Read more

Weekly Blogistan Round-Up no. 02/2009

tweetbacksNothing like listening to old-school dubstep mixes and surfing the net on a lazy Sunday afternoon – even though I have to admit that turning up the music is kind of my only option right now, since the new Samsung LCD screen I bought yesterday experiences some kind of identity crisis, confusing itself with some kind of alien sound-device by producing a constant annoying noise. But enough complaining, let’s turn our heads and look back on the 7 deadly sins of online-marketing compiled by Shoemoney.

Include the twitter juice!

Wouldn’t it be nice if there was a way to include tweets about your postings directly into the comment thread? tweetbacks by Smashing Magazine does just that:

This plug-in imports tweets about your posts as comments. You can display them in between the other comments on your blog, or display them separately.

The implementation requires a bit of template-fiddling, but the explanations outlines the necessary changes very well.

One for the Lohas

“My paper shredder cuts 100 sheets per minute!” “Mine only cuts 0,02 sheets per minute, but it’s hamster powered!” This fictional dialogue could soon become office reality, as London design consultant Tom Ballhatchet invented the prototype of a “Hamster Powered Paper Shredder”: it takes the little fellow about three quarters of an hour to tear one DIN A4 sheet to pieces, which then become his bedding – the Lauging Squid knows more.

Mind the Tweet?

In the last week, Twitter’s security loopholes have been discussed everywhere: tweeters are used to performance problems (“fail-whale”), but the recent hacks of popular accounts, among them Britney Spears and Barack Obama, created awareness for the basic problem: there is no Twitter API, most 3rd party mash-ups require you to gladly hand over your login to some total stranger. Nick O’Neill posted some interesting thoughts on

Why would developers build for a platform that has only a few million users when they can build identical tools for over 140 or 150 million users? Yes, Facebook can keep the statuses private, and all comment replies as well and theyll continue their phenomenal growth rate. They clearly dont have the development resources though to build tools around their status updates internally. If Facebook opened up statuses tomorrow, Twitter would essentially become a ghost town.

Video of the week: The 3 Rules of the Internet

A song is much easier to remember than a simple text – even heralds in medieval times were aware of that fact. And the same applies to this beautiful beautiful song by Jonathan Mann: “The internet is a less than physical space, containing a multitude of opinions on a wide variety of subjects… written by mostly assholes.” [via monochrom]

So that’s about it for this week – the New Year’s Eve aftermath has worn off (hopefully) and the blogosphere is buzzing again. Let’s see what 2k9 has in store – have a great Sunday, see you next week.

Input for weekly round-up

Got some news?

Got any news you’d like to read about in my weekly round-up of current blogosphere events?
Don’t hesitate to contact me! Of course I’ll include a backlink to your original story.

So don’t hesitate – just click here for the contact form and give me an update on your issues: Give me input!.

Weekly Blogistan Round-Up no. 49/2008

the new AkiraIt’s been a week full of surprises: Pownce closed pretty unexpectedly, while Twitter is still growing at an amazing rate. And a new trend finally has been turned into an API, or rather two APIs: Google as well as Facebook try to decentralize social networking and at the same time establish their own platforms as the central social hub. I am really looking forward to buddypress – in my opinion, “hosted” services are fine as additional traffic streams, but no online professional should put his main assets into third-party hands.

Google friend connect is opening

Last week, Google started the public beta phase for its new service friend connect: Basically, we’re talking about a social API here: there’s a unified login via Big G and Open ID. The implementation is simple, there’s a couple of ready-made widgets, but actually it’s all about the community now, who is expected to build their own apps. Is this going to be a threat for Facebook? The future will show.

…and Facebook launches Connect

The new service is FB’s version of a portable single-sign on. While OpenID is great in theory, I totally agree with Dan:

Truth be told, Im a big fan of Facebook, and could easily see them getting this one just right. And apparently, Im not the only one. In a recent press release, Facebook states that,

“two out of three new registrations at participating sites were generated through Facebook Connect during the testing phase.”

66%! Wow! And the sticky sweet Facebook goodness doesnt stop at the registration page.

“users who logged in using Facebook Connect were 50 percent more likely to participate socially on a website than non-Facebook Connect users once logged in.”

Of course, a grand don’t come for free: he who bestows upon his website the powers of FB, grants them sole access to all the social data gathered. So the standard blog-commenting system without registration is here to stay for another while.

More Facebook news: embeddable videos

Embedding videos is not a big deal anymore – every major site offers this function. But Facebook takes the game to the next level by introducing friends-only embeddable videos, and the quality has improved as well:

The quality will be bumped up to 720p, which is technically the low end of HD. Coincidentally (or not), YouTube turned on an HD-quality option on Friday. […] The key change, though, is that the videos will now be embeddable on other sites. […] Just as on Facebook, you can determine exactly who can see any video you upload. Those privacy settings will be maintained across the Web.

Win tickets for Elite Retreat

There’s no doubt that Elite Retreat is a high-profile conference, and it’s always sold out quite quickly. And the tickets are not too cheap either, but here comes the good news: The friendly guys from Pepperjam are giving away not only free tickets, but also gives away hotel room and a free flight. To be eligible for the freebies, you’ll have to work hard though, as the rules are all about affiliate performance. [via Shoemoney]

Video of the week: A Chain Animation

1993 45 media artists did a chain-animation – most of them were using an Amiga. Max has uploaded this 21-minutes clip – looks pretty amazing:


Also recommended: Akira remodeled. Have you ever wondered, what the manga classic Akira would look life, if it had been produced for an American audience? Laughing Squid knows!

And that’s it for the week – have a great Sunday, enjoy your trips to the blogosphere. See you next week! And btw: don’t forget to clean your screen :mrgreen:

Input for weekly round-upGot any news you’d like to read about in my weekly round-up of current blogosphere events?
Don’t hesitate to contact me! Of course I’ll include a backlink to your original story.

So don’t hesitate – just click here for the contact form and give me an update on your issues: Give me input!.