Darren Rowse’s Speed Posting: Great Reader Interaction or Lazy Content Pushing?
I’m intrigued by Darren Rowse’s 3 minute blog posts, dubbed speed posting. The idea is that he’s answering a reader question in 3 minutes and then pitches the question to his readers, interaction in the comments is awarded with the chance to win one of three ProBlogger Books.
I’m intrigued because I can’t decide whether it’s a nice touch and something that really benefits the readers, or a PR stunt for the book as well as a way to push out easy updates on the blog. I like to believe the former, but am having problems forgetting about the fact that more in-depth answers from Darren would be a lot more interesting to read.
It’s not that the speed posts are all that short, Darren obviously can type pretty quick to get them out, but there’s doubtless more things he could say on the topic.
What do you think? Is it a nice touch interacting with the readers, or a cheap way to push out posts?
Disclosure: This post took almost 4 hours to write. I did however grab breakfast, answer e-mails, read feeds, got engrossed in Twitter, had a phone meeting, and complained about it being Monday. I call it slow posting.
Thord Daniel Hedengren is a designer, writer, and blogger, and also the former editor of The Blog Herald. He used to be a hotshot in the gaming industry in Sweden, but sold everything and went International. Most recently he wrote a book called Smashing WordPress: Beyond the Blog, and does loads of kickass design.
I’ll kick off the discussion with a few thoughts (I’ll attempt to limit it to 3 minutes worth of them):
1. it was an experiment that I pulled together on the spur of the moment to see what would happen. I’m not planning on doing it regularly – although I’ve been amazed how many readers have told me that they enjoyed it and have asked if we can do it again. It seems that there’s a readership out there for short sharp posts instead of longer ones.
2. I originally asked my Twitter followers to ask me questions because I wanted a little inspiration to write a post or two over this past weekend – I was going to pick the best couple of questions and write in depth posts on them. However there were so many questions submitted (about 40 in the end including quite a few via Direct Message) that I thought it’d be a waste to ignore the majority of them.
3. So I decided to start answering them all and realized that many of the questions were either things that I could answer quickly or things that I’d written about previously that I could post a link to as well as a few updated thoughts.
4. I wrote up the 20 posts that I did in just over an hour – to be honest I surprised myself with how quickly it all happened and how much I could cover in 3 minutes. It reminded me of a textual version of when I do Ustream video streaming sessions. In those sessions I take questions and spend a few minutes exploring each one and then ask others to add their thoughts – these sessions are always a lot of fun, popular and I and my readers tend to come away energized from them – I felt the same way this weekend writing up the posts and then watching the comments left (many of which were really great).
5. I’ve actually kept a few questions that I was asked aside for longer more in depth posts over the next few weeks. These questions I felt needed further exploration rather than quick posts.
6. One of the reasons that I think that people seemed to enjoy this style of posting is that it gave them more room to interact. Sometimes when I write longer more comprehensive posts I find that the comments I get seem to be less valuable as really there’s nothing less to say. I’ve said numerous times on ProBlogger that one way to make readers feel that they have a part to play on a blog is to ‘leave room’ for them to interact – I think this weekend struck this chord with readers.
7. I’m biased of course but I don’t feel there was anything lazy about it. I’m not unhappy with any of the posts that I wrote. The questions were all genuine ones that readers had on their minds, I think I gave insight on each topic and opened up some conversations that seem to have connected with readers.
I can see why you might feel the conflicting feelings that you have but if I could ask a quick question – which of the posts do you feel were most lacking or insufficient in covering the questions?
PS: doh, this took me 5 minutes!
Wow, four hours!
It depends on the content and speed. I haven’t been to problogger for a while, simply because I’ve decided that perhaps my blog doesn’t need SSM or any other networking techniques, as I’m not trying to sell a product but instead a service.
Anyways, for me, I can write a full-page post in approximately 30 minutes with good information and detail. Then proofreading and what-not might take another 30 to 45 minutes.
I haven’t been posting on my site lately, becuase of school. I’ll be coming up with a new strategy for my blog, trying to figure out how to express teh information in a different way.
But I agree with you. If something isn’t detailed, it isn’t worth reading. However at the same time, very few people will sit there and read everything. Social or Online Marketing/ Making money online sites are a bit different ebcause you have a readership that spends a lot of time on the computer.
So, I guess the final answer is it depends on what kind of audience you have.
Darren is most likely doing this as a promotional plan. But it probably does save him a lot of time.
It’s both :-D
It obviously got some reaction, has probably upped Darren’s Twitter follower numbers rather a lot, and provided 19 posts for 57 minutes writing. And it’s publicised the book. That’s good for Darren.
It’s probably got a lot of people exploring the Problogger archives: most of the questions had been answered more fully in earlier posts, and he said so. That’s also good for Darren.
PLUS it’s given 19 people a chance to get their questions answered, and more generally it’s given readers a chance to interact (though that’s not unusual on Problogger). And many of the questions were FAQs that most bloggers need to think about, on an ongoing basis. It was good for readers.
Was it “lazy”? Yes, in the sense that it didn’t require hours of research. But in some cases, and this is one, lazy isn’t bad.
I think this approach delivers something fresh to his blog and gives the readers a new way of getting insight from Problogger.
Although I think speedposting will only work for readers in the long term if it is done in moderation.
I don’t know I suppose you could be right, but I personally enjoyed it. I’ve noticed lately that it seems Darren has been experimenting with lots of different ways to interact with his readers. I think it helps make him seem accessible which is nice for those of us who think so highly of bloggers like himself.
Even if it’s just an effort to push posts, lots have had benefits from the answers. He put good points and directed them to his in-depth articles related to the questions.
I don’t think we need to bother thinking if it was just a way for easy updates or not. Even if it is, it’s not every week that bloggers have him answers their questions swiftly.
Certainly this did allow Darren to crank out a boatload of content for us all to chew on but I dunno that I’d really consider that a promotional stunt.
The series felt like a “Coffee Talk” kind of thing where he’s just tossing a thought-provoking conversation-starter out to the masses and then waiting to see what comes of ’em.
Some of the comments have been very insightful and I suspect Darren will revisit some of these quickly-visited topics with his own responses in the coming days or weeks.
I don’t read Problogger too often – but I read a few of the quickies this weekend. I thought it was cool. It’s nice that it allows readers to be involved. It didn’t seem like a content push to me – just a good idea to encourage interaction, although lord knows it’s not like Darren needs to push for that. If it happened all the time it might feel cheap, but once, no.
I’d file ‘Speed Posting’ under recycled content. Calling it anything else just feels disingenuous. Don’t get me wrong, it makes for pretty good content, but let’s call a spade a spade.
I actually think repackaging content within your niche is a skill every blogger should consider adding to their arsenal.
wondering when my comment will get published? I invested a whole 5 minutes into it and it’s been over 12 hours since I posted it!
Darren, sorry for the delay in comment approval. I guess it was because of the length of the comment that it was flagged as potential spam.
Nice point Darren. Just to be extra clear: I’m not taking a shot at you here. You’re a great blogger and these short posts aren’t bad in any way, that’s not the point.
Now that we’ve got that out of the way, I personally think limiting your time while writing on a topic means, for a good writer at least (and not one prone to blahblah away), that you’ll also limit the content’s worth. Sure, longer posts aren’t necessarily more elaborate than short, but 3 minutes compared to 10 will not only make room for more writing, but also more contemplating the topic in question.
That being said, I think you answered the question posed in the post pretty well. If the readers are happy, then so should you be, and maybe you should consider a Q&A section to keep feeding on reader questions. The experiment is interesting, and I look forward to a post detailing and valuing it. I know I’m curious as to learn what you’ve made of it all.