2014 in review

The WordPress.com stats helper monkeys prepared a 2014 annual report for this blog. Thank you to everyone who stopped by to read my writing. Happy New Year — and here’s to a fantastic 2015.

Don’t forget to watch your back so you don’t get run over by a speeding DeLorean on Oct. 21…  🙂

Back to the Future date

Here’s an excerpt:

The concert hall at the Sydney Opera House holds 2,700 people. This blog was viewed about 9,600 times in 2014. If it were a concert at Sydney Opera House, it would take about 4 sold-out performances for that many people to see it.

Click here to see the complete report.

Blogging isn’t social media

Every time I turn around there seems to be another study being conducted about who is responsible for social media at a company or organization. Is it the role of public relations, media relations, marketing, advertising, customer service — or a combination of all the above? What I’ve found most interesting about these studies is that many seem to still be lumping “blogger relations” in with “social media.”

I’ve long held the belief that bloggers are not journalists. There is something to be said for a professional journalist who has been properly trained to research a story and write a compelling article that people actually want to read. At the same time, however, I don’t believe bloggers should be relegated to the social media realm either. When I think of social media outlets, I think of 140-character tweets, two-sentence Facebook status updates and comments, a photo with a cutline on Flickr or maybe even a short video with comments by viewers on YouTube.

Social media is more about the continuing small-talk conversation being carried on between you and the world. Blogging is different. It can be weighty stuff or it can be about fashion trends. It can challenge your thinking or it can be something sarcastic and entertaining. But it is not social media.

Perhaps the problem is society’s insatiable need to classify things — especially new things people don’t fully understand. Now, certainly, blogging isn’t new, but for many people it is uncharted territory, as is social media. And since both are done via the Internet it makes sense to folks to drop them into the same bucket. That’s a mistake. Blogger relations is a new component of a very old discipline: media relations. As I said, I don’t believe bloggers are journalists, but they are a segment of writers that need to be dealt with professionally.

That’s why I’d argue that blogger relations is a function of whomever is handling media relations in your organization. Bloggers need information, either on background or on the record. They need assistance gathering photos, videos, soundbites, facts and figures. In short, they need information to complete the publication they are working on. But it is not enough for the media relations department to simply send them a press release and a link to some photos. For years, media relations professionals have spent time honing their craft by learning about news outlets and what makes individual reporters tick. It’s time we started doing that with bloggers, too. It is going to add a lot to our workload, but passing the buck and letting marketers or customer service departments deal with blogging because it is “social media” is not productive. It may even come back to bite you in a blog post that is anything but social.

What do you think? Do you believe blogging belongs in the social media bucket, the news media bucket or all by itself in a shiny new bucket?

(Photo courtesy of Chris Jones’ Flickr stream.)

RIP 5Ws, Here Comes Later

ripBetween a Facebook status update and a blog post I wrote for Digital Pivot, I’ve ended up using the phrase “here comes later” several times today — and it really stuck with me.

I’ve wondered for some time about whether to change the title of this blog from 5Ws because it’s such a well-used phrase that my little blog gets lost in a sea of Google searches on the subject.

5Ws was a great blog name to start with, especially when you consider that I’m a former journalist and that I started the blog to focus only on the facts and stay away from having too much opinion interjected. But, alas, that has changed. As my friend Julielyn Gibbons at i3Strategies likes to say, “I blog because not only do I have an opinion, but I cannot keep it to myself.”

I have found over time that I post to this blog when I am struck by inspiration. More routine, fact-based and link-laden posts regarding the online world end up over at Digital Pivot — where they belong. But this space is mine, to do with as I please and, hopefully, encourage others to do the same either via their own blogs or by joining a discussion on this site.

I suppose you could say I changed the name on a whim, but so what. As I said in my DP post this morning, the Internet is an awesome testament to anarchy. And what better way to celebrate anarchy than to change the name of my blog and its theme just because I had an urge to?

So RIP 5Ws, you served me well. And now…here comes later.