Lynne d Johnson



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11.19.09 12:26 PM

The Blogging Life: Which Comes First, the Content or the Tool?

As someone who has been blogging since 2001, I've been told I'm old school. The fact is I'm so not old school, considering that I'm facing a conundrum whereas I'm weighing the value of blogging vs the value of the life stream. Edelman's Steve Rubel dropped his blog, Micro Persuasion, earlier this year for a life stream on the Posterous platform, citing:

Blogging feels old. Publishing today is all about The Flow. Posterous, my new home, feels more like flow and where the web is going so it's time for me to do the same with my publishing, which will become daily once again!

I have to tell you. I've toyed with the idea of going straight-up flow myself at times, finding tools that do it better (whether it's being able to email or text your content in, or have direct one-to-one communication with like-minded individuals, or even have one tool to feed all of your social media spaces.) I'm almost everywhere I could possibly be, producing (or syndicating) content: I'm on Twitter, FriendFeed, Facebook, LinkedIn, Posterous, Tumblr,, and probably even more social media sharing and content services than I can even recollect.

Let's be honest, no one (and I mean no one) has the bandwidth to be that many places at once. But where you end up producing most of your content, and sharing, really depends on quite a few factors.

  1. What is it you want to share?
  2. Who is it you want to share with?
  3. Are you more interested in building a brand or building a community?
  4. Is it more important to be where your peers are, or to bring people to you?

These are just some of the questions you have to ask yourself when considering whether you'd rather dabble in one space over the other, or use one space to feed all of the others. What's your end goal?

I think I'm learning that I didn't really have an end goal. I mean, when I first started blogging it was by accident. I put up a site to showcase my credentials and writing, the next thing I knew I was blogging and connecting to a blog fam. Partially, the initial end goal was to create an online brand--a digital representation of myself and my work. The diary (or blog) was the place you'd get to learn about me, my likes, and dislikes. And then blogging for work and editing other writers blogs (and articles) became more of a focus than actually contributing to my own personal blog. It got kind of hard to be in both places at the same time. But Twitter, helped me bring back what I initially had with my online diary and connecting with my original blog fam (and somehow it helped with that branding thing too.)

Eventually, I became worried about spending too much time on twitter, and not writing enough. Not creating enough content that could add value to work that others were doing, or to sharing full, well thought-out ideas. Twitter only enables me to tell you the outline, but you never see the finished piece. And though I love my Tumblr blog to death, it's really just my own little Cool Hunting, a place to share cool and interesting things I find inspired by my passion for technology, design, fashion, gadgets, music, and food. It's the place I share what I think is cool, or at least it appeals to me in some way. It's a lifestyle blog of sorts. But the Tumblr never became the all-in-one package to replace what I could do on Twitter and what I could do with this blog/diary.

And Posterous, well that's just an experiment. The tool has great benefits that a lot of other tools don't. I can blog here from there if I want. But it's not really about the tool is it?

It's, again, about what you want to share and who you want to share it with. What are your content goals? Who do you want to share that content with? And what's the best platform for achieving that goal? Perhaps, it's not just one platform. I'm learning, that it's important for me to revisit this blog and make it lively and real again. But I need Twitter too. Twitter is my brainstorming board for what I might write here. Twitter is my connection to the world (and to friends). Twitter is my not creating content in a vacuum. FriendFeed also serves this purpose, and sometimes I wonder if I really need both. And then there's Facebook -- well, that's really just the place where friends from college and high school try to reconnect (and often, they're not always the same audience that you're trying to reach with a blog or on Twitter), so maybe you need that space too.

What comes first for you, is it the content or the tool? Or is it a combination of tools? Or, is there only one tool that helps you do it all?

posted by lynne | |


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