There is a reason that people who blog are quitting Twitter. Those people include John Mayer, Paul Carr, and (sort of) Leo Laporte. In case you didn’t hit the links (and who has time for that with all the Information Overload and whatnot?) the reason is: Length of Life. Not the life of the people who author the tweets or blog posts, but the length of life of the tweet versus the blog post. Most tweets are retweeted or replied to within an hour. After that? Good luck. (Unless you’re famous enough for people to write blog posts about your tweets, which, when taken together, are about as long as a blog post would be anyway.) Blog posts, though? When well written they can draw comments for days (for a news blog) or continue to garner hits for months or years if the content is truly high quality (or if they have pictures of Kim Kardashian).
Think about books compared to tweets. People still read books that are hundreds (and in some cases thousands) of years old. Is anyone going to read even the most retweeted of all tweets in 100 years. My money’s on No.*
And so, I’m going to do what Leo did and rededicate myself to the blog that bears my name. As Laporte said:
I should have been posting it here all along. Had I been doing so I’d have something to show for it. A record of my life for the last few years at the very least. But I ignored my blog and ran off with the sexy, shiny microblogs. Well no more. I’m sorry for having neglected you Leoville. From now on when I post a picture of a particularly delicious sandwich I’m posting it here. When I complain that Sookie is back with Bill, you’ll hear it here first. And the show notes for my shows will go here, too.
* Full disclosure: my money is actually mostly in mutual funds. I avoid making investments, let alone bets, with a 100 year payout time since I probably won’t be around to collect.
1. Host your own images
The first and most obvious is that if you hotlink from someone else’s site, you have no control over if that image stays on the web. If they shut their site down, the image is gone and you have a broken image link in your post.
And I also recommend that you don’t use any image hosting service if you can avoid it. I used to have an account at WebShots for hosting images at another of my blogs. Most of the images were ones that I photoshopped myself from screen captures, but I did have some images that I probably should have known were infringing on some copyrights. If you host your own images, and someone wants one taken down for infringement, they can contact you and you can delete it. At Webshots, however, they just deleted every picture in my account. The point of having the Webshots account in the first place was to try to drive more traffic to the site by putting links to the posts that contained them in the comments… but when all the images are gone, that doesn’t work so well.
2. Don’t use videos
The caveat here is that you can use videos that you’ve created and uploaded to an account that you own. You still run the risk of being shut down without notice, though.
But, as with images, you don’t want to rely on videos from someone else when they could remove the videos (or have them removed) at any time. I’m totally fine with throwing them on Facebook, because I know that if people don’t see it within a couple days, they’re never going to see it anyway, so if the video disappears, no big deal. But when I’ve taken the time to compose a post, even if it’s a single sentence and a picture, I want it to be there in it’s original form unless I decide to alter or remove it. I don’t want that decision in someone else’s hands.
3. Take out the date on individual post pages
This one I totally copycheated from Tim Ferriss’ presentation on creating a high-traffic blog. But it applies not just to making a high-traffic blog, but also to helping your posts stand the test of time. Tim’s advice was actually to just put the date at the bottom of the post on individual pages so that readers won’t know how old it is without reading it first or at least scrolling down the page. This is a good alternative to my more extreme idea of just removing the date completely.
There are obviously some blogs that should have a date very clearly displayed: mostly those that cover time-sensitive news stories. E.g., I don’t want to read about the beta release of a product a year after it’s been out of beta, or read about Jessica Simpson jinxing Tony Romo when they’ve already broken up. But, this kind of post right here should be relevant for longer than Jess and Romes were dating, so I feel I’d be within my means to remove the date, but I haven’t done so on this blog because I do still write about some time-sensitive news, and I
always usually try to practice what I preach.