“The problem with social media is… there are more people writing it than reading it. That isn’t very social, huh?”
I laughed when I first heard it, but my friend explained:
At last count, there were some 75 million+ blogs out there, but very few of those blogs have many readers besides the writer, his mom and the family pet; and if it’s a cat, they just casually glance at it. If you care to argue that people use it as a personal journal, I’d suggest they use a more elegant and simpler technology, a moleskine notebook and a pen.
In fact, besides a few really popular blogs, most blogs don’t have enough readers for a pickup game of basketball. Please don’t lecture me about the long tail — I understand niche, even micro-niche. I think as marketers, though, we have bigger issues to overcome if we ever expect to see the acceptance of social media as a viable media channel.
Way too many of the blogs out there have been created because someone heard the search engines love blogs. And eventually, some low life figured they could get more traffic by grabbing garbage content from others to post and post and post. The frightening part is that Google and Technorati can’t filter out these content thieves and their sites often show up in listings so that in aggregate they deliver traffic. Both blog publishers and readers feel this pain.
Also, according to Google, of the 2 billion or so pages containing the word “blog,” only about 200,000,000 of them don’t contain the word “money” somewhere on the page.
Do you have your list of things you plan to do in the new year? Ready for a fresh start? Do you plan to lose weight, start exercising, find a better job and quit smoking? Like many people, you might sign up for the gym the first week of January; you’ll feel the burn of that first session you have with the personal trainer. You’ll thrill from the buzz and bustle of the crowds. Waiting for your next machine may whisk you back to memories of standing in airport TSA lines during the holiday travel season. You’ll return, but, unfortunately, by March the gym will be so empty that you’ll hear an echo every time you swallow. Sure you’ll keep going, because you’re different.
Blogging, like any of these resolutions takes a real commitment. Out of the 75 million plus blogs started, in April Technorati reported that 15.5 million of them were “active.” What exactly does that mean?
Technorati claims about 1.5 million new posts a day. Take a look at popular blogs like, Boing Boing, Engadget, TechCrunch, Lifehacker, Scoblelizer, Search Engine Watch, and Search Engine Land, and you’ll notice many of these are publishing 5 or more posts a day. Meanwhile others — top marketing blogs like Seth Godin, SEOmoz, Duct Tape Marketing, Search Engine Journal, Marketing Pilgrim and us at GrokDotCom — try to publish a couple of posts a day. To really feel the benefits of blogging, or any of those other resolutions, you have to do it regularly and you have to do it well. How many actual blogs do you think are doing it and not just polluting the interwebs?
- Create a list. Title it any of the following: The top 10…, a definitive guide…, 101 resources for…
- Pick a hot topic. These include: Apple, Ubuntu, Linux, Wii, Halo, Ron Paul, or choose something trendy from Google.
- Link to a whole bunch of other people’s posts.
- Voila, you have viral post.
Need an example? Just this week I saw a post on analyzing traffic and improving conversions rise through the social media networks. Not to take anything away from the effort made to create the post, but its first link is to a parked GoDaddy domain page with no content. Even still, people saw the list, didn’t read, didn’t click, but just bookmarked it. Is that the promise and purpose of social media?
Promise to create useful, updated, and unique content every day. I toast each and every one of you who make valuable contributions to this blogosphere every day. It’s hard work and I, for one, respect and appreciate it. Will you?
P.S. Happy New Year to you all.