Twitter or Blogging? Are You a Sprinter or Marathoner?

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The blog is dead. SEO is dead. Social Media has changed everything. No, blogging and SEO aren’t dead: they just have new life. Social Media hasn’t killed blogging: it’s opened up a whole array of possibilities. Twitter may be easy and there are many recent entrants onto Twitter who argue that Twitter is a great entrance into social media, especially for “noobies”. There are of course other arguments against that. There’s no right or wrong answer but let’s take a quick look at sprinting versus marathoning.


No doubt: Twitter has taken off. It’s a great networking, discovery and sharing medium. I can go on about the shine of Twitter, but since so much has been written about those, I’ll refer you to Google.

I’ve been a fanboy of Twitter since the early days. But I’ve noticed lately that – for some – Twitter has become a seduction: unlike blogging which takes time, effort, patience and endurance, Twitter offers a rapid way to connect with others and share your message in a conversational manner. It’s very easy to embed Twitter into your life and your business – and in some cases I believe it can create the illusion that having an online presence is as simple as having a pushbutton.

Here’s the thing. Twitter is like sprinting: you can swiftly connect with others, with hundreds or thousands. But sooner or later, you’ll run out of breath sprinting all day.

Another way to think of Twitter is to think of it as a stream coursing through a large landscape. Do you spend most of your time in the stream without exploring and tending to the rest of the landscape? What happens if the river runs dry? (Twitter’s architecture is one of the worst in Silicon Valley – what would you do if Twitter lost your data, went “poof”? – It may be unlikely, but it’s something to think about: do you have a backup for your social graph, especially when online networks are in the Cloud?)

Twitter’s an important tool. But knowing how to use a hammer doesn’t make you a carpenter. And a home is what you need to build, a place you can invite guests.

Twitter’s seduction is this: you can connect to thousands of people and have a valuable level of ambient intimacy with them. But how deep are the relationships? Will you be able to sustain the endurance needed for meaningful relationships by relying on Twitter?


In the recent months & years since Twitter landed, many bloggers have expressed a concern about Twitter’s effect on their blogging habits. Some have even given up on their blogs entirely. Others,on the other hand, say that Twitter has enhanced their blogging. The reason those bloggers successfully integrated their tweeting with blogging is because they’re passionate about blogging: in other words, they’re marathoners. They understand that relationship building involves considerable effort.

Many companies – especially in Healthcare and Pharma have shied away from blogging: for years they have avoided blogging. Now Twitter came along and many organizations are finally “getting” Twitter and building their tribes (although most still just blast out self-adulating links without even a single acknowledgment of their followers – bad form indeed). So now we may have many companies who have never blogged investing their social media efforts in Twitter and other networking services – Facebook being the largest. Good on them for trying.

(Sidenote: If you’re in health care, I recommend following  @LeeAase who’s doing a great job teaching about Twitter; if you’re in Pharma, I recommend following  @Shwen for breadth of knowledge and  @Pharmaguy for content, fire-starting and humor (and he’s a solid blogger).)

But if you’re leading your social media presence activities and haven’t blogged (or aren’t blogging) you may be forgoing important characteristics of long-term engagement with your stakeholders: discipline and perseverance.

Blogging takes time. It requires passion about your message and the community who listens – and a place you can invite your tibe to speak their mind so that you can earnestly listen to them. It forces you to steadfastly focus on the most important things. And because Content is still King, blogging produces the content that houses your primary message (I use message instead of brand: because every business has a story to tell – and you can tell your story on your blog).

If you’re new to social media and have started tweeting, congratulations. Welcome to the 21st Century. But take a step back and look at the larger scene of your story. Have you developed that discipline necessary to be remarkable across your entire social spectrum? Do you know how to handle trolls and insults and ambushes? Do you know how to connect with other bloggers who may be telling their version of your story?


You will have to decide where to begin. It’s easy to start Twitter and you’ll gain value from it if you follow the right people and plunge into the experience. Just don’t drown.

Just because you start with Twitter, don’t think it will be easy to blog thereafter. Maybe you’ll take to it like a duck to water. But if statistics are any worth, you may find yourself hopelessly addicted to Twitter at the expense of keeping up with your house chores.

If you want to re-consider blogging and get your start here are two recommended leaders in the field: Darren Rowse’s Problogger and Brian Clark’s Copyblogger.

Blogging has more challenging costs up-front than Twitter – not financially, but spiritually. Learning to speak in 140 characters is an important skill in our ever-changing world. But telling a story and having a place you can call home: priceless.


PS: If you think Twitter’s the new shiny toy, just see what happens to Facebook once the FriendFeed team brings their real-time engineering along. There’s a war going on among Google, Facebook, Twitter (and even Microsoft) and you’re in the middle of it. Nobody knows what Silicon Valley will look like in five years. Invest in your social spaces mindfully.

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Components of Hospital Branding: A Rant

Along the lines of social capital, I’ve thought about hospital branding and why it’s an important part of any health care system. Marketing has a bad reputation (and deservedly so in part), but it’s a critical feature of delivering the values of any organization.

This morning, I saw some tweets about branding, and I was spirited with this.

Beyond the colorful jest, there are points to be made. What follows is my rant on hospital branding:

How do you feel about this. I’d like to hear from you professional marketers. Is this delusional? Or am I on to something important?

[Link to video if it’s not viewable here.]

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A Thank You To My Subscribers

Thank you for subscribing to, and participating in, my little show about nothing. I know some of you read the posts here for several different reasons: many for my healthcare posts, others for my weird but somewhat philosophically investigative takes on disparate topics like Twitter and LSD.

I started this blog a little over a year ago for several reasons, including an interest in how the web and the technologies and communities it weaves influence us all. I wanted a basecamp for my corner of the web and chose to blog primarily under my own vanity domain because I have such an insanely diverse array of curiosities and experiences.

One area of interest that seemed to occupy my attention was how the health care industry could improve its presence on the web. After playing around over the years with different kinds of social media, I came to appreciate Twitter most of all. I can’t exactly put my finger on it, but I felt that Twitter was a disturbance in the force, a disrupting community-building technology that would eventually come to change how we communicate, how we collaborate, how we interact with other technologies. So very early on, I set my thoughts on how Twitter (or its analogues) could fit into healthcare.

I didn’t know many healthcare peeps who were deeply involved with the newly evolved online tools and communities. And from scanning the healthcare blogging scene, I was kind of disappointed with how far behind the healthcare blogosphere seemed to be. After a year, I know a lot more healthcare peeps who seem sincerely passionate about bringing social media to healthcare (or perhaps I should say healthcare to social media). I plan on a future post citing some of you who have entered my network. I feel fortunate to have had honorable encouragement. For now, know that I hold gratitude to new friends.

I consider myself a mediocre polymath: a review of my career will reveal that I’m largely a chameleon. I simply can’t settle on one trajectory in the way that our culture inculcates us to set into. My curiosities are too wide and deep to niche myself to death. Still, we all need a focus. I expect that my future blogging and tweeting will reflect the changes which I’ll undertake in the months and years ahead. This is a relentless century: we all need to keep building and working and networking and changing.

Earlier this year, I formed a corporation to house my business interests. In between working full-time as a contractor, a husband and father, it’s challenging to get a business rolling. These are interesting times and I believe now is the best time to start a business. As interesting developments transpire, I will keep you posted.

In the meantime, I invite you to comment on my blogging. I ask you:

  • If my posts (or if you’re following me on Twitter, my tweets) interest you , why?
  • Am I too “all over the place” or do you actually prefer diversity of content?
  • Are there any topics you’d like me to write about?
  • What are your least and most favorite posts?
  • What strengths, perspectives or themes do you find most worthy of building upon?

I welcome your feedback.

Again, thank you for being here. It’s been a pleasure to read your comments and since  Twitter is my favorite place to hang out, I’m glad you’re there with me too. Cheers!



(Oh, and btw in recent days, I’ve had a renewed interest in FriendFeed. I’ll give it a couple of weeks and see if I”m still interested. I’ll let you know if I glean any insights into its use or uselessness.)

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