Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Blogging vs. Twitter

Most advisors who’ve begun to make use of social media find it easier and more immediate to use Facebook or Twitter to reach out to their clients, as opposed to putting items on their own site, such as in a blog. And make no mistake: Facebook and Twitter and LinkedIn and all the rest are excellent ways to get your name and expertise in front of people.

But it’s important to realize the limitations of these media. It’s not just that there’s a practical limit to how much you can communicate in a status update or a tweet. Let’s take a look at my own personal Twitter feed: I’m following 48 people, which I don’t think is outlandishly high. If I click on the MORE button at the bottom of the page, I get taken back to tweets from four hours ago.

Now, imagine someone had tweeted something yesterday, a link to an article that might really help me clarify my thinking on an estate planning issue. Maybe I thought, well, I don’t have time to read that now, but I sure should check that out. This morning, how easy is it going to be for me to find that? I can keep clicking MORE till I’m blue in the face, or I can search for the hashtag #estate, but either way there’s no guarantee I’ll find it. Maybe the readers are savvy enough to find their way to their advisor's Twitter home page, but maybe they’re not.

If I can go to that advisor’s blog, though, it’s liable to still be right on the front page. Or there’ll be a search box at the top, and I can type in “estate” and find the post immediately. And even if you run into the dreaded link rot – where the links you’ve posted are no longer operable, because the story or site you linked to no longer exists in cyberspace – your explanation of the issue will still exist. In short, what you can get from blogging that is hard to come by on Twitter is permanence.

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