I’ve once heard a man in a movie say: “blogging is like graffiti, but with words”—implying its damaging nature and disruptive effect on the public, just like those hideous words randomly scribbled on private property. Well, that’s no longer true.
Blogging is the new black. If anyone wants to make it big on social media, or in media in general, blogging—of some sort—is an absolute necessity. And whereas some years back, blogging used to mean long texts and opinion pieces (a.k.a. macro blogging), nowadays, it might just mean something as short and articulate as a single tweet. Alas, microblogging. And, interestingly enough, the two don’t necessarily act as polar opposites.
Curious to know what else awaits you at Outreach 2016? It's all in agenda.
Macro: length and depth
The differences between macro and micro blogging are profound, but mostly reflect a matter of length and depth. One of the most popular platforms used for macro blogging today is Wordpress, but there are many others (Blogger, Medium, LiveJournal, etc.) to choose from.
As a macro blogger, one thing you absolutely need to have is something to say. People assume that if you produce a 500 word text (on average), you’re not just trying to fill web space for the sake of advertisers, but instead you offer something meaningful and compelling for them to spend their 10 minutes on.
The modern web generation has a very short attention span - they won’t waste their time. They like information neat, brief, and fast—which is why they often opt for the newest development of blogging and shield away from the educative 500 word texts to a condensed tweet—to micro blogging.
Micro: short, brief, modern
Micro blogging is fast, dynamic, and simple—at least on the surface. It imitates talk rather than actual writing, and evokes an immediate and reciprocal conversation devoid of hierarchy. The reader has the means to respond with the same methods as the author, almost immediately, and the author might see this instantly (if he’s online, which he probably is).
The modern generation likes to respond and actively debate the things that matter to them. Leaving a comment beneath a long blog post just doesn’t cut it. That’s why the place where the magic happens isn’t generally under a blog post, but instead, in the comment thread of its social media post.
How the two align
Complementarily. One might have thought of these two as of foes, and expected only one of them to emerge from this modern blogging battle as a winner, but in such case, one has been wrong. If you follow Twitter and Facebook (and all the other social media family members), you must have noticed one thing: tweets and posts are rarely just comprised of fluent text.
Instead, what you see is a plethora of hashtags, links, and replies to other members of the community. In other words, a micro blogging post is rarely just about itself, it’s not the l’art pour l’art principle. Rather, it’s a way to direct the readers (followers) to something bigger than the tweet/post itself. Such as: a macro blog.
Macro blogging: dead indeed?
There's no reason to think that you can’t succeed nowadays as a macro blogger, just because the mainstream seems to lean towards the micro. You must have something very interesting to say, of course, but that’s an obvious point. Don’t ever start a blog—micro or macro—if you have nothing interesting to say to the world wide web.
Once you do have something compelling to offer, though, the only way to spread it to the general public is by employing weapons of micro blogging into the process. No one’s going to find out about a new blog just like that, on their own. You need to hand it to them on a silver platter, and that silver platter is called Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, LinkedIn, Pinterest, etc. Without them, you’re helpless, but with them, you’ve got what it takes to make it in the endless sea of ruthless blogger competition.
Do you have what it takes to be a macro blogger?
When deciding what blogging path you should be taking, content is effectively what decides. What is it that you want to write about? Do you want to spread opinions, news, and ideas that could sway crowds and spread across the web like a virus? Or is the blog just a side-way to advertise your main product, which could be a website, a company, a gadget, service, a startup, or a person? If your case is the latter, do you really have enough to say about your product to fill whole articles that people will want to read—again and again?
Another thing you should consider is the amount of time you have to devote to your blog. Working on a macro blog is a whole new another thing than managing social media. For a micro blog, a few short (but well-worded and meaningful) posts a day will do the job. Refer with them to events, news; keep your follower platform updated, and make sure they never miss a thing.
But if your regular content extends further than a post or a tweet can encompass, you obviously should try macro blogging--assuming you know the craft. If not, employ someone with good writing skills, and make sure the things they write about are interesting. Do not write just to fill space. Engaging, useful and regular content is what most customers look for. It draws you in, but not for too long; it informs, educates, broadens perspectives; reaffirms your active position in a society.
If you’ve opted for a macro blog format, but detest the concept of social media, having to constantly update them, or, alternatively, think that their methods are too redundant to cause a stir anymore, try a newsletter. All modern customers have an e-mail address (and even the old-fashioned ones mostly do), and thus, delivering the content this way makes it unmissable.
You might make your newsletter in the style of a content advertisement with titles and brief descriptions only, and the option to be redirected to the official website to read the whole thing (like most online media outlets do), or include articles in their entirety to be read within a single e-mail (like Lena Dunham’s and Jenni Kronner's LENNY Letter). The latter case is not a breakthrough invention, and yet it’s so smart and simple that people love it (and actually tend to read it).
A conclusion of functional reciprocality:
Web professionals, freelancers, and digital natives have mostly already grasped the importance of micro blogging and its symbiotic relationship with the macro world. Some admit to only tweeting about the things that they would have had to blog about in the past. Yet while fast news and briefness are a very valuable commodity today, there will always be demand for deeper digging.
That’s the job of macro blogging, a job it still has and a job that is not on the leave—at least not anytime soon. So while it’s necessary to master micro blogging to become mainstream, leaving the macro zone is not a natural consequence thereof. You may stay, and you may thrive. But choose your words wisely.
Micro and macro blogging are the core of the roundtable discussion which will happen on the first day of the Outreach 2016. Download the agenda and see what else to expect from the event.