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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.

Quiz Result: I’m a Twitter bad ass!

Not that wasn’t aware of this, but now it’s official: I’m Twitter bad ass, says SEM-Group.net’s Which type of Twitter user are you? quiz I found via SEOSmarty:

Learn Which Type of Twitter User You Are

datadirt’s Result: Twitter Bad Ass
You Tweet like a bluejay on crack! You spend hours upon hours each day/week
finding quality content and relevant news to tweet to your followers. You have a reputation for tweeting quality content and along with this comes a small cult
following that thanks you. Excellent job you “Twitter bad ass”!

Twitter bad ass

Quiz School Take this quiz & get your result

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Interview: Loïc Le Meur on Seesmic and Twitter

During the World Blogging Forum 2009 us participants where quite busy, even during the breaks – so I interviewed French web-shooting star Loïc Le Meur, who left Baguette et Bourdeaux behind and moved to Silicon Valley, in the bus, on the way to the conference.

Loïc Le Meur was Excecutive Vice President of Europa, Africa and the Middle East for SixApart, the inventors of Movable Type. Before he took this job, Loïc had already gathered reputation as a “notorious serial-founder” in France, having successfully sold two of his previous start-ups (RapidSite webhosting and Ublog blog-hosting). These success stories definitely proved helpful in the process of raising investor money for Seesmic. 13 investors, among them TechCrunch’s Michael Arrington and AOL co-founder Steve Case, handed Loïc Le Meur 6 million dollars to establish Seesmic as the prime service for “video-twittering”. But when user growth stagnated in a pretty early stage, Loïc decided to change the strategy and threw the moving images over-board. Since the beginning of 2009, Seesmic is focussing on Twitter Clients. Currently the company offers two free producs: Seesmic Desktop is a windows client software (comparable to Tweetdeck), and Seesmic web offers a browser-based Twitter inbox. Enjoy the interview!

[vimeo]http://vimeo.com/7865227[/vimeo] Read more

Video-Interview: Guy Kawasaki on the state of social media

Last week, Guy Kawasaki visited Vienna to give a keynote lecture about innovation and the art of the start. I was the lucky blogger who got the chance to interview Guy – and I enjoyed the interview a lot. Guy has always been a major influence for me, his ideas have inspired me for years. We talked about his impressive biography, his Twitter strategy (Guy has more than 160k Followers) and his current project Alltop.com. The complete interview is 33 minutes long – I split it into five topical parts for your viewing pleasure. I also edited a full version, so if you prefer to watch one clip, navigate to the end of this posting.

Part 1: Guy Kawasaki’s Bio and his e-mail inbox

His succesful career at Apple where he worked as a tech evangelist made Guy Kawasaki very famous. Few know though that he started his career in the jewelry business. In the first part of the interview, Guy talks about his biography and he explains how a web celebrity like him deals with tons of e-mails every day. Hint: purge everything that’s older than 3 weeks!

[vimeo]http://vimeo.com/6538754[/vimeo]

Part 2: Guy’s Twitter strategy

On Twitter, Guy has more than 160.000 followers. In the second part of the interview he explains his micro-blogging strategy in-depth. For Guy, Twitter is one of the best marketing channels, and he is putting a lot effort into offering lots of content to create a vivid environment for his marketing messages.

[vimeo]http://vimeo.com/6540038[/vimeo]

Part 3: Guy Kawasaki about Facebook, Social Traffic and Online Reputation Management

Guy told me that he honestly doesn’t understand Facebook – in his opinion, it’s a place to “pull” people as opposed to Twitter which acts as a “Push” media. In this part we talk about the benefits of social traffic and the two-sided coin called online reputation management: Don’t be afraid, use Facebook to create the image that helps your career!

[vimeo]http://vimeo.com/6540300[/vimeo]

Part 4: Guy Kawasaki about Alltop

Alltop.com currently is Guy’s main project: the RSS site aggregates the most popular feeds on nearly 2000 topics. The site is not meant to serve geeks, but appeals to the mainstream user – Guy explains the concept and also has got a few tricks to offer for power-users.

[vimeo]http://vimeo.com/6544551[/vimeo]

Part 5: Guy Kawasaki about blogging and entrepreneurship

In the last part of our talk Guy explains his thoughts about blogging and tells the true story of how he left apple and became an entrepreneur.

[vimeo]http://vimeo.com/6544974[/vimeo]

Full interview: Guy Kawasaki on the state of social media

This is the full cut – same content, but edited into one video. If you prefer to watch our whole talk in one video, just go with this clip:

[vimeo]http://vimeo.com/6545325[/vimeo]

What do you think?

Do you agree with Guy? What is your opinion about the future of Facebook and Twitter? Have you tried Alltop? I’m curious about your comments!

Guy Kawasaki: Interview Teaser

As you already know I interviewed Guy Kawasaki last week while he was in Vienna to give a keynote about the Art of Innovation. Those who know me well were able to predict my excitement! To make a long story short: Since I started blogging a couple of years ago, three web experts (and celebs :mrgreen:) constantly turned up on my radar, and I learned a lot from them. Let me explain my excitement in detail: Trust, every web 2.0 evangelist knows that, does not evolve as the result of a single action. Trust is an emotional state which is developed and fostered over time. And when you’re a blogger, you’re used to scanning gazillions of RSS feeds – it takes a while to figure out the truly important ones. There are three blogs (or RSS) feeds that I don’t just scan, but study carefully, because they gave me so much inspiration and so many ideas again and again: Seth Godin, Jeremy Shoemaker and – yes, you guessed it right – Guy Kawasaki.

So I was extremely happy when I got the chance (thx to Zmary from BusinessKitchen and Gerhard Laga from WKO) to sit down with Guy at Vienna’s famous coffee shop Café Sperl and ask him a couple of questions about his career and his thoughts on the current state of social media. I’ve edited the interview this weekend and will publish it on Tuesday (2009-09-15) – here’s a teaser – keep coming back on Tuesday for the full package (including some brilliant Twitter strategy thoughts!):

[vimeo]http://vimeo.com/6550367[/vimeo] 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:

braunsberg-sunset

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

Epic fail: Why is twitter walling the reply-garden?

Today’s Twitter update was not a minor bug fixing issue: the reply-policy has been completely revamped, and most twitter users are not too about the fact that from now on users no longer see public replies sent by friends to people thy themselves are not following. This is how ReadWriteWeb puts it – and after reading 4 Pages of heated discussion on this post, I’m still not sure what the new policy *really* means.

And that is the fault of the official explanation on Twitter’s corporate blog which is quite short and leaves some questions open. The first paragraph seems like a good explanation:

We’ve updated the Notices section of Settings to better reflect how folks are using Twitter regarding replies. Based on usage patterns and feedback, we’ve learned most people want to see when someone they follow replies to another person they follow—it’s a good way to stay in the loop. However, receiving one-sided fragments via replies sent to folks you don’t follow in your timeline is undesirable. Today’s update removes this undesirable and confusing option.

But later today Biz Stone updated the text with a second paragraph which kind of nullifies the message of the first:

Spotting new folks in tweets is an interesting way to check out new profiles and find new people to follow. Despite this update, you’ll still see mentions or references linking to people you don’t follow. For example, you’ll continue to see, “Ev meeting with @biz about work stuff” even if you don’t follow @biz. We’ll be introducing better ways to discover and follow interesting accounts as we release more features in this space.

This is the whole blog-posting by the way – and it seems to imply that the “reply”-status of a tweet solely depends on the position of the @username either in the beginning or somewhere else in the message. This doesn’t make a lot of sense. Before today’s update users had to chose the reply-behavior via a drop-down box in their settings/notices section. This dropdown has vanished without a trace. And frankly I do have no idea about Twitter’s motivation for cutting us off from third party replies, which are one of the best ways to discover new users. Naturally, you’re much more inclined to be interested in new people your friends talk to, but Twitter takes all this away. So please stop walling the garden – we want our old reply-policy back. Or, as tet3 puts in on Twitter’s public support page:

Removing configuration options which substantial numbers of users used, rather than educating users is lazy, stupid, and insulting. Twitter is a great service, and it’s where the people are, but boy, does the management know how to screw good stuff up.

The Twitter Auto-Follow accounts list…

The Twitter Auto-Follow List …is deprecated. When I started this project a couple of months ago, Twitter was in its early stages and far from being as spam-flooded as now. While the system worked perfectly for a couple of month, at some points more and more users began turning off the auto-follow feature as an increasing number of spam accounts became more and more annoying. Keeping in mind the current state of Twitter, such an auto-follow list doesn’t make sense any more, so I decided to remove the list.

But the increasing success of Twitter did not only show us the downsides of tweet-spam but also produced a couple of very interesting mash-ups. In the Last weeks I found out that TweetLater Pro’s brand-new “FriendFinder” feature and Pretty Link Pro’s Pretty-Bar are the two most efficient strategies if you want to increase your followers with targetted micro-bloggers and leave spammers and feed-accounts out in the cold. Take a look, TweetLater, an online-mash-up service as well as Pretty Link, a WordPress plugin for using your own domain as a URL-shortener, are available in free trial versions:

tweetlater-250x250prettylink-250x250

For historical reasons…

…I’ve left the old text online. Thanks for visiting – I’ll keep a sharp eye on our favorite micro-blogging service and I will keep you updated about my experiences (by now I run one of the largest European accounts with more than 30k followers. Feel free to follow me; I don’t auto-follow any more, but I take a short look at the timelist of all new contacts and follow back everybody who has something interesting to say:

twitter.com/datadirt

Like all web 2.0 services, twitter works best on a give-take (reciprocal) basis. That’s why I am starting this list which will help you to build a lot more twitter followers much faster than you usually could, and it’s a great way to promote your own account, too! There are a couple of services out there that offer an auto-follow option meaning that you automatically follow every new user who follows you. This is a list of such accounts – which basically means that all you have to do is follow those guys and you are sure to increase your twitter-followership very fast, which is extremely useful if you start new accounts. Update: I have a done a major update today (2009-04-26) and split the list into three sublists: English, German and other accounts. This will make the list a lot more usable as it keeps growing and growing. Also, I’ve added a mini-FAQ: please read and save you and me some time.

To make targeted following a little easier, I added a couple of additional info. Every entry consists of a link to the twitter account, three tags that specify the general topical field of the account and finally and optional language entry which only applies to twitterers who are not tweeting in English. Being part of this list of course means that you will gain many followers yourself – the longer this list, the greater the gain for all tweet-geeks involved.

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