Friday, October 26, 2012

A Blogging Alternative

Guy Kawasaki poses an interesting concept in an interview with Social Media Examiner: As an alternative to blogging, it is easier to drive traffic via Google+ and Facebook. As a blogger, I am definitely not opposed to or offended by this idea. I think it is a legitimate claim. And as someone who has assisted small business owners who are not really interested in dragging themselves into a blogger role, I’d like to present this idea to non-bloggers as a potential piece of a small business social media strategy.

Guy is a former chief evangelist for Apple and the author of several books – most recently: What the Plus! Google+ for the Rest of Us. Once you have evangelized for Apple and wrote a few books, your opinion is asked on many things. And that is exactly what is done in this interview. But I will concentrate on his thoughts on this alternative to blogging and later hit a point he makes about the evolution of publishing.

The two main constraints felt by many bloggers are (1) running out of things to write about and (2) finding time to write. Working through that experience, Guy has found Google+ as his new base platform. Google+ and Facebook give ample space for lengthy posts, (LinkedIn, not so much, but it can still fit the bill for shorter posts). If you can capture your point in the space of a Google+ or Facebook post, maintaining a blog becomes secondary or non-essential. In fact, the sharing features of Google+ and Facebook make it easier to drive traffic to those posts than to blog posts.

Guy also describes the benefits of evolving from a blogger to a curator – that is, moving from standard blog posts toward spending his time discovering quality content he then shares with his Google+ audience. He doesn’t try to create new content as his primary communication. Instead, he acts as a curator of good information he finds that he thinks his audience will appreciate. His philosophy is, if you curate good stuff, people will still follow you. They will appreciate being fed the info they don’t have to find themselves. Guy makes a practice of daily visits to Top 10 lists from various sources such as NPR and TopTenz (and there are thousands more). A good curator must keep on top of what is happening in order to capture and hold an audience (Guy’s established reputation certainly doesn’t hurt either, but any of us can be rock star curators if we work hard enough).

For those adverse or reluctant to maintain a blog, this is a great concept for expanding your social media presence on Google+ and Facebook. It is certainly less of a commitment than maintaining a blog site. And the possibility of building a large following by leveraging the Google+ and Facebook sharing tools has great potential. Whether you choose to create or curate content, you still need to perform the legwork to find what your audience wants. But the bight-size info delivery idea is very inviting - from both a production and consumption standpoint.

Since I enjoy writing my blog, I have no plans to abandon it any time soon and adopt Guy’s approach. In fact, as my own style has evolved over the past 10 months, I have found a balance between original content and curated content. As more of a mix than what Guy suggests, I think there is great value in finding a good piece of information and sharing it in a blog post with my own perspective. I will certainly take his advice and apply the curating aspect more directly to my Facebook Page management – which can definitely use a boost!

If you listen to the podcast, you will also hear Guy’s thoughts on the evolution of publishing. Since his first book in 1987, he has seen publishing options evlove from a 6-9 month turnaround time in hardcopy, to a less than 7 day turnaround in electronic books. This piques my personal interest as I approach my goal of publishing a book before year end. I’m curious: Do you read books made of paper or delivered electronically on a Kindle, Nook or tablet? I wonder what my potential audience would prefer. Your opinions on this are most welcome! I won't make you read it!

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