Everyone’s an expert on social media and blogging. Half the people on Twitter, it seems, are social media experts of one kind or another.
Over the past decade, I’ve read gigabytes of advice on how to “succeed” on social media and blogging, and I’ve never even once read a post or article that really nailed what social media and blogging are really all about—or how to “succeed” at it.
So I finally decided to write that article, and here it is.
This piece will challenge every canned precept you have ever read about creating content online, and transform your understanding of what people are doing right and wrong. But most importantly, I hope to inspire you to fully embrace the life-changing power of sharing yourself with the Internet.
Let’s start with the basics.
What is a “blog”?
The reason people are confused about blogging is that they believe blogging is determined by the category of software used to publish—that a blog is anything you post using blogging software.
The truth is tools are irrelevant.
The best definition of blogging I’ve ever heard comes from Dave Winer (one of the founding developers of blogging), who says a blog is the “unedited voice of a person.”
Editing turns a person’s voice into publishing, rather than blogging.
That means, for example, that sites people call “blogs,” such as Engadget, Gizmodo, Mashable and TechCrunch, are not blogs at all. Each post on such sites conveys not the authentic and “unedited voice of a person,” but instead reflect the editorial mission of the publishers.
Likewise, the so-called “blogs” on the newspaper sites, as Winer points out, are not blogs, either.
These sites may use so-called blogging software, and more importantly try to hijack the blogging idea, in order to give their online publications an authentic spin (yes, “authentic spin” is an oxymoron).
Meanwhile, my social media profile on Google+—you can read it here—is a blog. It’s the “unedited voice of a person,” even though I’m not using so-called blogging software or publishing on a so-called blogging site.
This brings us to the next question.
What is “social media”?
While blogging is not software or site dependent, social media is. Social media is any content that exists on a site designed primarily for users to interact with each other.
So Facebook is the quintessential example of a social network where the content is social media. The reason is that social interaction is the main point, and the tools and features are optimized for that purpose.
However, if you build your own blog on your own domain using blogging software, that’s not social media because the site is designed for the publisher to communicate with the “users” of the site, and optionally for the users to communicate back. Yes, people talk to each other if comments are enabled, but that’s not the primary purpose of the site.
It’s not binary—it’s not like a site is either social or not social. Sites exist on a spectrum, with a no-comments blog on one end of the spectrum and Facebook on the other, with Tumblr right in the middle.
So a blog can exist either on a social media site or a site that is not social.
So when you post anything on a social site that isn’t edited or influenced by anybody else, you’re doing social blogging. Every post you do by yourself on Facebook, Twitter or Google+. for example, is a social blog post.
How to do social blogging wrong