Can Social Media Participation Replace Your Blog?

Recently, some folks have announced that they were replacing their blogs with social media participation. Is this a good idea for freelance writers? Can social media replace your blog?

Chris Brogan shared this excellent post on the topic and while Chris makes many good points, I’d like to address the topic specifically from a writer’s point of view. If you have a writing blog, you’ll probably want to chip in with your own opinion on the matter at the end of this post. :)

In my opinion, if you’re a freelance writer and you’re thinking of giving up your blog my response to you is, “Are you crazy?”

Okay, maybe that’s a little strong, but you get the point. Basically, I believe that freelance writers need to have a blog. Of course, other freelancers can benefit too–but for writers, I really think that a blog is a necessity.

As Chris rightly pointed out in his post on this topic, your blog is your property. A social media platform, even one as new and exciting as Google+, is not.

In case you’ve forgotten, let me briefly run through a few of the benefits of blogs for writers. Your blog can:

  • Showcase your writing. On your own blog, you can write in the style and voice you prefer. The writing on your blog will represent you in a way that edited pieces on other sites cannot.
  • Highlight your expertise. Your own blog provides you with the opportunity to show off what you know about your profession.
  • Give you a voice in your field. Every field has its controversies and debates. Writing is no exception. On your blog, you can voice your opinion on issues of interest in your field.
  • Earn money. Finally, because a blog is your own property, it can be turned into a commercial venture. You can advertise your own products there; accept advertisements from others, and more.

Now, don’t get me wrong. I do think that social media provides a great networking opportunity for freelance writers. Nearly every day I devote some time to social media-based networking. But, I would never replace my blog with a social media profile.

What about you? Do you think a blog is necessary for a freelance writer? Would you ever give up your blog for social media?

Comments

  1. says

    Hi Sharon,

    Yeah, I’ve already read a few comments on the time-crunch that Google+ is causing. For many of us, something will have to give. But, I don’t think it should be your own blog (especially if you are a writer).

  2. says

    I’m a productivity and organizing expert, speaker and blogger. I have no plans to give up my blog or to stop blogging for other companies. I believe blogging and social media dovetail nicely and to give up one completely is to miss major marketing opportunities and potentially an entirely different audience. I also have no plans to participate on Google+ just for the record.

  3. says

    You are right on point Laura and this is going to be a central theme to BlogWorld LA this year. It has always been so obvious to me and central to our mission as an event but over the last several months it has become apparent to me that many people are missing a very simple fact.

    If you are a content creator who’s product is the content you produce, you need to start thinking about your blog, podcast, internet radio show, YouTube program, etc as a “media entity”. This is your property, you should be thinking about it the same way the magazine, newspaper, TV, radio, book, movie and gaming industries think about their product.

    Far too many bloggers (that includes all of the other content creators mentioned above), do not view their content this way and they will never successfully monetize that content until they do.

    If your content is your blog, then using Google +, Facebook, blogger or any other platform like that as your sole distribution platform you are stupid.

    It can be taken away from you at any time. The terms of service can change at any time. When that happens, then what?

    If you own your blog, you own your domain, then no matter where technology goes, you have real estate that belongs to you that cannot be taken away.

    Your blog is your boat, facebook, youtube, google +, twitter etc are the ocean, you should be trying to catch the fish in the ocean and bring them onto your boat.

    That is when they have the most value to you.

  4. says

    Hi Monica,

    It’s good to see a new face here. :) For the record, I agree with you. I think that social media and blogging should work together. However, these are heads of tech companies doing this (see this post: http://www.blogworld.com/2011/07/13/prominent-tech-bloggers-point-domain-names-to-google-plus-streams/), so it’s definitely something that needs to be addressed. As for which social media platform to choose, I always recommend going where you think your potential customers are.

  5. says

    I’ve long viewed blogging as Rick sees it — a media entity. I operate several websites, with some themed to my interests including one for automotive and another for Christian topics. I neglected my Matt’s Musings blog for months, using guest writers to fill the void, but I’m back.

    In one way will I ever cede writing and editorial control to a third-party site. These sites make money off of user generated content, so why shouldn’t we profit from our own addresses?

  6. says

    Matt and Courtney, Personally I’m in favor of holding onto one’s blog. I’m not sure simply being a social media presence could ever have quite the same impact. Plus, as you pointed out Matt–if you own your blog there’s a potential for profit there (even if it’s just from selling your blog) that I can’t see happening with a social media account.

  7. says

    As of date, I seriously don’t think it is wise to trade your blog for social media participation. Ideally, you blog and send that “exceptional content” (let’s hope, right?) to your social media networks. This kills two birds with one stone.

  8. says

    Hi Andre! Thanks for chiming in with your comment. I do agree with your approach of sharing your content (and other exceptional content that you find) through social media. I think that’s the best option for most people. However, some of the folks doing this are pretty technically savvy, so it is worth thinking about.

  9. says

    These two things should actually go hand-in-hand. On one end you can express yourself and maybe spark a little discussion, on the other hand you are really connecting and sharing stuff. Put these two together and you have more viewpoints and information – not to mention more friends that share your views ;-)

  10. says

    Good points. Popularity of certain social media channels are changing. They are sometimes not (easy) accessible to public, and as you mentioned, writers have more control while blogging :)
    P.s. I myself am struggling to find time for some quality writing :/

    Thanks for sharing your thoughts. :)

  11. says

    I’ve heard this argument recently too, and I agree that there’s just no way a blog can be completely replaced for a writer! (I’m not even a writer necessarily, but blogging is a huge part of how I run my business.) I may find many people through social media and use it as my main form of quick interaction, but going to someone’s blog takes it to a ‘new level’. You get to know the writer and their work much better via a site unique to them — social media just doesn’t go the whole way!

  12. says

    Hi Khatia Caroline and Kayla!

    I agree that blogging is still important, but I don’t think everyone feels the same way. For many (whether we like it or not), I think social media is “the new blogging.”

    On the other hand, this could be good for blogging in the long run, since those who were only marginally involved in their blogs are most likely to drop out and move to social media–leaving us with the higher quality blogs.

    At least, I hope that’s what happens.

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