“In a time of 140 character communication I’m sensing a shift back to longer form content”.
This was a statement I made in a presentation last week and it was one of the statements that I made that seemed to get the most reaction/resonance with those attending – so I thought I might expand on it a little and share a few random thoughts.
Are People Wanting More?
Tweets, Facebook and LinkedIn Status Updates… the short form communication that has dominated social media over the last few years is a wonderful thing. While I was initially sceptical that anything worthwhile could be communicated in 140 characters I now see the place of this type of communication.
However… I’m noticing a swing and I’d be interested to know if I’m the only one?
What I’m sensing is people starting to want more than they’re getting in 140 characters – something deeper, something more thoughtful, something more meaningful.
By no means am I suggesting that you can’t be deep, thoughtful or meaningful on Twitter or Facebook – but those are characteristics that I don’t tend to associate with most of the short bursts of content I see flying around in the social media space.
Keep Your Home Base
2-3 years ago I saw a range of bloggers giving up their blogs to get onto Twitter. I never quite got that move – giving up your own site, on your own domain, on your own servers…. a place where you had complete control – to go invest time in someone else’s domain, adding content that ultimately they had control over (while you might retain copyright they can switch your account off at any time if they perceive you to be breaking their terms of service).
My argument has always been to keep your Home Base and treat social media accounts as Outposts. I’m betting that those who gave up blogging to get onto Twitter are probably wishing they at least kept their blogs these days.
Don’t Give Up on Short Form Content
By no means am I calling for people to abandon their Twitter or Facebook accounts. They’re still incredibly useful, in fact looking at the stats on my own blogs they are becoming more and more powerful as places to drive traffic to my blogs, build the brand of my blogs, add to the conversation I’m having on my blogs etc.
As a publisher I can see some very tangible reasons to use Twitter – but earlier in the week I decided to ask those who follow me why THEY use Twitter. I started by asking those following my @ProBlogger account and got responses like these (see the full response here):
I then decided to check out what those who follow my @DigitalPS (photography) account would say (as I wondered if my @ProBlogger account might be a little skewed towards bloggers/publishers. Here’s what some of my photography Tweeps said (see the full response here):
Looking over all of the responses a number of themes emerged among my followers responses including:
- The idea of connecting with people and community both on a personal and professional level was one thing I saw again and again in responses.
- Sharing and finding of information – news, tips, updates, links.
It strikes me that these two things are things that should probably grab the attention of bloggers. People are using Twitter to connect and have community (hardly rocket science as it’s called ‘social media’) but also to find and share information relevant to their lives.
Short Form content is powerful in driving traffic to and building conversation and community around your longer form content.