Is Twitter Killing Blog Subscriptions?

Is Twitter Killing Blog Subscriptions 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

How Do You Follow Blogs - Poll Results

RSS Subscriptions

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.

Facebook Comments Email Subscriptions

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.

Others

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.

  • Personally, I have always found Blog Commenting cumbersome. So I would not be surprised to hear that Twitter is killing Blog Commenting. I use Twitter 99% of the time for my business, I do comment on some Blogs but very few get my time. It isn't that commenting isn't valuable, it's cumbersome and slow, which is not conducive to todays need for speed or real-time behavior. Just my 2 cents.

  • Personally, I have always found Blog Commenting cumbersome. So I would not be surprised to hear that Twitter is killing Blog Commenting. I use Twitter 99% of the time for my business, I do comment on some Blogs but very few get my time. It isn't that commenting isn't valuable, it's cumbersome and slow, which is not conducive to todays need for speed or real-time behavior. Just my 2 cents.

  • If I like a blog I will use RSS and Twitter, because I want to not only be informed about the new posts, but if I like a writer, I am curious about their tweets as well.

    This is an interesting discussion. As a new blogger it is very helpful to me. Thanks.

  • I would have to agree with Owen except I don't usually subscribe by RSS. I'll fan page first.

  • If I like a blog I will use RSS and Twitter, because I want to not only be informed about the new posts, but if I like a writer, I am curious about their tweets as well.

    This is an interesting discussion. As a new blogger it is very helpful to me. Thanks.

  • I still prefer coming across articles on sites I like by actually visiting the site – I tend to “explore” more that way. When I'm just looking for something (anything) to read, I'll get it from Twitter.

  • I still prefer coming across articles on sites I like by actually visiting the site – I tend to “explore” more that way. When I'm just looking for something (anything) to read, I'll get it from Twitter.

  • I personally think Blog is more for people who really loves to write (and by “write” I mean “put their thoughts into proper, understandable sentences”). People like these can't be limited by 140-characters. Sooner or later, they'll go back blogging again.

    I my self a Blog person, so.

  • I agree, and I think it is taking a nice bite out of blog comments too.

    There is a fine line to using Twitter to drive readers to your blog and using Twitter “to well” that they never bother going to your blog.

  • I find it difficult to follow a blog through a Facebook Fan Page simply because it seems like people are faster to update their Twitter than their fan page. Even for my own site, I forget to update my fan page, so if someone was following solely through there, they would probably miss out on a lot of posts.

    I disagree a bit on not being able to use social bookmarking to follow someone's blog. There are a few people that I solely follow on StumbleUpon – they always share their latest posts via that network – more so than on Twitter and Facebook. Since I have less people sharing things with me there, it is easy not to miss them as opposed to possibly missing them in the Twitter stream.

  • It is much faster to tweet a post that you like than comment on it. I think that in a way the tweets could be more valuable as they expose your post to new readers, whereas the comments without social sharing means no new exposure. Although, on the flip side, if someone sees a post with more comments, they may be more inclined to join the discussion.

  • SteveRetka

    When it comes to simply following a blog, I much prefer Twitter or and RSS feed. But I like posting comments because so many blogs have become a forum for analytical thinking and discussion that you CAN'T simply chime in with 140 characters.

    I do agree that blog commenting is more cumbersome, but I think as a blog writer you appreciate when people take that extra time to read and comment.

  • I find it difficult to follow a blog through a Facebook Fan Page simply because it seems like people are faster to update their Twitter than their fan page. Even for my own site, I forget to update my fan page, so if someone was following solely through there, they would probably miss out on a lot of posts.

    I disagree a bit on not being able to use social bookmarking to follow someone's blog. There are a few people that I solely follow on StumbleUpon – they always share their latest posts via that network – more so than on Twitter and Facebook. Since I have less people sharing things with me there, it is easy not to miss them as opposed to possibly missing them in the Twitter stream.

  • It is much faster to tweet a post that you like than comment on it. I think that in a way the tweets could be more valuable as they expose your post to new readers, whereas the comments without social sharing means no new exposure. Although, on the flip side, if someone sees a post with more comments, they may be more inclined to join the discussion.

  • SteveRetka

    When it comes to simply following a blog, I much prefer Twitter or and RSS feed. But I like posting comments because so many blogs have become a forum for analytical thinking and discussion that you CAN'T simply chime in with 140 characters.

    I do agree that blog commenting is more cumbersome, but I think as a blog writer you appreciate when people take that extra time to read and comment.

  • lcdavid

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  • lcdavid

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  • Informative, thanks. I am still quick to add RSS blog feeds to Reader, but I think I find more blogs via twitter then any other place. could be because of the time spent on twitter due to the work I do in communications, but I see that as a benefit. Finding and engaging with new blogs and blog content. I actually found this post via Alltop, another great place to find blogs, as is Regator.

    In addition to the twitter effect on blog subscriptions, it has also had a dramatic effect on blog commenting. Quick and easy to RT, takes a little more time to draft a comment.

    However, looks like comments are leading RTs on this post, so nice job there.

    Mike
    @mikelizun

  • Informative, thanks. I am still quick to add RSS blog feeds to Reader, but I think I find more blogs via twitter then any other place. could be because of the time spent on twitter due to the work I do in communications, but I see that as a benefit. Finding and engaging with new blogs and blog content. I actually found this post via Alltop, another great place to find blogs, as is Regator.

    In addition to the twitter effect on blog subscriptions, it has also had a dramatic effect on blog commenting. Quick and easy to RT, takes a little more time to draft a comment.

    However, looks like comments are leading RTs on this post, so nice job there.

    Mike
    @mikelizun

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  • no, thank YOU for stopping by. I'm glad you liked it.

  • I agree that twitter is best to find blogs in your niche…and it makes more readers to your blog and mainly you find actual readers and useful comments

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  • Thanks for the info. I think it depends on the type of info being shared. I use both, but also use facebook. 🙂

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  • you can update your twitter account than blogs.

  • I wanted to mention this because we were asked why I didn’t include it as an option. Some of the over-publishing blogs make it very hard to manage that content over.

  • Thank You!
    Interesting.

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  • This is an interesting discussion. As a new blogger it is very helpful to me. Thanks.

  • killing? What is that.

  • Fakhi Khan143

    Definitely cool desgin of one’s website. It can be individual and compares to your posts. Don?t give up and make your personal point!
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  • As a new blogger it is very helpful to me. Thanks.

  • 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.

  • 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.