Why Professionals Should Continue to Blog in the Era of Twitter

I’ll bet you’re smart.

I mean, you’re likely college educated. Maybe even grad school. You can probably remember some killer instances where you nailed some assignment. That clever C++ hack. The time you delivered an insightful analysis of Vonnegut. Navigated your way through a thorny financial analysis. Came up with an elegant solution  in the chemistry lab.

You’re good. You’ve got knowledge in your field, you’ve got a track record of accomplishments in your job. And you’ve got solid points of view about your field and its future.

And all you want to do is tweet?

A number of people have blogged about the uncertain future of…uh…blogging. I understand where they’re coming from. Here’s how Jevon MacDonald put it:

I don’t know what the fate of blogging is, but as I think about it I wonder if it can survive without changing. Just in the last 2 years we have seen massive uptake in the creation of content by users, but most of it is now outside of the blogosphere. Status Updates on Facebook, Twitter, new levels of photo sharing and geolocation based services and networks are all becoming the centerpiece of attention.

His point is that with the ease of Twitter and Tumblr, the relevancy of and desire to blog is diminishing. He’s not alone, it’s a theme that’s been popping up in the last several months.

To which I say:

If you’re a professional who’s just going to twitter, you are missing a golden opportunity to help yourself via blogging.

This post is geared towards those who have day jobs, and for whom blogging and tweeting is an extension of their professional lives.

OK, smart reader, let’s talk about this.

A Blog Is Your Stake in the Ground

Twitter is wonderful. I’ve been tweeting it up the past few months myself. I’ve gained a whole new appreciation for the power of Twitter. As I said in a recent post:

Twitter has established lightweight messaging as valuable and addictive. From the simple roots of “What are you doing?”, people have morphed Twitter into a range of use cases. Open channel chats. News updates. Sharing articles and blog posts found useful. Polls. Research. Updates peers on activities and travels.

It’s great for what it is. And an important part of your professional persona and career development.

But blogs are the professional’s curriculum vitae. They are a standing record of strong thin king about a subject. When you devote the time to put together a blog post covering your field, you’re likely doing this:

  • Research
  • Analysis
  • Linking to others
  • Establishing your voice
  • Influencing the thinking of others
  • Showing the ability to pull together longer form thinking, a requirement in professional work

My own experience is that if you blog, every so often you pop out a signature piece. The kind of post that resonates with others and establishes your position in your field. These blog posts receive a lot of views, get linked to and turn up in Google searches. When you get one of these, congratulations! You have successfully put your flag in the ground for your field.

Tweets don’t do that. Tweets create a tapestry of someone, they foster ambient awareness. This has value in its own right. But they’re not vehicles for heavier thinking. They don’t demonstrate your capacity to size up an issue or idea and bring it home.

Keep in mind that LinkedIn now lets you add blogs to your professional profile. What’s going to be more valuable to you when people are running searches? Tweets or well-thought blog posts?

There’s a Flow to This

I know this is definitely early adopter stuff. The number of professionals spending time tweeting and blogging is still limited. But I suspect this is going to happen:

Those who can work blogging and some twittering into their regular activities are going to earn more money and get promoted faster.

I can’t wait until some academic study comes out about this.

Here’s how I see the way Twitter and blogging mix:


Tweets engage you in a flow of information, they let you pick up signals and connect with others in your field. From all that, you gain a healthy perspective on what’s happening in your industry. Once you write a post, you’ll find yourself energized to engage once again via Twitter. And on goes the cycle.

The mere act of writing out research, analysis and opinion is amazingly valuable. No burdens for how that memo plays with your boss, or keeping your thoughts on-topic for the upcoming meeting. Just you and your blog, working through what interests you.

Could You Really Tweet These?

As an example, I’ve selected three posts from this blog. They were some that really worked out there. And I’ve tried to convert them into a tweet. Take a look:


There’s no replacing the permanence or deeper thinking that blogs provide.

So What Are You Waiting For?

That’s my view on why you should keep on blogging even as you tweet. Let’s take this one out with quotes from three bloggers:

Bill Ives:

TwiTip recently had a post on Ten People All Twitter Beginners Should be Following by Mark Hayward. I will let you guess who is on it and then go to the post. It is no surprise that a number of top bloggers are one the list.

With the continuing evolution of tools, blogging is becoming more focused on what it does well – moving beyond sound bytes and providing a permanent accessible record of thought.

Eric Berlin:

Here’s my new thinking: probably the best and most successful bloggers will also tend to be the best blogger/microblogger hybrids, and vice versa.

Steven Hodson:

For us this means less competition and less noise for us to fight our way through in order to get through to the readers. This of course is my first reason why bloggers should be thankful for services like Twitter and FriendFeed – they help clear out the noise makers.


See this post on FriendFeed: http://friendfeed.com/search?q=%22Why+Professionals+Should+Continue+to+Blog+in+the+Era+of+Twitter%22&who=everyone


About Hutch Carpenter
Chief Scientist Revolution Credit

27 Responses to Why Professionals Should Continue to Blog in the Era of Twitter

  1. I don’t believe the Twitter vs. Blogging hype.

    I think they are complimentary. Twitter fills in the gaps in between blog posts and continues the conversation beyond the comment box.

    I don’t think you should twitter instead of blogging because like you said it can’t convey the deeper discussions that need more than 140 characters. Post your thoughts on your blog. Share and discuss them through twitter.

  2. Bill Ives says:

    Great post and great blog. I will write about this and add your blog to my list. I also agree with the comment above as I wrote in the post you quoted, “It is not surprising that many well known Mumbai bloggers used their blogs to point to their twitter feeds for updates on the tragic events. Twitter is a better tool for that purpose. But i think their blogs will be a better channel for reflection on what happen. The two complement each other.” I tried twitter but have not gotten addicted but I certainly see its use. Bill

  3. seacat says:

    Couldn’t agree more. If blogging dies, there’ll be little use for tiny url since the main use is (as the diagram above illustrates) to point readers to blogs. Twitter is a great connector and headline communicator, I love it. But I use it to find stuff, not as a be-all answer.

  4. Twitter is to blog as those little cartoons in Europe between commercials are to actual TV shows.

  5. I agree with you. I can’t imagine how these “content creating” sites could ever replace blogging. Maybe blogging is the skeleton and Twitter and other sites are the nerves? Or maybe the blood flowing all around? Without the blogs (or skeleton) – what would everything revolve around?

    As a career coach, I advise that people who cannot blog or don’t have time to blog try Twitter as a strategy to help their job hunt, but I don’t think it has anywhere near the capacity to be useful without that “stake,” or blog, to hold it all together.

  6. I absolutely love this — blogs are like a form of CV in that they demonstrate your voice, thinking, and opinions. Great post.

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  10. Daniel – I’m with you. Twitter doesn’t replace blogging, and vice versa. The only consideration is the number of hours in a day. People need to decide where to spend their time. And the Return on Blogging is terrific.

  11. Hey Bill – I love your blog. The Mumbai incident is an interesting case study in combining blogging with Twitter.

    As for Twitter – give it a try. Bloggers are a natural for it. Dan Keldsen is a popular Twitterer.

  12. seacat – thanks. Steven Hodson’s quote is a pretty funny POV about people using Twitter more than blogging. Twitterers will still need content to point to, meaning it’s easier for the remaining bloggers to be heard.

  13. Holly – I don’t even know what those cartoons in Europe are, but I like the analogy!

  14. Miriam – I like your advice re: Twitter and blogging. If absolutely pressed for time, a job hunter can network with Twitter more easily than with a blog.

    But blogs are CV’s in a way, and they don’t even need to be updated that often. Once a week would be great for a professional, and they are something that people can include in their LinkedIn profile.

  15. Danvers says:

    Sorry – post was too long for me to read. Please summarise in less than 140 characters.

  16. Nisha – thanks. Once you establish your POV via blog, why not build out the About Me page on it? SlideShare, YouTube, Scribd content to offer a fuller view.

  17. Danvers – Ha! I see you’ve got a blog (http://danversbaillieu.blogspot.com/).

    “Twitter is great 4 connecting, learning trends, news updates. It lacks permanence of blogs, and doesn’t exercise long form thinking muscles.”

  18. Janet says:

    I agree Micro-blogs and blogs go hand in hand. Sometimes I use Twitter to float an idea and see if there is interest in making it a larger discussion. Sometimes what I want to say is just a link to another blogger’s post that I think people should see. It doesn’t really make sense to write a blog post about it if the blog I’m sending them to has it covered.

    That said, I don’t think every blog post has to be perfectly crafted. Sometimes you just gotta say something and get it out there.

    If you wait to write a post until it’s perfectly crafted, it may never even make it to the page.

    Not all bloggers are journalists, though we may wish to be.

  19. Great post Hutch. Unfortunately, if you had not tweeted it, I would have missed it. 😦

  20. Shefaly says:

    Good post but above all, I am glad to find another blogger who writes marathon posts 😉

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  22. Janet – you’re right. Not every post has to be perfect. That’d be a tough burden. It’s more important to put your thoughts together, than sweat format.

    Of course, do it enough, and you will have perfect posts.

    And I use Twitter the same way. I both introduce ideas and get ideas. My post for this Monday is one of those. I will say that most of my ideas come from interactions on FriendFeed.

  23. Hi Hutch,

    This is a great topic! If you are trying to market yourself or your company, content is king. And a blog is the best and easiest way to share content that can easily be syndicated across the web…twitter included.

    I don’t think it’s an either or situation. The secret to success with all of the web 2.0 tools is what works for you! If you’re not committed to blogging or tweeting etc…none of it really matters. But when you find a couple of things that resonate with who you are and what you’re trying to accomplish…it’s magic!

  24. Hi Debbie – when it comes to showing the world what you’re about, I agree. Content is king. And blogs are tops for that. Twitter is good for interacting with others, and picking up trends.

    The thing about blogging is that I think that pretty much any smart professional will be good at it. Maybe not always the Queen’s English/grammar, but the ideas and analysis will be solid.

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