In the weekend Financial Times (Mar. 23/24, 2013) I was astounded to read an incredible statistic in Simon Kuper’s very informative column entitled, Open Shot. This is what he says, “I remember in 2003 asking someone, “What’s a blog?” By 2006, the firm NM Incite, had identified 36 million blogs worldwide, five years later (2011) there were 173 million.”
Kuper goes on to say that, “this is a very modern phenomenon. E-mails kicked off an unprecedented expansion in writing and blogs have greatly improved the way we write. The Internet has done wonders: stilted written English has become much livelier. Bad writing still abounds, but we’re getting there.” Ergo: practice makes perfect.
Writing Killer Blog Posts
Here’s a shorter version of an excellent piece entitled How to Write Killer Blog Posts by B.L. Ochman, an Internet marketing consultant for the Ford Motor Co. and IBM. Salient points: (a) Use simple, declarative sentences and strong action verbs, (b) Link to other blogs and websites, (c) Keep posts at 450 words or less, (d) Keep paragraphs short; leave white space, (e) Use bulletpoints, subheads, bold text and italics for emphasis.
Social Media and “Horizontal Media”
A recent article in The Economist looks at how social media technologies have changed how we gather, filter and distribute news. Jay Rosen, a professor at New York University has termed this change “horizontal media”. News is no longer gathered exclusively by reporters and turned into a story. Rather, with blogs, Facebook, Twitter and other forms of social media more and more people are involved in creating and sharing news.
Social Media and the Workplace
Has social media impacted our personal lives? Are we more or less productive? A 200-page study conducted by Pierre Khawand, CEO of People-OnTheGo is a comprehensive study of more than 1,000 business professionals. The study found that social media is on the rise — especially among Generation Y (born late 1970′s to late 1990′s).
A number of employees estimate that they spend about four hours a day (half a workday) managing multiple “in-boxes” — more than one hour is spent on social media a day with Gen Y spending the most time (1.8 hours).
More than 80% of Gen Y respondents check Facebook regularly — making this the most used social media platform for this group. The time spent on social media, however, is spent more for personal reasons than work reasons, with only 6.8% of the participants indicating they use social media solely for work purposes.
What is perhaps the most disconcerting issue raised by this study is that most participants check their “in-boxes” too often — constantly interrupting their work. Researchers have consistently found that multitasking reduces productivity — tasks can take more than twice as long to complete and can lead to an increase in errors. That’s a point well-taken.