A trend is forming in our collective online engagement: less is more.
Some maintain that Twitter’s ever-growing popularity is championing this phenomenon: build it and people will speak in headlines. On the other side of the spectrum, you have those who argue that micro-blogging sites have formed in response to our jam-packed lives and the resulting need to communicate more efficiently.
Which came first, the chicken or the egg? Did technology force communication brevity or did technology simply evolve to address the need? Answer: It doesn’t matter. The force that brought us here is irrelevant; the fact is we’re here. We’ve become a society that demands more and more input across more and more channels, which has fuelled our collective information Attention Deficit Disorder.
Following suit, most bloggers are increasing their production with shorter, pithier and more headline-grabbing copy, which I will argue makes it near impossible to provide true thought-leadership. In fact, pundits claim that “thought-leadership” has become such a buzzword or business jargon that it – and the channels that claim to provide it – lack any true value.
The term was coined in 1994 by Joel Kurtzman, editor-in-chief for Strategy & Business magazine. The concept was to illustrate business leaders and their innovative ideas or business theories. Traditionally businesses and scholars have attempted to share thought-leadership through whitepapers, books and/or seminars, which required a thorough deep-dive into specific practices. Their goal was to educate the audience and impart the earned wisdom of the practitioner. This term and concept used to be reserved for people with years of proven experience. Fast forward to today and the term “thought leadership” is thrown around like barbeque sauce at a county fair Rib Festival.
Have Blog, Will Provide Thought Leadership. Or not, whatever.
Recent studies show that there are over 164 million blogs on the Internet and over 123 million people who read blogs. See where this is going?
The greater the data sources provided the more we seek to absorb, regardless of the quality or content. As a result, there is less quality being shared and more headlines in an increasing array of formats. We blog, we tweet, we pin, we share, we podcast. We give thumbs up, bumps up, and rate our virtual high-fives across a dozen devices connected to our homes, cars, offices and body parts.
Businesses are quick to capitlize on corporate blogging but, it seems, with an eye towards brand awareness and customer acquisition. Using blogging for true thought leadership would require a greater investment research, writing talent, and real-life experience testing the theories promoted. More importantly, it requires a bigger time investment on the part of the prospective customer, which current trends indicate is a price they’re not willing to pay.
With so much emphasis on volume, speed and brevity can a blog truly provide thought leadership anymore? Have blogs been relegated to thought-provocation instead of leadership? Is that enough? What say you? Join the debate; Agree/Disagree?
Sam Fiorella – Sensei
Feed Your Community, Not Your Ego