Did Twitter and Facebook kill (new) blogs?

After a panel at the recent Society of Wine Educators Conference, someone from the audience asked me if she should start a blog, specifically whether social media had eroded blogs to the point of being useless. Given the fast pace of change in the interwebs, are blogs redundant in an age of status updates?

Blogging isn’t dead. Far from it, in fact. It’s easy to see the appeal since it is free, instantaneous, open to all and has a global reach. The trouble is that it takes time and doesn’t generate much (if any) money. As much as I like Twitter, the comment threads generated beneath blog posts are easier to follow than the fast-moving, often disparate responses on Twitter. Facebook has a similar comment structure to blogs but it is more functionally limited than blogging, since there aren’t a lot of long Facebook status updates. Facebook and tweets are good components to blogs, even if quick reactions to blog posts do tend to come in more via Facebook and Twitter and have eroded somewhat comments on blogs. But on the whole, it’s about a conversation and Facebook and Twitter have made people more willing to engage in the conversation. This is the way more of us talk about wine today and in the future: discussion has become much more lateral, rather than the top-down, scores-handed-down-like-manna-from-Heaven model that prevailed for at least a couple of decades.

The lack of revenues remains the biggest stumbling block for blogging. But good blogging has been shown to enhance reputations and, unlike Facebook or Twitter, the blogger can own the platform. So my advice to the woman from the audience remains: if you blog, blog for love, not money, to keep it fun and free of conflicts of interest. There’s always space for someone who has an original angle, a distinctive voice, who is willing to join the larger conversation of wine online, on Facebook and especially Twitter.

What advice would you give someone wanting to start a wine blog today?

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21 Responses to “Did Twitter and Facebook kill (new) blogs?”

  1. Well, some of us like to *write* about wine – and you simply can’t do that in 140 characters.

    For the scoring of individual wines, Twitter and Facebook may provide a substitute – but for those of us who want to entertain and provide a read will go on writing for our audience.

  2. I have a friend who writes thoughtful and lengthy emails on just about every wine he drinks and every meal he eats. A true gastronome who is also very good with words. I’ve asked him why he chooses not to share his writing publicly on a blog. His answer is that he writes for his own enjoyment and clarity of thought.

    This to me is what journal writing is all about. If you’re writing a blog for ad revenue, web traffic or bolstering your own reputation then I believe you’re writing for the wrong reasons. Twitter and facebook are transient but good writing is here to stay.

  3. Simple: Do it.

    It is tools that complement each other.

    “[bloggin] takes time and doesn’t generate much (if any) money” – exactly the same thing with Twitter or FB etc.

    Better advice: think of WHY you want to do it and WHAT you want to achieve. (There is always something. “Nothing” is not an answer.) And then think of whether you will achieve it with the tool(s) you choose to use.

  4. There is no question that a blog has value – it has more now than ever before because, as mentioned in the article, the author OWNS it. It becomes a central home base for an archive of information and thoughts. A person can have 20,000 followers on Twitter, but they don’t own that … Twitter does.

    In the end, it’s all about communication and discussion but the advantage to getting people back to your own home base is immense. Blogs don’t make money … neither does a hammer. But a hammer can build something you can use. Same with a blog.

    PS: One thing that is never acknowledged is the fact that Twitter and Facebook are web based logs of text … in other words, blogs. Just in a different form.

  5. While blogs may not be generating income directly, they do act as a portfolio. I’m now ghost writing for three blogs. I call that monetizing myself. Would you agree?

  6. I absolutely believe blogs have value. It is just another outlet to promote yourself or your business online. My advice for anyone looking to start a blog is to read and keep up with several blogs first. The biggest mistake I see people make is writing their blogs like their writing a news article or a press release. Keep it short (under 350 words), express your opinion or the facts you’ve found and leave it open for discussion and comments. Blogs are meant for interaction among the online community.

  7. If you actually have something to say, then you should start a blog. Facebook and Twitter are good as dissemination tools, but for content, they’re garbage.

    These days, the issue in starting a new blog is that it’s a crowded field (compared to say, 2005) and if you don’t have anything terribly unique to say, you’re not going to get noticed. But it is the case that Facebook and Twitter will both go a long way as addons to promote your blog. They probably won’t translate in to blog feed subscribers though.

  8. […] Dr. Vino with some great advice for new wine bloggers. […]

  9. Tyler
    Your take actually complements David Lebovitz’s thoughts on ‘Social Media’.
    Let’s face it many people and companies start blogs and then let them whither away.
    Twitter is good for RT, sharing quick bites, it sometimes lacks context and if you are not in the loop about them, hashtags for specific events might as well be written in Egyptian.
    Facebook seems to bring me more reads.
    I barely tipped my toes into Google +
    Writing a blog to me is more like being a long distance runner, you have to pace yourself, keep at it, have some endurance.
    Since money is not there, you have to love what you write about.
    ‘blogging’ eco-sphere might be healthier and provide better financial returns if independent blogs stopped running ads from ad networks.
    I decided this year to stop using them and instead have sponsor ads which I select and pay way better.
    Side benefit of staying with it, after years of blogging, I get copies of books I am interested in, product samples and the like.
    I also get a chance to meet interesting people and discover things.
    Blogging is a tool that allows us to write and communicate.
    Radio did not disappear, neither will blogs. Format will just evolve.

    Bonne Journee


  10. Provocative headline. I like it (and the post). But of course blogs aren’t dead. Tell that to HuffPo, TechCrunch, etc. “Blog” has a far reaching meaning. I believe we’re still at the beginning of the new media revolution. As for the person that asks if they should start a blog, by definition the answer: no. You just do it. In this new era, only the foolhardy go-getters and tiger moms will win.

  11. I’d say blogging is a lot like starting a rock and roll band: Have fun, dream of success, but Don’t Quit Your Day Job.

  12. How bad is it that I was looking for the like button, Dave Erickson?

  13. At the recent TexSom conference in Dallas my colleague Jeremy Parzen and I taught a class on blogging and actually started a blog and had many of the class participants post before, during and after the session. It was instrumental in showing folks how easy it is to start a blog. of course that is just the beginning. Take a look, here are some interesting posts, some which went viral during the conference. Sorry I missed you at SWE…


  14. This is a no-brainer for professional writers, but for people in their first attempt at writing publicly, the best advice is simple:

    Think about your reader.

    What do they want to read? What’s interesting and useful to them? First-time blogs in all areas, not just wine, often tend to have too much “I had a sandwich today” and not “these sandwiches at this shop are really good.”

  15. I don’t use Facebook or Twitter due to my work and security concerns. I do however read several wine blogs and would miss them if gone. As far as advice – I would review current wine blogs to see if something is missing I think important, then address that issue as a primary topic. Otherwise the idea probably would be best suited to one of the social media sites.

  16. My advice is not to be JARS (Just Another Review Site). Unless you are prepared to push thousands of reviews out a year you aren’t going to produce enough content to make the site useful.

    Focus on an area where you can shine, if you love Napa Cabs write about Napa Cabs, not just reviews but about the wineries, the winery owners, the different vintages, immerse yourself in what you love and become a subject matter expert so that when you post reviews people know there is a depth of knowledge behind it.

  17. Anyone considering blogging about wine needs to have a real passion for wine. Pick a niche within the wine area that you love and you will do well.

  18. I don’t think so, both twitter and face book are different things than blogging. So we need to go up with blogs every time.

  19. […] discussed the difference between blogging and journalism. Tyler Colman a.k.a. Dr. Vino addressed the issue of bloggers’ income. His bottom line is, blogs don’t generate revenue but give you exposure and […]

  20. In my opinion Blogging and Social Networks work hand in hand. Without Social Platforms our ability to share, engage, converse about content on Blogs and on line articles would be slim to none. I simply wouldn’t have heard of half the Blogs out there if it weren’t for Twitter.

  21. I just googled this exact phrase “did facebook kill blogging” to see what was being said out there on the topic. I’ve come to the same conclusion. Small stuff, trivial stuff, items that probably only concern a few, I share on Facebook. Anything that is serious, worth developing goes to the blog.

    In fact, I believe Social Media has taken out the “me me me” noise from blogging and moved it to a more appropriate environment, leaving blogs to a more mature crowd !


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