There have been discussions on whether or not Twitter is affecting blog commenting and even if it’s killing blogging in general. This time we wanted to see how blog subscriptions, both RSS and Email, are being affected.
Instead of researching and relying on existing data, I wanted to ask people, not from the blogger’s point of view but the people that consumes them. We started conversations on Twitter, our Facebook Fan Page and I published a post last week with the question: How Do You Follow The Blogs You Love? And the intention of this post is to discuss those responses.
I should make very clear that the results are a very small sample of less than 200 people and by no means we are suggesting this is a formal study. Just a conversation.
Also, and to get it out of the way, I’m not talking about actual interactions such as a comment, which by the way I believe is affected depending on the type of post. In our own experience, there are posts that generate a high number of Tweets and much less or sometimes no comments on the blog as there are posts that generate a similar impact on both platforms.
PostRank, an analytics platform that analyzes engagement suggests in their definition of “Engagement Points” that, post comments are more valuable due to a greater effort needed from the user. We agree.
The Poll Results
I was honestly surprised to see how close RSS is to Twitter, I expected it to be second choice but not that close. The Twitter stream of a blogger is usually a mix of conversation (@replies), shares from a lot of different sources and much less of self-promotion, which makes it hard to be alerted of any new content published.
Some of the actual conversations we had with people on Facebook and Twitter suggested that when users are interested in content, they subscribe on two or even more platforms, being Twitter and RSS the two of choice.
Email is more reserved for a few and more relevant subscriptions. I think mostly because email is a more intrusive platform while RSS is very comfortable and out of the way. Some of the over-publishing blogs make it very hard to manage that content over email, eventually turning into clutter.
Email subscriptions are of much more value for the blog but it means a greater commitment for the user. Bloggers need to provide added value in exchange for that commitment.
Facebook Fan Page
No surprise here, I think there are two reasons, first because of the much lower engagement levels when you compare with Twitter and second because a higher segment of the Facebook population still consider the platform to be for personal use.
The reason we excluded social bookmarking is because these applications are mostly use to bookmark individual posts instead of subscribing to a publication. I wanted to mention this because we were asked why I didn’t include it as an option.
Not because it is less important, sharing some bookmarking love for posts definitely makes a difference.
Now It’s Your Turn…
I wont ask you to share how you subscribe to blogs, we already did that. I will ask you to share your thoughts on these opinions and, actually extend a special invitation to disagree and express yours in the comments.