A Blog is More than a Leaf in a Lifestream

A Blog is More than a Leaf in a Lifestream
Steve Rubel about marketing and business model...
Image by pellesten via Flickr

Last week, Steve Rubel of the Micro Persuasion blog announced that he was ditching his blog and moving over to a lifestream powered by Posterous. An inspired move or an act of lunacy? Opinion is divided on that one.

What I would like to know is – what’s the difference between a blog and a lifestream? I don’t really see much of a difference and here’s why.

For starters, both a blog and a lifestream pretty much serve the same function – to inform your readers of weblinks, post YouTube videos and give your opinions on any given subject. Whether those posts originate from WordPress or from another platform such as Posterous doesn’t make much difference. Whether you do it from a blogging platform such as Blogger or emailing from your Gmail account, you are still publishing posts. So a lifestream is still a blog in this respect.

Second, if you are publishing posts via a blogging platform, they can still be automatically sent to a lifestreaming site such as Friendfeed if you want to indulge in lifestreaming too. Yes you can do both! If you want that lifestream back on your blog, Friendfeed provides the widgets for it. But publishing a lifestream and then sending it to another lifestreaming site such as Friendfeed is rather counter-productive don’t you think? Lifestreaming the lifestream?

What bloggers should be doing these days is trying to stand out from the crowd by building their own site brand and promoting the hell out of it. Lifestreaming is rather anonymous in certain respects in that you are not “pushing” a brand name along with those posts. A lot of people who read blogs regularly heard of “Micro Persuasion” and they all linked to it pushing the MP entries to the top of the search results. How many people are going to remember the term “Steve Rubel Lifestream”? Not as many who knew Micro Persuasion because first of all it is not a very catchy title is it? Second, how fast will lifestreaming results get to the top of Google? I bet not as fast as a WordPress blog entry.

Which leads to a reason why Steve was so crazy to stop blogging – he is throwing away a well established blog with a well established name. All those years of work down the drain, all those carefully cultivated links now going to waste. He is starting completely from scratch and all for what? To stay on top of the latest trend to hit the internet? Wouldn’t it be better instead to work on a profitable well-linked blog that everyone knows and respects?

Steve and other lifestreamers claim “the blog is dead. Long live lifestreaming!” Where is the evidence for the demise of blogs? Last time I checked, the big blogs were alive and kicking. Other blogs are still doing fantastically well provided the owner(s) put the required amount of effort into them. Posterous has hardly been here for very long and already Steve wants to throw away a popular site and entrust his content to the new kid on the block, one who can’t prove that they will be around this time next year. I hope Posterous has an excellent backup and exporting option.

Lifestreaming is just the latest trend to hit the internet and in some respects it can get a little boring and tedious. Who wants to know every single thought that goes through a person’s mind? Long thoughtful helpful posts are much better any day of the week and they can generate the most linkbacks and comments. A 140 character Twitter entry on how you’re feeling that day or a hastily slapped together few lines won’t.

When lifestreaming stops being the latest trend and the music suddenly stops, where will that leave the lifestreamers like Steve? What if Posterous suddenly goes bankrupt and belly up? That’s right – back at the beginning again, looking to find the next trend train to jump onto. Is it just me or is that just downright tiring, constantly starting and restarting your web presence as one company goes bust and another wannabe pretender comes along to take their place? Meanwhile the blogs that didn’t jump on the lifestreaming bandwagon are breezing along nicely with nice healthy pagerank and good name recognition.

I think I’ll just stick with the blog, thanks very much.

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