Blog and Social Media Blending: A Metaphor
I’ve struggled for years to find the right metaphor for the relationship between blogs and other forms of social media. Here’s one of the best I could come up with so far. I invite you to share your own in the comments section below.
One Way to Visualize the Combination of Social Media and Blogging
A blog is the hub of a wagon wheel.
Other social media outposts are the spokes. Your wheel might have dozens of spokes – Facebook pages, Twitter accounts, Flickr photostreams, and so on.
The rim of the wheel is the limit of your online influence. It’s a strange-looking wheel; some spokes are longer than others because you might have more influence via Twitter than Facebook, etc.
The wheel’s rotation is your ever-repeating cycle of social media use and self-evaluation, ideally leading you constantly uphill.
There’s at least one glaring problem with this metaphor. I don’t know how to make it work, but the picture in my mind shows a three-dimensional wheel, a sphere, in which the multitude of social media spokes connect not only to the central hub (the blog), but to each other.
Blogs and Social Media are More Blended than Ever
That’s a pretty convoluted wheel, don’t you think?
But it’s true. Here in 2009, blogs and the rest of social media have become so blended for many online content creators and consumers that it’s hard to tell where their hubs and spokes really are.
Brew is the new mashup. The Web is becoming a cloud. The lines are becoming blurs.
Consider the convergence of these varied means of expression, facilitated by the rapid advance of technology. Surely we’re moving quickly from wagon wheels to something more gelatinous, more smoothie-like.
Maybe the mixture of blogs and social media is really a frosty milkshake with bits of shredded candy drifting throughout.
That metaphor needs some work, but it sounds pretty good, doesn’t it?
Why Does This Blending Mumbo-Jumbo Matter Anyway?
If you don’t “get” the ways in which blogs and other social media can be combined to make concoctions of staggering reach and power, you’re missing out on an incredible sight.
Thousands of companies and organizations are losing sleep and scrambling to and fro at this very moment, along with millions of individuals, to make sense of the alchemy embedded in the emerging Web. Whoever can turn ones and zeroes into gold can make tomorrow’s rules …
What is your personal blend of blogging and new media like? Oops, that’d be a simile.
photo by iboy_daniel
While not totally implemented, a graphic of my social media plan represents an example of the hub and spoke strategy. Check out the visual at following:
One doesn’t have to be this overly ambitious to implement a social media blog strategy – in fact I don’t recommend it. Figure 0ut what would be manageable for you – say only 4 of the top social media sites and your most important blog.
Good luck – be well and prosper.
Val Spangler, SeniorTweet
As the old saying goes, it’s not what you know or who you know, but who knows you. Ultimately, that is the purpose of all social media – to get more people to know you and whatever it is you are trying to promote. I’m an editor for a site called greathistory.com, where writers blog about whatever aspect of history fascinates them, whether it is pioneer women or panzer commanders. Our site is for blogging, yes, that’s our hub – but if we want anyone to find that site, we have to utilize Twitter and all other social media. Although I like your hub analogy, perhaps a better one would be that your blog is a product, and the social media is the advertising that makes people want to buy, or at least to look at what your product has to offer. These media support your blog, and to do that they have to blend with it, to give others a sense of what it is like, but the blog is the center of attention. In a way, your wheel analogy is right – your blog is your hub and the social media are your, ah, “spokes” people.