The following post is written by Sukumar Rajagopal
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This is the 250th post on this blog. Thanks to RK for giving me the honor of writing this milestone post. RK and Divya have been blogging for the past 4 years. As someone that just completed 5 years on our blog, I can I understand how difficult it is to maintain a blog over so many years [my 5 year post] . Only a few people realize that blogging is an endurance test.
Congratulations RK and Divya.
Last few days, I struggled to find an appropriate topic for this post. Couple of days back, it dawned on me that, writing about blogging itself could be a good topic. Of late, I have been contemplating the role of Twitter in the world [Why Twitter maybe at the vanguard of a tectonic shift? ]
In the age of Twitter, it seems as if blogging has taken a huge hit because people are able to express themselves easily because it doesn’t take too much effort to write a 140 char tweet.
When I observed my own blogging pattern, I realized that I am not reading blogs that much these days. I couldn’t understand why? Hold on to that thought.
I decided to survey my twitter followers and asked them whether twitter has had an impact on their blogging habits? In a few hours I got several responses that came back. A few of them said, they have actually started blogging more and a lot of them said, blogging has come down significantly. Some people reported 30–50% drops in blogging. And then someone tweeted a great insight — while blogging has actually increased, it is the reading the blogs via RSS feed readers that has come down drastically.
Aha. That was the key. In my case also, I found myself reading a lot more, but I found my Google Reader account piling up with unread blog posts by the 1000s — I was following over 150+ blogs.
I was not satisfied with this. Why is reading tweets and the tweeted links via twitter reducing the Google Reader intake? Then i remembered Clay Shirky’s brilliantpoint about the “Cognitive Surplus” [http://www.shirky.com/herecomeseverybody/2008/04/looking-for-the-mouse.html ]. Per Shirky, before the Internet,we spent almost all of that Cognitive Surplus watching TV — almost 200 billion hours per year just in the USA. That is a staggering amount of time.
After the arrival of Google, Video Games, Sims, Wikipedia, and many others things, our Cognitive Surplus started being put to better use. Out of theInternet portion of the Surplus, bloggers spent a lot of their time reading blogs using a RSS feed reader.
Bloggers, like me, read 100s of blogs using an RSS reader and then pick out the best ones and learn from them. The onus was on us to sort out the wheat from the chaff — we had to read all the posts that the bloggers we follow wrote to extract the few important posts. Now in the Twitter world, if you follow a good set of twitterers, they point to interesting things we could read.
Now I only read blogs of people that are less well known and those that have some connection to me — my friends/colleagues and some friends I have made viablogs or twitter. This has made my overall blogging experience much more enjoyable. I don’t have 1000s of posts waiting in my Google Reader queue, but at the same time, I am reading a lot more on subjects that I care about, thanks to my twitter friends.
Therefore, in my view, all bloggers should build a community using twitter. Read the blog posts that are tweeted, but more importantly comment on thoseposts. Given that you pick twitterers you follow based on your interests, it is highly likely that you will get traffic to your blog that cares about the topics you write on.
Commenting on other blogs is the single biggest contributor to a successful blog (it is counter intuitive, but true).
Happy blogging & twittering.
I blog at http://www.sastwingees.org/
I twitter at http://twitter.com/rsukumar