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Blogging vs Twitter [A few Random Thoughts on the Two Mediums]

On Twitter yesterday Yaro asked me whether I like Twitter more than Blogging.

My reply was of course limited to 140 characters and as a result not overly comprehensive:

“no I like blogging more than Twitter but Twitter is fun and a useful part of the mix of what I do – both have their place”

I thought perhaps it was a topic worth expanding upon here on ProBlogger. While I’ve shifted most of my blogging about Twitter to TwiTip I thought it might be worth sharing a few of the thoughts on how I’m using Twitter here on ProBlogger.

What follows is both a more extended answer to Yaro (and others) but also a collection of thoughts on my experiences of working with Twitter over the last few months.

Blogging Remains My Primary Activity

While I tweet more often than I post to my blog – my blogs remain my primary focus and what I spend most time building.

It may not always seem like it when you look at the 20+ tweets that I produce a day on my twitter account but when you consider that a tweet takes seconds to write and a post can take hours – the blogs I run do take considerably more of my time and focus to produce.

My thinking around this is something that I’ve talked about previously in my description of how I use social media as outposts as opposed to my blog which I see as a home base.

In essence my use of twitter is something I do as a support to my blogging.

I guess the question will come at some point whether I will need to change this approach a little when my Twitter follower numbers go past my blog reader numbers. I suspect my approach won’t change at this point – however it’ll probably present some interesting challenges in working out priorities.

Blogging and Twitter have Different Strengths

Having said that blogging is my primary focus it is increasingly obvious to me that both mediums have their own strengths and that Twitter is able to achieve things that blogging can not (at least for me).

The immediacy of Twitter and the fact that it is a network that can spread word of a story, idea, question or thought quickly around the world to many thousands of people very quickly makes it unique.

For example one of the main ways that I find Twitter useful is getting quick feedback or answers to questions from a diverse group of people. While you can get similar feedback from a blog post Twitter is much faster. On the other hand a blog lends itself more to discussions among readers that are a little more considered, in depth and interactive (between those responding).

Blog are also great for more in depth posts. This post is a perfect illustration of this – when Yaro asked me his question on Twitter I had 140 characters to sum up a lot of different thoughts and experiences and ended up not really saying a lot whereas this post is able to explore the topic in depth.

While some people see the strengths of one and the weaknesses of the other as reason to choose between Blogging and Twitter – I’ve come to see the power of using both in tandem. The key is to know what you’re trying to achieve with your online presences and to understand what each medium can do to help you achieve this.

Twitter and Driving Traffic

I’ve written previously about the topic of Twitter driving traffic to a blog and each time have talked about how much traffic ProBlogger gets directly from Twitter. The figures have increased each time I’ve written on the topic as my own follower numbers grow and of late the numbers have continued to grow considerably.

My Google Analytics stats show that Twitter.com is now the 3rd largest referrer of traffic to this blog (only behind Google and Direct Traffic). This probably sounds a little more impressive than it is – overall it sends around 4% of my traffic (Google is 46% and Direct Traffic is 21%). This doesn’t count traffic arriving from Twitter applications – so the figure is probably closer to 10%.

My other two blogs illustrate that Twitter’s ability to send traffic is varied depending upon your site. TwiTip has over 16% of its traffic directly from Twitter.com and Digital Photography School gets 0.34% of its traffic from Twitter (although my DPS Twitter account has considerably less followers).

Twitter is Quick but Takes More Time to Use Well as Follower Numbers Grow

Actually tweeting on twitter is a relatively quick and easy process. I’ve used a variety of tools in my use of Twitter that have helped me manage the process really well – however as my number of followers has grown so does the amount of time needed to manage the account – at least if I want to remain interactive and engaging.

The number of @replies and DMs that one gets as follower numbers goes up also rises and there comes a point where a Twitter user needs to decide how interactive that they can be.

As I write this my follower numbers are just over 42,500 – to this point I still read all replies and DMs but it is becoming more and more challenging to do and I’m aware that I’m going to have to make some tough choices in the coming weeks and months if the number increases as it has.

The ReTweet is Powerful

The practice of ‘ReTweeting’ has really come into its own over the last 6 months. While people have always ‘re tweeted’ what others have tweeted – a lot more tools and services have risen up around the practice of late. Some see retweeting as a measure of authority of a twitter user – I’ve personally been more interested in its viral nature, particularly when your link is the one being retweeted.

If a link gets retweeted widely it can drive many many thousands of visitors to a blog post.

In the last few months we’ve seen more and more bloggers adding retweet buttons to their blogs in a similar way to how social media buttons are often added to blogs – I’ve done it on TwiTip with a button from Tweetmeme which has worked well but I suspect we’ll see more and more tools released.

Usefulness Remains the Key to Both Mediums

I can’t stress it enough – the key to both success in both mediums is to become the most useful resource that you can to those who you come into contact with online. Solve problems, meet needs, connect with people where they are at and both mediums will come into their own for you.

All in All….

All in all I’m continuing to see the fruits of investing time and effort into both Twitter and Blogging. What about you?

About Darren Rowse

Darren Rowse is the founder and editor of ProBlogger Blog Tips and Digital Photography School. Learn more about him here and connect with him on Twitter, Facebook, Google+ and LinkedIn.

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Comments

  1. Besides, Twitter is not a direct way to make money. It indirectly makes money because it directs visitors to your blog.

    Thanks,
    Nate

  2. christian says:

    Great thoughts Darren. I have been trying to find a good balance myself. Love being a blogger, but without many viewers, there is little satisfaction in helping others by what I post. In comes twitter… increased my traffic a bit with some new followers however now I find it hard to pull away from twitting and re-twitting.

  3. Well said. They complement each other. It is not or the other. For a blogger, it is imperative to be on Twitter and also on Facebook. I get fresh ideas for topics, find answers and overall, I enhance my brand by participating in Twitter.

  4. IMAO, twitter is more like a communication tool, while blogging is a media platform with real content.

  5. I absolutely agree! Both Twitter and Blogging play off of each other. Without the one, the other loses strength.

    The more I utilize Twitter, the more I realize it’s amazing marketing qualities. Sure, I enjoy connecting with friends/family, but as a blogger and Internet marketer, it’s a gold mind of possibility! Eric

  6. I think blog is still the primary source of content and Twitter is just a channel to interact with your readers/followers and drive them to your blog.

  7. @Susuh says:

    Would be interested in your solution how to deal with the growing overhead that comes along with a growing follower base. Looks currently exponential to me…

  8. Specki4is says:

    While I realise that my comments are coming from a completely different perspective to yours – I would like to say that I would find it as difficult to compare Twitter and Blogging as say oranges an apples – yes they are both fruit and yes I enjoying eating them but they are totally different taste experiences, neither is better than the other, they are just different.

    I Blog for a number of reasons, to keep in touch with friends and family, to have the occasional rant but mainly to document my attempts at writing a novel. On the other hand I Twit for fun, I can have a ‘water cooler’ moment without having to leave my desk (or my home!)

    Twittering, blogging, texting, talking, different forms of communication, all valid, all useful in their own way – viva la difference!

  9. Jake says:

    Twitter is a great tool for direct interaction with other bloggers. I think it is really interesting some of the discussions and activities that go on through twitter. I’ve been on it for about a month now and love every minute of it.

    -Jake

  10. i would have to agree with you. Great post by the way. I NEED to focus more time on blogging than “tweeting” but i feel twitter is much easier and less time consulting to me mostly cause im always out consulting and training so my “tinytwitter” on my windows mobile comes in hand (i may need an iphone soon)
    twitterholic justinrfrench

  11. LisaNewton says:

    I recently restarted my twitter account and am enjoying it, but it does need a time requirement that is sometimes difficult.

    I’ve definitely had much more success building relationships via my blog, even though it’s fairly new.

  12. Roon says:

    Twitter will never allow in depth exploration of an idea in the way that can be done on a blog. The small post length of twitter only allows for the announcement of an idea, whilst the exploration is done trhrough the combined effort of all the responses.

  13. The spontaneity and pace of Twitter when combined with tools like @Tweetdeck and having tips to effectively use it being provided by @twitip will effectively make a bloggers experience and a readers experience much more complete. Christian I think brings up a valid concern as creating a balance between these two forms of communication can indeed be a bit overwhelming and the balance of course must be dictated by each user and their own disciplines.
    Since I’m extremely new with Blogging myself and have managed to acquire a following of sorts as @MRHYPERPCS I also use Twitter as a sort of “Commitment Meter” which is to say that I’m only to happy to endorse my friends and their business blogging or otherwise, ReTweet their information and encourage people to participate in their causes. It’s just who I am and it provides a way for us as a business give a little back. Cheers Darren, enjoyed your post very much.

  14. Rahul Jadhav says:

    Even i share your thoughts. Twitter is great but i love blogging more.

  15. I love blogging more than twittering.

  16. Shep says:

    I got bored reading through your post. Think I naturally came to the conclusion that you do twitter better. But its always nice to have a space for your diary right?

  17. John Samuel says:

    I totally agree with you that Twitter can drive traffic to your blogs and also that blogs are useful for a detailed discussion and Twitter is meant for a more precise statements. I like to have a balance between Twitter and Blogging.

  18. Rohit says:

    Well,as you said both media have their own advantages.

    But, Twitter is mainly working as another traffic generator for content.Well,you have the advantage of getting quick feedback and replies but the most important use of Twitter is traffic generation.

    To add another point,you can’t make money directly on Twitter but blogs can….:)

  19. jan says:

    I love the real time immediacy of interaction in Twitter. Its usefulness is not only limited to its capacity to broaden the reach of your blog and thus to sculpt and promote your brand. It’s a rich resource as well for blog post ideas – valuable links of course are the first things you observe. It’s so out there. But you get to listen to problems, concerns, and emerging hot topics if you stop long enough to listen in on the conversations going on.

    And then you go back to your blog – somewhat renewed, bristling with new knowledge or inspiration as the case maybe. And sit down in total solitude to write your post, which is after all your first love. Well, in my case, it is.

    It’s complementary then. I’m biased in favor of blogging – after all it’s my first born. But Twitter is fast coming up in my estimation that there will come a point when it will be hard to play favorites anymore. :)

  20. Emily Geizer says:

    I’m fairly new to both blogging and twittering, but found a quick fit and success with the blog that I am not finding with Twitter. I ask questions. No one answers. Still trying to grasp it and am finding your posts (both on Problogger and Twitip) to be very, very helpful! You da man!!

    If you ever want some parenting tips and advice, check out my site:
    http://www.childperspective.com
    I’d be honored!!

  21. Well I must agree … Twitter is the perfect traffic driver to blogs, and blogs gives depth to the Twitter dialog.

    I was never that impressed with the marketing angle of Facebook, but Twitters abliliy to drive traffic to websites and blogs is fantastic.

    I’m here because of a Tweed!

  22. A lot of celebrities seem to like Twitter. Maybe because blogging seems too much like hard work.

    https://twitter.com/Moneyistheway

  23. Eddie Gear says:

    Hi there,

    I don’t really get the point here. I’m lost. I did find the information about Twitter useful though.

    Cheers,
    Eddie Gear

  24. John says:

    I use Twitter mainly for driving people to my blog. I see it as another promotion tool and social media outlet.

  25. Christie says:

    I love Twitter, but I consider it a complement to my blog, certainly not a replacement. I have “met” so many cool people on Twitter, which has expanded my world. Gotta love that, but if I could only do one for the rest of my life, I would definitely pick blogging.

  26. Isaac says:

    I have a site of twitter-friendly DVD reviews that I’m building (DVDweets – catchy, huh). Anyway, I’m working right now on growing my followers (@DVDweets) and as the numbers grow, so does the traffic. It’s cool. But you have to use Twitter as social network and not as an article spammer. Promote things your write, but also respond to people and talk about other things.

  27. Darren how do u manage 2 twit accounts easily? I’m struggling!

  28. I don’t have to think for the answer when someone asks me this question. My answer is blogging. I am just using twitter to promote my site. Hope I can grow up my interest in social networking some day but I don’t like to social network.

    Useful post anyway. I Appreciate it
    ——————————————————
    Mohammad Afaq

  29. Zach Everson says:

    But how do you make money from Twitter?

  30. Damini says:

    I haven’t began using twitter yet. I have to look into this (tweeter)

  31. Darren Rowse says:

    Zach – some people make money directly from Twitter by doing paid tweets or inserting sponsors messages or affiliate links – my personal preference is use Twitter to earn money indirectly by sending people to your blog or selling yourself in some other way (as a consultant, speaker, author etc).

  32. Joey says:

    Thanks for your thoughts, Darren! I’m very new to twitter and just learning how to use it. I’ve been blogging for a while but am nowhere as successful yet as other bloggers as yourself. It’s always great to hear about such thoughts and tips from you and other great bloggers, both here and on Twitter.

    More power to you!

  33. for me, its better blogging than to twit :)

  34. Lee Ka Hoong says:

    I just think that blogging is better than twitter. I have a twitter account and but still yet to do something there. I’m still looking for the way on how to get traffic from twitter. Anyway, I still prefer blogging more than twitter. :)

    Regards,
    Lee

  35. earnword says:

    i prefer blogging because i can make money. Twitter also good. But its different world from blogging.

  36. One thing which I like about twitter is you do not have to think much … you have to think just 140 words and maximum times in such 140 words there is a tinny URL.

    But yeah satisfaction wise blogging give me more satisfaction than twitter … its something I can remember if I post something good with great words composition.

  37. Albert says:

    Twitter is only for chatting in my opinion and will always stay like that. They are two separate topics like instant messaging and Facebook. The 140 character maximum will never replace Blogs, ever.

  38. Jade Craven says:

    Darren – I can honestly see twitter becoming an even greater stress for you in the future. Your profiles just going to keep rising and you do have a reputation for being really friendly :) Someone like me (relatively unknown) can easily keep up with the followers but there has to be a point where you create boundaries. I think it would be useful to create a different list of rules as well as provide alternate methods of communication.

    A few ideas:

    – Hold a weekly/fortnightly Q&A on ustream. Tell people that you wont answer their questions on twitter, but will during this Q & A.

    - Streamline the guest post application process, so people don’t pitch you on twitter.

    - Somehow eliminate the RT’s from your reply column in tweetdeck. Same with Mr tweet.

    Another option I think could work is seperating your personal tweets from your problogger account. That way you could provide more interesting articles – similar to what @Mashable does – but give people an alternate if they want to know X’s latest exploits ;) And you could specify how much time each day you could dedicate to each account.

    :) This has been a topic that I’ve really been thinking about lately, as you can probably tell. I’ve really been focusing on creating systems/processes that make my day easier, while still providing quality to others. I think creating the processes now can prevent a lot of problems.

    Hope it helps. And I’m very thankful that I’ve been able to connect with you on twitter over the past year – its made me relate to your blog content differently.

  39. Bibokz says:

    Twitter is powerful tool that could make your blog grow. For me i like blogging… its my money maker machine.

  40. Robin Capper says:

    I tweeted this some time ago:

    “Blogging is for what you can’t say in 140 characters, Twitter shows how much you can!”

    http://rcd.typepad.com/rcd/2009/03/why-blog-why-twitter.html

  41. ilaxi says:

    I like both – Blogging and Twitter. However, Tweeting for three different websites for promotions sometime irks. Moreover, the Twitter code appear common on sites. To manage 2 different accounts it means RT or @…..Should this work, I wonder….Darren, can twitterfeed be a solution here?

  42. mary e. ulrich says:

    Twitter is starting to make me feel like I am being run over by a train. It just keeps coming and I can’t keep up.

    I understand your idea of using Twitter to drive people to your blog, makes sense–just is overwhelming.

  43. According to recent statistics
    100% of the people that come to my blog are cool
    99.99% of the people on Twitter are lame
    you fiqure it out LOL

  44. I like Blogging to express,my though, my idea,my passion, my pain and my gain,my study and my sharing and for twitter.I use to say,Hei “I have this and that,come and see.”Just follow me.to get what I found fun Here….’tinyurl etc..

  45. Edwin says:

    As I see it, for professionals that blog, Twitter is a welcome addition to communicate.

  46. Twitter is more laid back and real. Allows people to open up and be themselves.

    You can decide if that’s a good thing or not.

  47. Mike Seddon says:

    Since I’ve started using Twitter in the last month I have found that it is actually quite useful in tracking down useful information that I have been able to turn into blog posts.

    Like you I treat my blog with more focus than Twitter and to find that Twitter helps feed my blog content (and also sends it traffic) is reward in itself for continuing with Twitter.

  48. D. A. Shaver says:

    Google Analytics says Twitter is my number 2 referrer and these visitors also go to an average of 5 additional pages.

  49. FrankGW says:

    Twitter = sound bytes

    Blogging = the chance for in depth learning and understanding

    Yes, I am a senior citizen.

    http://www.blogginglifeextension.com

    Just an old mainframer caught in the web