According to a recent study, over 30% of Internet users have read a blog and 11% read blog entries daily. The recent proliferation of this kind of communication has led many marketers to quickly jump on the blogging bandwagon. While the traditional long-form blog might be appropriate for many companies, it’s also important to be aware of some of the other alternatives for online communication.
For a company that is interested in providing brief text updates to their audience, a micro-blogging service is more appropriate than a full-blown blog. Micro-blogging provides a quick and convenient way of sending brief (usually 140 characters or less) text updates.
Twitter is by far the most discussed micro-blogging service, but the major social networking sites (MySpace, Facebook and LinkedIn) also support a form of micro-blogging with their status updates. One of the reasons that micro-blogging has become popular in the past two years is its immediacy. Users can send and receive updates from their cell phones, PDAs or computers, which means that it operates similar to on-the-go instant messaging. Unlike instant messaging, however, the conversations are more public, which opens some interesting possibilities (see: TwitterVision).
While it is primarily being used by individuals right now, some companies such as JetBlue and Carnival Cruises are utilizing Twitter's service to communicate with customers. It will be important to keep an eye on how micro-blogging can be used as another point of contact with your customers.
If the primary purpose of your blog is to comment on links, online video, audio, quotes or photos, a tumblelog may be more appropriate than a standard blog. A tumblelog favors short-form posts about media and external articles, rather than longer articles.
Streamlined tumblelog platforms, such as Tumblr simplify the blogging process, allowing people to quickly share their own work or things they've discovered with little or no comment.
For companies that are creating their own content, the benefit is obvious, but tumblelogs may also be beneficial for companies that frequently want to share their online discoveries with an audience. For example, a manufacturer could share interesting articles, videos and photos that are related to their industry without feeling like they needed to write a long article or review.
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