Lately I’ve been neglecting my weblog in favor of a slightly more old-fashioned methodology: I’ve been sending out periodic posts via email to those I know personally, who I think will find them interesting. Either that or sending out posts to special-interest mailing lists of which I am a member (mostly media or cultural studies related). The benefits of this so far seem encouraging, such as:
1. I get more replies and and comments. Hypothesis: non-webloggers are more comfortable interacting via email than the web. 2. I suspect my posts actually reach more people. This may seem counterintuitive, because of the “public” nature of the web. However, some people must forward my email posts onto others, in other words–the content comes to the audience, instead of the other way around. Since my weblog isn’t really hyperlinked from many outside sources, the total amount of readers seems lower than with email. (Of course, it could be the increased feedback percentage from email that is skewing my perception on the total aggregate reader numbers–I didn’t actually conduct a statistical analysis.)
I do see some negatives as well. Namely, the “privatization” of the posts, their lack of availability to content aggregators (RSS subscribers, web spiders, etc.), and the possibility of directly sending unwanted content to uninterested parties.
It seems that despite their intrinsic “coolness” factor, there are many micro-content publishing instances, for me at least, in which weblogs are not the best solution.
* which brings up an interesting footnote: every other person on the panel used the slang term “blog” instead of “weblog” in their proposal. Am I the only one who finds that term to be a bit silly sounding when used in a professional/scholarly environment?