Feed housekeeping yields interesting insights

So, as one of my ‘things to do’ before I start at Fleishman Hillard*, I’ve been going through my RSS feeds in Google Reader. A very timely post about organising RSS feeds came along on the PNeo blog reminding that I needed to do this, and how I’d in fact planned to do it some time ago.

So, I’ve done it. I now have four main feeds, for daily news, must read, should read and could read. They’re fairly loose definitions but ‘must read’ is by people/organisations that I consider dead-centre of what I need to know and consistently come up with good stuff. Should and could read are just lesser gradations thereof.**

During this, I noticed the following trends. Unfortunately I didn’t make note while going through all this of exactly who was saying what, so you’ll just have to accept them as anecdotally true:

  • Several bloggers had just stopped. End of.
  • Many had apologised, over the past few months, for not posting for a while. I’ve done the same myself.
  • Several had moved, but not offered any RSS forwarding. As a result I hadn’t been getting stuff in from them for a while. This is quite an oversight on their part, and as good an advert for Feedburner that I can think of.
  • Some, particularly those that had relocated, now seem to talk more about social media more than they used to, in particular Twitter and Friendfeed.

Taken together, these do all seem to point to a shift away from blogging and towards other more interactive forms of social media.

Actually, I can qualify this a little now – strangely enough, since setting up my contextual feeds, which is proof of a kind.

For example, Jennifer Gniadecki writes on Problogger about how blogging is more like an after-dinner speech than a true conversation. It’s akin to a quote I recently heard that, if someone spoke to you like they do in advertising, you’d punch them. Similarly, if someone pontificated at you like they do in blogging, without letting you get a word in edgeways, you’d probably wander off or fall asleep.

Neville Hobson also comes to the rescue by bringing up the ‘is blogging dead’ issue, via Jason Calcanis’s recent announcement that he’s – shock horror – going to be emailing instead because he thinks it’s a more intimate way to do business.  He also links to the CheapEasyGlobal post I commented on earlier this week which brings to the fore the idea that it’s a publishing revolution, not just blogging.

What do I think? Well, I do know that I really really really loved blogging but nowadays it’s become more of a chore than I’d like. I also think that other forms of interaction/publishing such as Facebook, Twitter and Friendfeed are more ubiquitous and encourage relationship forming much more quickly, and at the end of the day maybe this is what clients are more likely to pay for.

It really is a bit like this, honest

It really is a bit like this, honest

So where does blogging fit? In a way I like the after-dinner speech analogy. To use another analogy, it’s the dreadnought of your social media arsenal where you put across good, solid ideas and opinions rather than the small arms of microblogging or the repeated stabbing of social networks. Or, to return to my food-related analogy when describing Twitter, your blog is the full Wonka bar. And suddenly I’m strangely tired but also hungry…

* I’m sure everybody is insanely jealous of my having a short breather between jobs, but unfortunately I have some sort of throat ‘thing’ that made the doctor whince, and which makes me fall asleep instantly and without warning.

** I’ve plonked them into a Netvibes public tab if you’re interested. I’ve also used iGoogle for my own personal amusement, mainly because I’d like to integrate the presentation-friendly approach of tabs with the search/archive/analyse-friendly approach of Google Reader. But iGoogle does suck.

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5 thoughts on “Feed housekeeping yields interesting insights

  1. I wouldn’t presume I’m on your list, but I moved location, changed RSS feed (hopefully via feedburner), blogged about the death of blogging, and started an entirely new blog about microblogging at 140char.com.

    And blogging is definitely a tool for longer form communication, as opposed to the short form of Twitter. But I often find myself getting frustrated at trying to articulate ideas in 140 characters…so my blogging and microblogging feed each other…I’ve seen graphs showing other bloggers tended to microblog and blog more on the same days, suggesting some kind of synergy…

  2. Hmm, odd, cos I only just subscribed to 140char, according to Google, and I *did* put you in ‘Should read’! In fact, given your specialism, I was seriously considering putting you in ‘Must read’ but I’ll give it some time, see how it goes.

    Strange that you were already in the Netvibes page. I dunno. Must be one of those things…

    The synergy idea is very interesting. I do wonder whether there’s room for some metrics if we’re ever going to measure this stuff, that is, blog or microblog alone score X, but together score Y because they’re greater than the sum of their parts.

  3. Hi Sally,

    Totally right – a mistake.

    Will be rectified! 🙂

    You are essential reading. Must read.

    POST EDIT I just checked – Getting Ink is, in fact, in my ‘must read’ feed anyway! I’m guessing that maybe you dropped off the current list – it only displays 15 or so. Honestly, journos, you really need to start paying attention and/or stop having such low self-esteem… 😉

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