Since When Are Blogs Not Social Media?

image of social networking logos

I’ve noticed a weird trend lately.

For some reason, people seem to be equating social media with social networking.

At the same time, they seem to be treating blogs as something other than social media.

I find this very strange indeed.

For example, here the author proclaims that he’s quitting social media and gives his reasons why. But he goes on to state that he’ll continue to produce content on his own blog.

So what exactly is he quitting?

At least once a year, various pundits declare ponderously that blogs are dead … usually killed by some platform that we label as “social media.” One year it’s Facebook, another it’s Twitter, then it’s Google+. The platforms seem to change a lot more quickly than the arguments.

Those declarations are built, at least in part, on the mistaken notion that blogging and social media are different and distinct things.

Blogs are social (and alternative) media

First, let’s look at a definition. In the case of social media, I think even Wikipedia can be trusted:

At its most basic sense, social media is a shift in how people discover, read and share news, information and content. Technologies include: blogs, picture-sharing, vlogs, wall-postings, email, instant messaging, music-sharing, crowdsourcing, and voice over IP, to name a few.

In fact, it’s a fairly easy case that blogs were the first modern form of social media. I say “modern” because many would argue that social media started pre-web with Usenet, Internet Relay Chat, and BBS systems. Heck, the most popular part of lame ol’ America Online was the cyber-sex socializing in the chat rooms.

So in the “modern” social media sense, blogs came way before social networking exploded with Facebook and Twitter. Blogs pioneered social media well before MySpace and Friendster came and went.

(You remember MySpace and Friendster, don’t you? No? Well, they were massive social networks that were far too big, popular, and well-entrenched to ever fail. Ahem.)

One thing you’ll notice in the definition above is the emphasis on content. Not just user-generated chatty content, but the production of content that is an alternative to traditional media AND that benefits from interlinked conversation and comments.

Maybe the fact that “old media” has co-opted those aspects of blogs is the reason that some people no longer see blogging as social media. I think that’s a bit silly.

Media producer versus social networker

Maybe I’ve got it wrong, but the fascinating part of social media to me is not just the social networking.

It’s the fact that anyone willing to put in the work can become a media producer/personality without speaking a word to anyone in the existing media power centers of Los Angeles, New York, et al.

Your own site (on your own domain) is simply the best way to publish new media content. And social media news and networking sites are the ways that your content gets exposure. It’s not money and geography that determines if your content spreads … it just has to be deemed good enough to be shared by regular people.

If you want to become a music journalist, no one in LA or NYC can tell you no. If you want a shot at becoming an actress or celebrity without enduring casting couch sexual harassment, you can absolutely go for it and succeed.

From a more practical standpoint, using social media in terms of “media production” is what content marketing is all about. Producing content and having something related to sell is one way where free content pays for itself big time.

When you think like a media producer in this brave new social media world, it’s your content that social networkers are sharing and promoting, and that translates into your cash. If you’re only social networking, you’re only someone’s user-generated content, and even your digital overlord struggles to make money.

What’s the point?

Honestly, I’m not sure. I just see so much unnecessary confusion out there.

What do you think?

  • Is it because people with vested interests in confusion portray social media as something radically new when it’s mostly an evolution of the old?
  • Should I simply quit worrying about it and stick with those of you who get it?
  • What do you think about tofu? Tasty or nasty?

Editor’s Note: This is a Copyblogger Classic post, originally published in July, 2009. We’ll be republishing classic content from the archives from time to time, updated — as this post has been — to be sure the advice is as relevant as ever.

About the author

Brian Clark


Brian Clark is founder and CEO of Copyblogger, and uncompromising evangelist for the Rainmaker Platform. Get more from Brian on .

Print Friendly

Smarter is Better Solutions for Smarter Content Marketing

Here’s what we’ve got for you:

  • 15 high-impact ebooks on content marketing, SEO, email marketing, landing pages, keyword research, and more.
  • A 20-part Internet marketing course that lays out a comprehensive path for your own online strategy.
  • An organized reference guide to the “best of the best” of Copyblogger.com, and how it all profitably fits together.
Free Registration

Take The Conversation Further ...

We'd love to know your thoughts on this article.
Meet us over on Twitter or LinkedIn to join the conversation right now!

Comments

  1. Blogs and social networks are merely tools used to encourage interaction. Social media encompasses so much more. When I was a community manager I was frustrated by all of the folks who thought my job was only hanging out on Twitter. These things are only tools which are meant to build relationships – and those relationships are then used to take businesses, products, services and even personal branding to whole new levels.

  2. From a personal standpoint, I think that people read way to much into all of this ‘the blog is dead’. Totally agree that blogs = social media and yes there are a lot of ‘so called’ experts / who have a vested interest in the confusion.

    Yes you should probably quit worrying about it, but I know you won’t as there are always folks out there that you can help to ‘get it’

    As for Tofu; I haven’t the faintest idea

  3. Blogs are social (people share and comment) and are a form of new media as well (IT). So to me, there’s no doubt as to the answer to that question.

  4. People who sit there trying to proclaim certain things dead, or think that they get it and everyone else is doing it wrong are expending their energy in the wrong places, while others are doing things that serves a purpose and gets the needles in business moving forward.

    It’s been happening and it will continue to do so even when social media is no longer deemed the ‘shiny new toy’ (which is hopefully soon).

    It’s an interesting topic to debate but I’d rather eat tofu, even with its funky texture.

  5. Perhaps there’s a distinction in some people’s minds because blogs have become more ‘established’ or main stream. Who doesn’t have a blog? They’ve basically taken over the web – a weird perspective because twitter et all is becoming pretty mainstream too – this is clear when the British Monarchy tells us they’ve joined twitter too…

    Another point is, with all the wordpress pluggins, Blogs have become so much more than one persons daily journal – blogs are evolving and sitting firmly in the middle of the social media stream.

    All food for thought….

    Andrew

  6. To me, a blog is one of the best (if not quintessential) “social media” tools.

    The “blogosphere” is not a concept that is as easy to grasp as the beautiful networks one can create through Facebook or LinkedIn, but it really shines when comes the time to actually build relationships with readers and other contributors

    I think this new “trend” is mostly due to the “newer” technologies such as Twitter and Facebook… and in no small part due to the media (and marketers) need to create shocking and interesting titles.

    I remember an old Byte magazine cover page that asked the bold question: “Will XML replace ASCII” ?

  7. It is strange that some people think blogs are not social media, when bloggers have droned on about “the conversation” for so long :)

    If you hang out in the comment areas of Reddit and Digg though you will see the anti-blog feeling from a vocal part of those communities, perhaps this is partly where the idea comes from.

    Sadly those folks do not realize a lot of the “websites” they visit are built with WordPress … they just do not use the b-word in the site name …

  8. I’m not sure if anyone remembers a series of niche sites that were around in 1996 that are basically the same as Facebook, MySpace, and have many of the functions of a Twitter. AsianAvenue, BlackPlanet, Black Voices, and Mi Genté were the facebooks and myspaces of the web suring the pre-crash of the Dot.com era. Like the same social media of today, they diminished because of the still-yet-figured-out formulation of monetizing the social media and the web in general.

  9. Brian, grab the url socialtofu.com and let’s debate both there! :)

  10. Hey Brian – fantastic post. When I talk to or guide people in things ‘social media’ I include: blogs, social networking and social bookmarking sites as the holy trinity.

    The coolest thing though is that the lines are blurring. Blogs are a great place to network – via comments, guest posts, etc.; and a great place to social bookmark by linking out.

    Social networks allow people to ‘blog’ by stating their ideas and beliefs in status updates and profiles and linking in their blogs to their network page with blog apps; and social networks obviously include tons of link sharing.

    Social bookmarking – same thing – you can ‘blog’ in comments, reviews and profiles; and network by creating communities for sharing.

    Thanks as always for all the sharing that you do!

  11. If blogging is still in good health, then let’s move on to the next controversy and let go of this one.

  12. I hate the term social media. One because every man and his dog are jumping on the term. Social media this social media that. Can’t wait for the day when I browse the web and it *doesn’t* popup. Congrats to however coined the phrase but essentially the web in 1990 still had Wiki’s and blogs – but the term itself wasn’t mainstream. Do a Google insight search and watch the explosion – whats alongside the results? New articles on social NETWORKS being bought for crazy money..you can pretty much correlate that to the bandwagon hoping. Perhaps this is how and where your learned friend is getting mistaken.

  13. I don’t think it’s as sophisticated as “vested interests in confusion” – just woolly thinking. :-)

    Definitely something sinister about tofu though.

  14. Brian,

    While blogs are indeed social media, they’re definitely of a different piece than Twitter, Facebook, MySpace, and whatnot. The “new” social media are generally more interactive but less driven by original content. Most blogs have evolved beyond being literal logs of what we see on the Web (InstaPundit is one of the few of those that have remained wildly popular) and are essentially self-published magazines or columns.

  15. Your probably right -ignore me. Having one of those days. The cynic in me is on overdrive. :o)

  16. Brian I think confusion rises and falls in waves – probably as waves of people come into the sphere of blogs / forums and networking sites.

    Also I notice journalists talking a lot of nonsense about web 2.0…I guess they’re nervous for their job security and disrespecting web 2.0 is to be expected.

    I just keep blogging, posting and sometimes tweeting!

    :-)

  17. The distinction, I think, is that many “blogs” are one-way communication devices. Comments are turned off, feedback is discouraged, and community doesn’t exist.

    If a blog serves as a gathering point, then it’s social media. But a large percentage of them don’t.

  18. Quitting social media but continuing to blog? That’s like saying you’re quitting eating meat but will continue to eat bacon — the best part of it all.

  19. Blogs are social media except when some “a-lister” blogger decides that they don’t like the phrase social media. Or when they decide to say blogs are something other than social media.

    Blogs were social media before social media was. Blogging transformed the boring old static website into a way for people and businesses to actually carry on a conversation with their audience. What is more social than that?

  20. I can’t help but wonder what percentage of people actually care. I’m as sure we all do, as I’m sure we all make some sort of living providing internet related services. If I were to ask this question to my clients which are attorneys, the most likely response would be “what?”
    Let’s all be thankful that our clients prefer to trust us on strategies!

  21. This post has literally made my day! A clarification that needs to be made right when some are proclaiming the death of blogging in times to come.

    Upon deciding my blog niche to be social media related months ago, I was having a hard time deciding the blog title. I was hoping to make it a comprehensive social media guide (which includes blogging), but the term has become so widely used and focus on certain media that I had to make it as ‘Social @ Blogging Tracker’ ( the @ = or ), just so people would realize blogging will be discussed, at the same time SEO friendly as well. Now come to think of it, this act of ‘prevention’ kinda make people misunderstood it even more to be a separate issue!

    It’s ironic sometimes. But no doubt about blogging IS indeed a type of social media. Period.

    @wchingya

  22. I guess I missed the memo about the words “Social Media” being something important…maybe I’m older than the official cutoff point for relevancy.

    The phrase always struck me as being in the same category as “Web 2.0″ or, from olden days, “Workgroup Computing” – more important as a stand-alone phrase than as a descriptor.

    Your mileage may vary, of course.

  23. Brian, EXCELLENT post! When I work with clients, I talk about using social media marketing strategies… blogs included. While I agree with folks that everyone can have a blog, there are blogs and, well, there are BLOGS. I am confining the rest of my comments to business and technically-oriented blogs here. The blogs that offer an enduring value to their readers try to teach, inform, inspire, communicate and learn from their readership. Those blogs are well-crafted, based on the rules of engagement of the Internet. If one is serious about using any form of social media, including blogging, to build brand awareness and business relationships, they’d better have a plan vs. make-it-up-as-you-go strategy. So content really matters as one builds brand awarenes, readership and business. Social networking, to me, is the adoption and usership of social media sites. It’s a means to an end, not an end in itself.

  24. John, I don’t really see this as any sort of controversy. As others have pointed out, I think it’s a factor of a lot of new people being greeted with a lot of hype and noise.

    There are 17,000 new Copyblogger subscribers this year so far, and I’m betting more than a few of them were confused. Helping the new people without running off the veterans is a challenge we face here, so thanks for your patience. :)

  25. Stick to your guns, Brian. It’s obvious from the number of comments RIGHT HERE that blogs do build communities. In fact, I’ve found the groups that cluster around key bloggers much more engaging and interesting than many of the self-consciously created “networking” groups formed on LinkedIn, which tend to be loaded with spam.

  26. Mark, go listen to some “social media consultants” for a bit… I don’t see any effort to make things dead simple, since that might cost them the business. ;)

    Paul, I think you have a good point, and again, it’s similar to the noise the pundits and consultants made about how the world had turned upside down thanks to e-commerce in the late 90s… and we know how that turned out.

    James, yes, many blogs have become like magazines (including this one), but that’s also part of my point… we’re outside the traditional media structure and rely on the crowd to make or break us… not some out-of-touch executive.

    Matt, and yet some of those “comments closed” blogs still spark conversation on other blogs every day… take Seth Godin for instance.

    David, ah, the old “keep ‘em in the dark” strategy. Your attorney does the same to you. ;)

  27. On Tofu – the answer is neither.

    Tofu is about what you do with it. Think of it as an empty shell that takes on the flavor and spice you add to it.

    Sorta like a blog.

  28. Brian – I’m in the dark how not using vague buzzwords causes abuse, but what do I know…

  29. Great post, I’m in complete agreement. I think those that try to separate and classify — have a completely wrong view of social media in the first place. They’re using SM as tactical tools and classifying to systemize… Big mistake. Blogging is social media (in my opinion one of the core pieces of the SM picture) and it’s far from dead. Platforms like WordPress make blogging much more dynamic and perfectly suited for social web activities. Great post!

  30. Adam, thanks for addressing the tofu question… too many people seem to want to discuss this silly social media stuff. ;)

    And David, as much as we would love the world to adapt to our personal viewpoints, alas, it rarely does.

    The term “social media” is in heavy use these days, and that isn’t going away. I can either try to add clarity to the situation (which is my job, after all) or I can choose to be an egomaniac who refuses to engage in the vernacular and discourse of the times.

    I’ve obviously chosen the former. You’re free to do as you wish as well. Not that you’d be an egomaniac if you don’t use the term “social media”… only that I would be given the focus of this publication.

  31. Quote
    “Matt Baker July 10, 2009 at 10:37 am
    The distinction, I think, is that many “blogs” are one-way communication devices. Comments are turned off, feedback is discouraged, and community doesn’t exist.
    If a blog serves as a gathering point, then it’s social media. But a large percentage of them don’t.”end quote.

    The other side of Matt Baker’s comment jumped out at me,
    a blogger who hopes for community and invites comments without being much of a gathering point…yet.

    I do know that it takes time to engage a segment of the social media community and that’s OK … I can ‘take a sad
    song and make it better’

    Fran :)

  32. Perhaps the confusion simply stems from the fact that “social” is part of both terms (“social media” and “social networking”). Sometimes I think people see/hear the word “social” and assume the two terms are interchangeable. Then, as others have noted, because blogging is “older” and not like Twitter/Facebook, “it can’t possibly be social media,” they deduce.

    Thanks for your post. No, you probably shouldn’t worry about it any more (although imprecise use of language will always be a concern to writers/editors). And tofu? Well, thank goodness it tastes better than it looks.

  33. Hmm… I only know of Social Media consultants. I don’t see any Social Networking consultants around…

    Let’s just eat. Tofu anyone?

  34. You’ve made your excellent point and that’s all that matters.

  35. You could simply say that social media is the use of various media to socialize.

    It is sad how much jargon there is on the this subject. Think of all the time people are wasting in their lives to write all this stuff. Writing whole articles to try to explain the difference between 3 things that are virtually the same thing!

    Amazing!

  36. I really, really hate tofu. Just saying.

  37. Huh.

    Now that it’s been pointed out to me, I have noticed that there’s always the distinction being made between blogs and social media…the ‘why’ of this probably lies in 2 reasons:

    1) Blogging is not the cool new thing anymore. It’s mainstream, for one (everyone talks about the influence of political blogs during U.S. election seasons) and the “old media” (traditional newspapers) usually have some form of a blog on their website. Social media is still the shiny new thing of the internet, so a line is drawn between the normal things (blogging) and the new ones (social media).

    2) Social media is usually associated with sites like Twitter & Facebook, which place an emphasis on connecting & communicating to other people. There’s this feeling that blogging is a little more impersonal – which I don’t agree with. One of my favourite blogs has a group of devoted commentors who’ve been following it for years. Everyone reads everyone else’s blogs. It’s like an extended family.

    Social media really grew from blogging, though. Many social media sites are built around sharing great content from around the web (basically a way to filter out the junk and focus on things that have demonstrated value) and most of the time this content is culled from blogs. If you look at popular links on Delicious…aren’t they all blogs?

    The ease of setting up and writing a blog → the mentality of publishing your life and sites that are basically blogging in a different form (Twitter updates?).

    Commenting on blogs (it’s not just a blog writer that can produce content, but the ‘consumers’ of the blog too) → an interactive community (social networks) where everyone participates.

    Now, see, if I wanted to share my opinion about tofu, I could do it through a blog post, or Twitter, or Facebook. Same message, different mediums. ;)

  38. I noticed that trend too. It is like people equate social media with social networking and bookmarking sites (e.g., MySpace, Digg and the like).

    Even the good old bulletin boards are social media if you think about it.

  39. I was just thinkin’ about this Brian (actually while outlining a social media/seo strategy for a blog design client) and you can see how clearly why the open interactive element in blogging is the main reason for it’s success. When you take a wider view at it and you actually look at it, all the mystery around seo/social media is kinda funny. Not so much because it isn’t a bit complicated, cause it can be of course, but because the basic functionality is so simple!

    i want to see an article about the “people with vested interests in confusion…” this is an interesting subject indeed!

    if there’s no confusion about it…..what happens to the marketing agencies …?

    oh whoops might be shooting myself in the foot here… ; )

    p.s. tofu is totally overrated unless you buy it direct from the chinatown tofu makers on canal st. near pearl in new york… totally awesome

  40. From the sidebar:

    0 people follow Copyblogger on Twitter. Join us!

    Brian,

    It appears that your refusal to take a stand on tofu has cost you in some social media spheres. I wish you well with this blog-thingy, you’re gonna need it.

    ;)

    Regards,

    Kelly

  41. I agree. Blogs are a form of Social Media and so is social networking (i.e. facebook, myspace, etc). Social networking was derived from blogs – like Protestants is an offshoot of Christianity (sorry, can’t think other examples at the moment). The difference between the two is the use of technology where you can use your mobile phones to “tweet”/comment when “social networking” started.

    Oh, and I love tofu.

  42. Very well said Brian.

    I can’t believe I never considered my simple act of blogging as a form of social media. I still separated the purpose of Twitter, Facebook, and Digg from the purpose of my blog when they are in fact the same.

    My blog’s entire existence and success depends upon the community it nurtures and the conversations it entices. Twitter is merely one channel through which people can stay in touch with me, but my blog is the actual platform for my relationship building.

    Fantastic point Brian! Oh, I only like tofu when it’s in Miso Soup.

  43. I’ve thought about this whole “what is social media?” question quite a bit. (Even posted a video about it this week.) Here’s my simpler-than-Wikipedia definition:

    communication platforms publishing user-generated content that allow some level of user interaction

    Blogs are totally a subset of social media. This huge comment stream proves it.

  44. Tofu: by and large, for the birds.

    I, personally, am annoyed by the vague buzzword “Internet.” What’s that supposed to mean, anyway? I can’t make heads of tails of it, clearly anybody who talks about it is a charlatan. Damned kids and their jargon.

    Also, get off my lawn.

  45. After a bit of thought, here’s what I end up with :

    A blog is social media.

    But it requires active work in order for it to become social networking.

    Twitter and Facebook, by design, are more obviously about networking.

  46. F**k social media and F**k TOFU!!!

    Just kidding. I never actually ate tofu so I can’t judge it. Social media, social networking, professional networking, blogs, internet all made up words designed to keep your mind occupied while the large business interests run off with all the money.

  47. Or in the case of Twitter, ran off with all of the not-money.

  48. I noticed that trend as well. However, I agree with you. blogs are definitely social media. I’m sorry, but does anyone actually blog with the intent *not* to be social? for no one to read it and comment back? I don’t think so. Blogs are meant to be social and to facilitate conversations and such. Thanks Brian, good post.

  49. “Since When Are Blogs Not Social Media?”
    Does it matter? The bottom line, surely, is whether or not blogging helps you achieve your objectives?

  50. Good post. With the continued SEO aspects of blogging not to mention that Twitter is a micro-BLOG and the fact that your other SM often links back to your blog, the notion that the blog is outside of SM is wack. In fact, I have been building two websites for my copy and my SM businesses. Copy on godaddy – way difficult. However, building on the blog-based WordPress for my SM biz was fast and easy. i see blogs becoming even MORE important.

  51. Well I guess I’ll have to sound naive but I didn’t realize blogs were social media. Considering blogs have been around for a few years and the term social media has just recently come into play. A blog, usually one but sometimes more than one person posts on ‘one’ page. Social media networks and communities are different, multiple people post on multiple pages and add all kinds of media to it.

    I’m not saying I’m right, you undoubtedly know more than me about this stuff but the others who didn’t realize blogs were social media probably think something like me.

  52. Callista, no worries if you didn’t know blogs were considered social media (that’s why I wrote the post :) ).

    Just for perspective, the term “social media” has been in use for the last 5-6 years (actually longer, but I don’t know exactly how far back… that’s just when I tuned into it). For example, in the early days of Copyblogger (January 2006), the term was in solid use, and I and other bloggers at the time used the term social media to mean blogs and social media news sites like Digg, Reddit and bookmarking sites like Delicious.

    So, it’s not that the term “social media” has recently come into play, it’s more that the term has recently gone mainstream. Which for a lot of people is the same difference. ;)

  53. Also, just remembered that the very first social networking site was Six Degrees in 1997. It didn’t do very well, but it later inspired Friendster. MySpace was a more successful version of 90s “free homepage” concepts Homesteader and Geocities.

  54. The lines between websites, social media, blogs, social bookmarking, contributions, forums, and pretty much everything else have blurred. And I think this is a very good thing for everyone, we can easily integrate everything with everything else, and makes fact verifying and sharing easier than it has ever been before.

    Like it or not, the web has been headed towards this for a long time, and there’s still a ways to go but it will just get more and more integrated.

  55. Great post Brian.

    It is interesting how this post was promoted and promoted on social media outlets like Twitter. It seems people are blogging less. But like Jamie said just above this comment, the lines between traditional blogging and other forms are becoming blurred. Its all blogging now. The good blogger does it all.

    Ramsay

  56. Case in point:

    Here is a Copyblogger article that uses the term “social media” back in 2006 and is directly related to blogging… and a now seemingly retired word… linkbaiting.

    http://www.copyblogger.com/increase-web-traffic/

    And speaking of linkbaiting… when are you bringing that back Brian?

  57. “without waiting for Oprah to call”, I really like that. If a blog has an author and one visitor, it is social.

  58. I was so busy keeping up with my social media friends that Adam Schwartz beat me to it with his comment:

    “Tofu is about what you do with it. Think of it as an empty shell that takes on the flavor and spice you add to it.”

    The old social media was the phone call and hanging out in person, building relationships, sharing information, and the new (capital S) Social (capital M) Media has become a buzzword that would quite possibly confuse the heck out of my mom (who’s an expert at the old social media).

    As far as tofu (like blogs), it depends on the skill of the cook. Nobody I know likes plain chicken, either…

  59. Dang, this was a good post. Real Good. Solid points, and made some good points whether you knew it or not. This is a quality piece of work, enough so that I am going to make a post responding to this. Expect a linkback and a quality “postback”. :)

  60. Brian,

    Interesting points. I believe, if anything, because blogging was first it has evolved the most, and the “blog” can do different things for different people. A lot of what you read about “how to blog” focuses on how you can use them to make money. However, they are inherently social and open up a two-way communication between a reader and an author, as we all know.

    They can be used in a variety of ways and support a variety of formats. I’ve been specifically focusing on business uses over at my blog, and as a blogger my interests lie in providing good content for my customers first, prospects second, and everyone else third. That order might be different for different people, and it would cause them to establish perhaps a different strategy than what I use.

    I think it’s just more of an established part of a larger social media toolset. The latest electric drill might have all the bells and whistles, but the good old hand crank gets the job done well, especially when the power’s out.

    Thanks!

  61. Then surely Forums would be social media too, and what about the days of BBS before the internet, before broadband.

  62. And still the only way to make money online is to sell products, directly or indirectly. Good post.

  63. Blogging IS networking in itself. Therefore, “social” interaction is very much a requirement for our line. And yep, I do agree with Harrison. Yet still, the only way to make serious online earning stream is to sell your products. Wait, that still requires a lot of Social Networking!

  64. The last thing I think you should do is stop worrying about this subject. I think it’s so important to continually educate people on this subject. Especially since all of this has gone mainstream, it becomes frustrating when you see people using the terms wrong.

    The more all of us educate people, more people will be inclined to produce unique & quality content on their “blogs”, twitter page, they’ll know to bookmark useful sites, etc.

    I think you did a great job backing up your point in this article as well. Always enjoy reading your stuff.

    And as far as tofu being tasty or nasty, I typically eat around it because it just gives me the heebie jeebies. I think Wikipedia can be trusted on this one too ;)

  65. IMHO…

    “Social” to me implies people interacting…well…socially. Media to me implies “format” or “forum”.

    Put the two together and that describes a blog pretty well, people interacting socially on a type of media.

    Tofu is just nasty by the way Brian.

  66. My mistake, I meant to say “medium” instead of media in the above post.

    On Wikipedia, blogs are listed in the “Examples” area…as quoted below:

    From: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Social_media
    “Examples

    Social media can take many different forms, including Internet forums, weblogs, social blogs, wikis, podcasts, pictures and video. Technologies include: blogs, picture-sharing, vlogs, wall-postings, email, instant messaging, music-sharing, crowdsourcing, and voice over IP, to name a few…”

  67. Those who regularly eat tofu during midlife have up to 2.4 times the risk of later developing Alzeimers. Stop eating tofu and feel five years younger.

  68. Alzheimers?

  69. I believe it to be so because people
    aren’t bothered by this.

    Personaly, untill now I thought social media
    included a TV, but it seems it doesn’t..hmmm

    Move on then…

    Igor

  70. Brian, I want to riff on something you said, “It’s the fact that anyone willing to put in the work can become a media producer/personality without speaking a word to anyone in the existing media power centers of Los Angeles, New York, et al.”

    People have NEVER had this kind of power over communication with millions (and even billions) of people. I was a TV News Director for many years and understood the impact we had by doing a relevant, hard news story, OR a soft and fluffy feature story. I always went for hard news because my background was Investigative Reporting. Government has changed, the Environment has changed, how we live our lives has changed because of communication.

    Bloggers have changed the face of the world. US politics, climate change, justice for the under-served. Bloggers have changed the world. Keep telling the truth, keep blogging.
    All my best to you,
    Tony Marino

  71. I think it’s good to talk about this, and thanks to Brian. the separating line between social media, networking sites, social bookmark etc is blurred, because they play almost the same role: connecting people.

  72. Blogging creates a level playing field.

    It’s the easiest way to self-publish. It can lead to making dough without going through a publisher. It gives power to the people.

    In a word it rocks.

    Tofu is pretty good. I like it. I also like meat. I’m multifaceted.

  73. I’m with you on this. And I’ll tell you something else. I am tired of the whole life streaming conversation. Okay, quit your blog for a life stream. You’ll lose me in the process. Now the beauty of this is that losing me is not something anyone has to care about really, as I am only one person. But there is a lot to be said about content with a beginning, middle and end.

  74. I agree with all that say that blogging IS social media. Matter of fact blogging is definitely at the heart of social media. Without blogging there would never have been a way for social networking sites to get their FREE content via RSS feeds. As much as I enjoy the social networking boom that is happening with Facebook, Linkedin and even Twitter, I enjoy both reading blogs and writing on my own blogs more.

    BTW Tofu should not be able to be called anything but a soy product, NOT a meat substitute. My wife on the other hand loves the stuff and would put it in every meal without my knowledge if she could.

  75. Tofu doesn’t have much flavour. Rather like a blog, it’s a medium. It gets flavour from the spices you put with it.

  76. Sometimes, it happens that people are not able to generate enough readership for their blogs; resulting in negligible comments and interactions. This state is indeed very painful for bloggers who took blogging for making contacts. Since social media allows a person to connect and share his stuff with others, people tend to use different sources (when blog fails) like Facebook or Twitter. Maybe such people who did not have a interactive & lively blog, will surely rate blog as not being a part of social media.

  77. Excellent post!!!

    I have been thinking a lot about social media and how to use it to to promote and develop church ministries an non-profits. There is so much that can be done!

    The key is to engage people with great content and then invite them to join the conversation. It cannot end with producing content.

    It must lead to a conversation. Don’t you think?

  78. where brian has gone???
    no post for 2 days :O

  79. I’ve been noticing that and thinking “hello – why would you want to participate in social media without a base component like blogging?”

    If you’re switching to lifestreaming that’s one thing – but I consider that a form of blogging anyway.

    To your questions. 1- “Is it because people ” – partly yes, and partly ignorance. it’s how you tell the boys from the men so to speak.

    2 “Should I simply …stick with those of you who get it?” No. You’ve been instrumental in educating people on some of the lost art of social media and blogging, I think you should keep doing that, IMHO. You’re certainly making my life easier.

    3- “tofu? Tasty or nasty?”

    TOTALLY depends on who makes it. I’ve had Tofu that I didn’t know wasn’t chicken until after I ate every bite. And Tofu that made me blow chunks. It’s all in the prep.

  80. Well said @copyblogger. Blogs are the foundation of social media. If we didn’t have blogs (or blog style social networks) what would we link to?

  81. Well, don’t knock the AOL chat rooms. I lost my virginity there. :)

    And as a sidenote, nicely worded post. Interesting you just picked up on this nuance though because the social media v social networking verbage has bothered me for a few years now.

  82. Tofu is Nasty. The other two questions? Well, it’s a personal choice.

  83. people saying “the blog is dead” is just using drama to get some attention.
    They try to be among “the visionaries” who anticipated the blogs death.
    Bullsh.t not only blogs aren’t dead, they play an extremely important part in the “keep yourself modern about anything”
    Just keep blogging valuable content in valuable context and you will become valuable as consequence.
    In the long run, the medium does not make much of the difference

  84. For me, this post is one of the best post i read

  85. I wrote to expand on this – http://blondish.net/for-the-noobs-what-is-social-media/

    I have seen people say things like this and I have always been quick to correct (although in a kind manner.) The difference is big and even the definitions between the 2 are very different. Social Media and Social Networking are not the same. One is the content and the other is a service.

  86. If I’m honest I wish that more of my friends blogged, it’s much better than a short status that is only a brief statement.

    I want to know what they really thought of the Oasis concert, the emotion they felt from childbirth, the excitement they feel as they make last minute arrangements for their holidays etc

  87. Fried tofu or floating in miso is aiiiight, otherwise, blech.

  88. Tofu – nasty. Blogs- definitely social media at their finest. There is simply no better way to display your content and broadcast it out to your audience.

  89. Looking at all the comments to this post, how can blogs NOT be considered social media?

  90. Well, yes Neo, that’s a convincing rhetoric.

    As it answers the question: Since When Are Blogs Not Social Media?, does that mean the end of the discussion now?

  91. Hey Brian … I think that blogs are nothing less than the CORE of social media (still don’t know why I should capitalize those words).

    But I digress.

    When I look at the SM menu, I think of Twitter as, sort of, the appetizer. The amuse bouche. Blogs are the steak. The main course. (Facebook & FriendFeed might be the excellent glass of wine that complements it. Not sure. Roll with me.) You can only glean so much information from those little morsels we all chow down on … over THERE.

    Where do people think all of those bit.ly links end up? Without blogging, we couldn’t have the exchange of information that we do. Social media, such as we know it wouldn’t exist.

    Now, I’d like some dessert, please. :)

  92. I think tofu is great if it is either dry-fried and marinated with savory sauce, or else it is deep fried with some kind of breading. Try Japanese agedashi tofu and you’ll see the light!

    But the slimy, flavorless stuff that comes straight out of the carton, served by an unskilled cook, is pretty yuck-able.

  93. Hi Melissa,
    Let’s roll. Not wishing to disappoint you, ‘bouche’ doesn’t actually appear in the world’s leading English Dictionary. (I refer of course to Australia’s Macquarie Dictionary.)
    The nearest word is ‘boucle’ meaning a ‘yarn with loops’ – an excellent description of your entertaining post.
    And rather than a glass, make that a bottle or three of the world’s greatest red.
    I refer of course to Penfold’s 1955 vintage Grange Hermitage. Cheers!

  94. Well, Gordon, I’m not sure what to say (and that is the rarest of occurrences, I assure you). But if you can hook me up with a bottle or two of Penfold’s Grange, well, I’ll be forever in your debt.

    See? SOCIAL. :)

  95. Between ourselves Melissa, a bottle or two of Penfold’s Grange would leave ME forever in debt – the bank’s debt.

    So, social creature that I am, how about a bottle or three – or a one gallon cask! – of Kaiserstuhl Red instead?

  96. I deem it to be a fact that bloggers are both social media influencers and journalists at the same time! Bloggers’ influence and power should not be understated. They are becoming more like news makers and they are good at it! Most of them at least!

    A related article which would further explain my point could be found at our blog: http://bit.ly/RatO2

  97. Sure blogs are social media.

  98. Brian,

    Thanks for this post. I blogged about it here. http://bit.ly/BDLrk

    For me, the true power of blogging has always been the fact that it opens an opportunity for NEW VOICES to be a part of the global conversation.

    Thanks, Jocelyn

  99. To me, this is the trend that comes from late adopters. They never blogged, Flickred, YouTubed and used any other Social Media. (Probably because they thought blogs were for kids). Suddenly they were told that Social Media is hip, fun, and helps make money and generate publicity, so they were at it but knew and understood little about it. I know by experience that it is hard to keep abreast of all developments, especially where technology is concerned. The question to ask is why someone is not keeping abreast. If they do not have enough time or resources, this is one thing. If they think they are better off without it and then jump on the bandwagon and proclaim themselves ‘gurus’, then… well, then we have Social Media equating Social Networking, with all consequences.

    Having said that, today blogs are often being sold as part of SEO services package, just as a means to build links, little more. Adding insult to injury, one may say…

  100. Blogs are social media because of the commenting and blogger profiles, however, they are not social media due to the fact that there is not usually just a one on one communication happening. A blog allows one to share with the masses vs. just his friends and followers. And blogs tend to have a general focus whether it be technology, food or even coupon sharing. I can see both sides, but I am so excited about whatever collaboration and networking tools come out next! :) Nice post

  101. Brian, grab the url socialtofu.com and let’s debate both there!

  102. If blogging is still in good health, then let’s move on to the next controversy and let go of this one.

  103. Tofu is only tasty if you add something to it – a bit like blogging or anything else we do online for that matter.

  104. You can’t kill killer content. I believe blogging will only become a stronger force. The new FTC guidelines are a suggestion that bloggers indeed have influence. I plan to stay the course. If blogging wanes, better for me and the surviving bloggers. Our sustained efforts will just be that much more evident and valued.

  105. Blogging is far from dead and very much part of social media. The problem is that many people do not comprehend that blogging is interactive and two way communication. For those people, blogging is simply a way of electronic rambling and thus is not social media. It is just boring!

  106. Hi Brian,
    I agree with you that blogging is social media. However, I can also see how people no longer show the interest they’ve once shown. Like everything else, once something new is introduced the old seems to get pushed aside. Blogging is the foundation for the most recent social networking sights (Facebook, Twitter,etc) however its spotlight will continue to dim as technology continues to grow. I work for a small advertising agency that is largely based on social media. http://www.mediarevo.com/services/social . Although we obviously use the most relevant outlets available, blogging continues to work just as well and reaches an impressive number of people.

  107. I don’t see “all” blogs as Social Media, I also don’t believe social media is separate from social networking. social Media is in fact:

    It depends on the purpose of the blog.

    Folks who use social networks and blogs for some sort of gain : IE monetary, politcal, news, etc could be considered social media.

    however, blogs that blog of their own free will not expecting money or gain are just simply blogs and part of the blogsphere.

    however, I can see very easily how many blogs could border between the two.

  108. I have a few questions for you?

    1. Does social media affect society, if so why?
    2. Where will social media be in 5 years?
    3. Does social media affect advertising, if so why?
    4. Do blogs help you in the future with applying for jobs?
    5. What are some things do while in college before going out for jobs in the advertising world?
    6. How is social media used in Advertising companies?
    7. What is happening to social media, advertising, and PR?
    8. What do I need to be studying before I graduate?

  109. I love this paragraph from you post:

    “When you think like a media producer in this brave new social media world, it’s your content that social networkers are sharing and promoting, and that translates into your cash. If you’re only social networking, you’re only someone’s user-generated content, and even your digital overlord struggles to make money.”

    Indeed, there is a difference between blogging original material, and social networking such as Twitter, Facebook, and LinkedIn. We should all keep this in mind…

  110. Very true, but it is fun to remember that Myspace was one of the first sites to integrate blogs and social networking. You could blog on your page and your friends would actually both be part of and generate your readership. Social networking sites have limited potential, but they still have some possibly untapped potential for marketing.

    You might really enjoy this interview series of social media specialists.
    http://www.ourblook.com/topic/social_media.html

  111. Those who say blogs are dead are either neophytes who never really learned, of those who do not know how to get their blogs distirbuted on all the potential avenues that exist.

  112. My guess is it depends how blogs are being used. Companies use the source to broaden out their relationships with customers and newspapers use blogs to point out notes with news events. Most people use blogs to spread their ideas with their personal life on certain subjects. But I do believe it could categorize as a social media in some perspectives.

  113. Absolutely. Blogs are always a part of Social Media, but they are definitely not…

    …Social Networking sites!

  114. Blogs are always what drives the traffic to social media. A lot of Social Media Companies do use these blog sites to create backlinks!

  115. Anything that has the potential to reach anyone and everyone on the Internet can be considered social media simply because it’s “media” and it’s “social”. I think confusion arises because many consider social media in terms of Facebook and Twitter where people are engaged in the act of “socializing”. Social media has many different forms as I’m sure you realize. Newspapers, even though they didn’t allow readers to interact are a form of social media in its primal form.

  116. Frankly, I prefer the “social” aspect of blogging to twitter or Facebook. I’ve blogged for just three years, but in that time, I have developed actual friendships as well as meaningful connections. I did not start my particular blog for marketing purposes, though I may write a different blog one day for that purpose. I simply wanted to find my voice to develop a memoir, to learn to put my voice “out there.” I have a modest following, but, for my blog, that’s fine.

    I think each venue — linked in, twitter, Facebook, etc.–has it’s advantages for distinct reasons. I find Facebook a wast of time for communicating with people I truly care about. I can touch base; I can find out the small talk points. That’s fine, and I use it for that, from time to time. But, I returned to other forms for meaningful writing. It’s an instant form of old-fashioned letter-writing I enjoy. I do not have trouble understanding that, for others, they prefer the streamlined stepped-up version of chatrooms they can have on FB and other sites. Twitter seems like a great blast point for marketing. Just not for me, for now. For NOW.

    The main thing, I think, is to be open to all the forms of social media and networking as they come, and to be willing to experiment, to tailor the forms available to us to suit our OWN needs. I’m glad you reprinted this.

  117. This is a great article…I agree that blogging is definitely part of social media. I personally view these platforms as representative of various aspects of my personality…Twitter embodies my “outgoing” persona, Pinterest embodies my “aspirational” persona, and my blog embodies who I am. All of these work hand in hand as part of the total “social” picture.

    BTW…there’s “Dessert Tofu”(which comes in flavours like almond, mango, coconut)…eaten with fresh fruit, you’ll change your mind about tofu forever (it’s kinda like a cold creme brulee)…awesome in fruit smoothies too! ;)

    • @Carol, Unfermented tofu has been linked to brain damage and breast cancer. Go to http://www.mercola.com, and search for ‘tofu’ or ‘the truth about soy foods’.
      To borrow your phrase, “you’ll change your mind about tofu forever.”

      • Wow…thanks for the article! I think I’ll stick to the fermented stuff (luckily I only did the dessert stuff once in a while) Buying safe and healthy food is getting more complicated nowadays :(

  118. Everything needs to be integrated to be as successful as it can be.

    I’m talking about integrating your blog, Facebook, twitter and YouTube accounts into one all-singing, all-dancing content package. That way you’re producing the same great content, but making use of all the traffic funnels available to you. So really no 1 channel is more valuable than any other.

    And while you’re at it, why not make a pod cast as well?

  119. Blogs are certainly a huge part of social media. Why wouldn’t they be?

  120. Very telling that this “Copyblogger Classic post, originally published in July, 2009” is still true today. Can we say “validation”?

  121. Blogs and social media/networking sites are online marketing tools. However, blog posts can become eBooks, or a series of eBooks, reports, teleseminars/webinars, etc. Social media is another way to promote your products and services that are based on your blog. :)

  122. Great piece.
    And right on – as relevant today as the day it was written.

  123. Great Classic post. A couple of comments.

    Social = adjective, Media = noun/object. If we take a moment to deconstruct the phrase social media, it is easy to see that it includes blogs. Think news media.

    The AP Stylebook has a nice, simple definition. “online tools that people use to connect with one another, including social networks.” The definition connotes tools that facilitate two-way communication. Social media absolutely includes a blog, which is a social medium!

  124. This shows that if you get the basics right then you will always be ahead of the people who think that just by using the latest “fad” that they will get rich without putting in the effort.

    It’s pretty easy to go on fiverr and buy several thousand “likes” and make yourself appear popular. If you put that time and effort into creating blog content then in 6 month’s time you will be better off from the blog content.

    Great to see you reporting updated content for new readers.

    Andrew

  125. Blogs, if you do them right, are absolutely social media. And marinated, grilled tofu is delish.

  126. Social media is such a large “umbrella phrase” for activity carried out on the internet and I agree that this certainly does include blogs.
    Essentially these are the hub of social media and twitter, Facebook & Google + etc are the networking means of sharing your social media from your true creation source which is your blog.
    Great blog..i look forward to reading more!

  127. I believe a blog is supposed to be social like this one. Look how we all interact with one another. When we leave comments, its being social. Without the social aspect of a blog, I think it would be dead and boring. Being social is fun and keeps your blog alive. Plus a boring blog will get less traffic in the long run than one that is focused on being social. Letting your blog be social will give you more traffic, keep your blog alive and interesting.

  128. Social networks today have become a “fever” world, everyone decided to create an account with at least one of them, the main one is the one that got Facebook members increases from impressive compared to some years ago.

  129. Not knowing the difference or the similarities is why many blogs fail. Plus, there are so many “experts” in the field that a majority of people get bad information on social media. There are three blogs, this being one of them, that i trust to bring me proven information. I wonder how many other bloggers can say that? I believe social media is just a term that facebook and twitter have ruined for bloggers.

  130. I totally agree that blogs are not dead because it is simply evolving like any kind of media, I think. Maybe the confusion lies on the labels that people keep overusing that sometimes it can also get lost in translation. And I think tofu is good if it’s fried.

  131. I agree that blogs are not dead , I think. Maybe the confusion lies on the labels that people keep overusing that sometimes it can also get lost in translation. And I think tofu is good if it’s fried.

  132. As long as the medium leads to interacting with others, or provides the opportunity to do so, it’s definitely part of the social media scene. I wouldn’t go so far as to equal the two, but they are most certainly connected. http://www.facts-book.com/ lists a lot of cool info about social media, talking about all the famous platforms. I guess the established social media networks themselves keep pushing the social media tab, whereas most might see blogs as a seperate virtual sphere.