Yesterday, I posted the following on Facebook’s new Notes platform (btw, feel free to follow me on Facebook… you will see where this is going)…
It’s time for bloggers to take a deep breath, look in the mirror and admit that something (dramatic) is going on here. The other week, I celebrated 12 years of blogging (not a typo). I have posted anywhere from four to seven items a week, over on my Six Pixels of Separation blog, every week… for over twelve years. To know me, is to know that I am still deeply passionate about my blog, writing and the digital publishing experience. I was there when it first started (remember Blogger), embraced the power of RSS feeds (remember those?), lamented the death of Google Reader, and still – to this day – love to hit the publish button. With that, the world continues to change and evolve.
Content is everywhere.
This is nothing new. For years, we’ve been seeing the “conversation” shift from the comments section on blogs to places like Facebook, Twitter, Snapchat, YouTube and beyond. We’ve seen blogging sites like The Huffington Post and Mashable quickly evolve into powerful media empires, at the same time as trusted traditional media publications like Harvard Business Review, Inc. Magazine and others started accepting and publishing bloggers alongside their most respected journalists. Suddenly, you didn’t have to have a blog to be a blogger. And, in many cases, bloggers were instantly granted journalist-like credentials, because of the platforms they were being published on. Brand name publishers, to be sure.
Getting the words to spread.
As more and more consumers embraced social media, these platforms have had to figure out a way to keep these people connected and engaged. Images are hot. Video continues to be a growth market, as well. But, let’s not forget about the words. Not just our tweets and status updates, but our thoughts… the longer pieces of content. Suddenly, blog-like content is finding a serious home in places like LinkedIn, Medium and now, Facebook’s Notes. Any wise business person would tell you to be where the consumer/traffic is. After Facebook announced that over one billion people per day are on Facebook, it’s apparent where the people are (and where they’re not going). Coercing them to leave their social media environment of choice, and drive them back to a unique blog has – without a question – become a game of diminishing returns. It’s getting harder and harder, and yes it has even become expensive (from both a time and money perspective) to do so. I have seen this first hand.
It’s not because the quality of writing has become worse.
It is because we are all content creators, publishers and skimmers of the feed. If something doesn’t captivate you – in the moment – it is gone forever… a quick flick of the thumb. Sad as that may be. It is true. The half-life of a blog post is tragic. People used to catch up on their blog reading over a weekend, now we’re all consumed with our feeds. So, come the weekend, whatever is in the feed wins. And yes, that BuzzFeed/bait-like call-to-action to come and read a blog post is a reality. Many writers are putting more effort into those headlines, than the actual value of the content. Getting someone to click on that link – and leave Facebook – has never been harder. My friend, and famed writer, James Altucher often says that he spends four hours promoting and sharing his content for every hour that he spends creating it. You can sigh all that you want, he has built a real empire around his words.
So, is Facebook Notes the end blogs (or… my blog)?
Yes. It is. Kind of. It feels like my blog (and many other of the more popular business blogs) are becoming the catch-all for a writer’s content, but the real destination is happening as these writers are choosing places like Facebook Notes to be their first line of defence (or Medium… or LinkedIn… or Huffington Post). And, that’s not a bad thing. Sure, some marketers will claim that you never want to have your words on “rented” spaces, but this could well be the Uber-ization moment for words. Maybe we do just put them where the readers are, and spend our time being more strategic about where our content is being distributed, instead of figuring out ways to get readers to come back to our blogs? Is this giving in to a Borg-like mentality (“resistance is futile”)? I don’t think so. What creators of content now have to realize is this: it’s not just what your words say, but where they appear. Forcing readers back – day in and day out – may be a much more difficult platform build, than simply putting your words in a myriad of spaces that can open them up to new and exciting audiences.
This is a test.
Over the years, I’ve been testing my content out by distributing it in many places (and, extending it to business books, on terrestrial radio, and more). Personally, I am curious to see what might happen, if content like this first appears on Facebook’s Notes. Will more people see it, share it, add their introspections and create their own posts, than if I had just blogged about it over at Six Pixels of Separation?
I guess, we’re about to find out… but I would like to know what you think? Here, there or everywhere with the word?