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Microblogging: How It Can Help You

Steven 9 responses Blogging
1

When I first signed on to Twitter I thought, “That’s it? 140 Characters? What’s the point?” In my mind the only thing Twitter and Tumblr, and even Facebook, were good for was posting a link, and we all know how well that works if you don’t follow it up with some personal interaction. To me, microblogging was simply a waste of time. But all that changed when I spent a weekend on Twitter. Let me share with you how microblogging can really help.

micro blogging

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A couple of years ago I had a weekend with nothing to do. The weather was crappy, my friends were all out of town and my work was all caught up. I had just read a blog post about the benefits of Twitter so I decided to challenge myself and see just what all the fuss was really about.

I set up an account on Saturday morning . By Sunday night I had 400 followers and I’d learned a few valuable lessons.

Microblogging lets you blog off-topic: Like most people I’m interested in a lot of things, not just the things I blog about. If I set up a blog for everything I’m interested in I’d never get done blogging. Still, though, sometimes you want to share something that’s just not appropriate for your blog. That’s a good time to move over to Twitter and strike up a conversation. It’s a nice creative outlet and, at the same time, you’re letting a little bit of “you” show through which forges a stronger connection with your followers.

Microblogging teaches you to cut the fluff: Spend a weekend communicating in 140 characters or less and you find out just how many words you waste on your blog. On some of the blogs I follow the bloggers just keep making their posts longer and longer every week. It’s like they’re competing to see who can use the most words.

It’s not necessary. In fact, most readers don’t want all that information in one blog post. They want one answer to one question. If they want to know more, they’ll search your blog to find out more. If you’re a good blogger, you’ll have links to other relevant content to help them out. But for goodness sake, every post doesn’t have to be a novel.

Microblogging keeps you in tune with your audience: If you’re just working with your head down all day long you tend to lose touch with what your audience is really looking for. You’re providing valuable content, but it’s the content you want to provide. You’re not taking your readers’ wants and needs into consideration.

Remember back when you were a kid and your mother said, “I don’t care what you want for dinner. I made meatloaf and you’ll eat it or go hungry!” That’s exactly how you’re treating your blog followers.

You have a general idea of which direction to go but what are they concerned about right now? Microblogging allows you to see what’s happening right this minute so you can strike while the iron’s hot. Content that gets the most shares and goes viral is content that addresses hot-button issues, the things people are talking about right now.

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9 Comments

  1. Nate Goodman

    You didn’t answer 2 questions. What is micro blogging and what did you do to get the 400 followers on twitter?

    1. Hey Nate, I didn’t think I needed to explain further what micro-blogging is… Especially since the whole article is about Twitter and other forms of micro blogging such as Tumblr or Facebook…

      Thanks for pointing out that I didn’t explain how I got the 400 followers. This article is about the benefits of micro-blogging, not about getting followers fast. I’ll explain that in another article soon.

  2. Suzanna

    Yay Twitter. Pretty funny that a day later there were no comments on your blog post, you know? I’ve seen such a migration to commenting and sharing on Twitter, rather than staying on a blog post for conversation. Makes sense. Twitter gives us the ability to breathe together.

    1. Hey Suzanna, there is definitely a shift in the way people interact with content. For a single article, there are 5 to 10 different places where people can leave comments… Every platform is eager to grab the discussion for themselves because it makes them pile up pageviews and activity. However, I think it comes with a huge loss for content providers and bloggers: the discussion gets diluted.

    2. Suzanna

      Hi Steven,
      There are two important issues showing up in that statement. One is about platforms eager to make the conversation part of their point system. We all experience a sort of pressure to “make it happen” with each site, with the promise of popularity or at least meeting our goals with them. That’s distracting and only part of the story. The other is that bloggers have to recognize these evolutions and keep dialing in how we make the actual connection. The conversation doesn’t have to be diluted, it can be nurtured in a different way. All of this is why I stay stuck on the importance of an opt-in email list where you have people who are already on board, accepting the ongoing conversation with you. Of course this doesn’t work in all business plans. But it is a vibrant and manageable part of an author platform and bookselling.
      Thanks for this convo, excellent!
      Suzanna

    3. Well, I’d like to point out that I see an increasing number of people posting that they are giving up on this or that social websites… For some it’s twitter, for some it’s facebook.

      A lot of websites have been pushing over and over the idea that you should be present on every possible website under the sun, but it’s just not humanly possible!

      You should give a try to all of them, but keep only the 2 or 3 that works best for you.

  3. Ryan Biddulph

    Hi Steven,

    Super tips!

    Microblogging helps you to keep your ears close to the cyber street.

    What good is blogging if your content-solution never matches your prospect’s problems?

    Listen on twitter. Ask questions. Provide answers. Engage.

    Thanks for sharing your insight Steven!

    Ryan

    1. Thanks for your comment Ryan, I appreciate it.

      That’s definitely something I learned over my years of online work: interaction is definitely as important as content production! It’s not about lecturing anymore, it’s about sharing and building a new experience together.

  4. Julia Spencer

    This limit of 140 characters was also a little bit strange for me from the very beginning, but then I understood that this feature can teach me to formulate my thoughts and ideas better