Do You Have to Blog to be Social?

originally posted on Concept Hub

The idea of blogging is an intimidating or overwhelming concept for many people for many reasons. One reason is all the rules that consultants keep coming up with. Another reason is that your blog posts are indeed a permanent record. There is also the perceived lack of control of the conversation that is being started. And of course, there is the dreaded time commitment.

It is true that blogging has some standards, protocols, expectations if you will (all of which is constantly being debated) but there are many other tools that can enable a company or individual to discover and be discovered by a relevant audience. The traditional tools and media that is currently being used can simply be amplified with just a few clicks and a little knowledge.

RSS is what makes social media work. RSS provides the home delivery of all the relevant information that the user chooses to receive. So the two key concepts here; relevant and chosen. RSS is not limited to the content of the information, so press releases, newsletters, memos can be optimized by allowing users to get their information via RSS. As RSS becomes more widely adopted, people will cease going from one site to the next and if the site is not found in a RSS reader, it may not be found.

Flickr is one of many photo-sharing sites. Most companies have photos that they would willingly share such as their community involvement or awards ceremony. By sharing those pictures on public sharing sites with comprehensive and relevant  tags you increase the opportunities for people to find you. They will also be more likely to feel connected to you based on the common interest that led to them discovering the pictures.

YouTube/Google Video On April 7, 1927, appeared the first public demonstration in America of a new invention that would forever change the way stories would be shared as well as to the number of people that would be entertained or inspired by those stories. Of course that invention was the television. However the first TV Guide was not published until 1953. People discovered programs based on what their neighbors were watching. Streaming Video and Vlogs have enabled an unimaginable amount of videos of all levels of quality and content to be broadcast to the entire world. The new TV Guide will be the enhancements being made in Video Search and your neighbors (now known as your online social network) will be able to share with you what they are watching from their homes (also known as their blogs or websites).

Podcasts have two main advantages to all the other audio formats that have preceded it, subscription and distribution. Trying to gather everyone to pay attention to end of the year reports, quarterly sales goals, or a motivational speech has become quite difficult – but now you can record a podcast that is immediately delivered to all, who can then take the presentation with them on the run.

Comments – Even if the commitment to have a blog is a bit overwhelming, reading blogs about you, your peers and your industry should be required. If you have something of value to add to the conversation, you should. If done with authority, integrity, and expertise, you can position yourself as an expert and drive traffic to your traditional site. Think of it as networking.

Social Bookmarking sites such as Del.icio.us enables you to share information with your peers and partners as well as discover new peers and partners.

The reality is that Social Media is not a new trend of tools and technologies that you need to add to what you are already doing, they are the tools and trends that will rapidly begin to replace what you are already doing. Will it make your life easier? Well that is yet a whole other debate in terms of choice and culture.