Why more channels equals more relevance

I've clearly been blogging less these days...but when I do, the overall quality (or at least effonrt) is up at a pretty high level.  I'm a writer--I still love writing essay length posts and always will. 

But since I started using Twitter and more recently since I started using Tumblr for real, not only has my publishing splintered across mediums, but I realize engagement with my community of readers is up.   Before Twitter, I would write the occasional micropost, but I'd feel like it went into a void.  It would be a quick passing thought and it would take too long for my daily RSS reading blog audience to receive it for the kind of quick response it might garner.

At the same time, I'd occasionally post ridiculous things--things few people found as funny as I did.  It seemed a little out of place to blog a College Humor video after a serious piece about entrepreneurship.  I didn't really want to use Tumblr, though.  Mainly, I was actually being  somewhat hypocritical because I was focused on having my blog as the central place to find and consume the published me on the web but I constantly criticize Friendfeed for killing the context and nouance that comes with each individual platform.  Additionally, I firmly believed that different people wanted different slices of me--and to force them to all consume the same sausagelike feed was borderline abusive.   That's why I don't usually friend my professional contacts.  I may find your professional presence in my life worthwhile, but please don't make me look at your kids photos.

I started using Tumblr for real a few weeks ago.  I say for real because I used to just publish a feed from my blog to it.  It got very few clickthroughs and hardly any followers--no reblogs.  Certainly no one was going to pass along around my content if it wasn't tailored towards the audience.  Like a dying marriage, it's as if that audience knew I wasn't putting in the effort so why should they? 

Now, I pass the music I listen to through Tumblr as well as the occasional drunk Kung Fu Panda.  I clip the quotes from my blog I think will appeal to that audience.  Now, I not only get more followers, but I get more engagement as well. 

Media outlets need to realize that.  If you're CNN, you can't just blast a link to the CNN homepage everywhere.  You need to maintain a unique, curated presence everywhere your audience is and engage them in a unique way. 

When I worked in private equity, I learned about the buyout of Gaylan's sports.  The concept there was to build a big box retail space for sports, but to make sure that each individual section of the store was as good or better than the speciality store equivilent.  Therefore, the golf section of Gaylan's had to be as good as your local golf shop.    This was very different from places like Modell's, which are decent options if you want to buy a generic set of golf balls, but you're not going to find any premium items or anyone who knows anyone at golf.

If you're a big media outlet and you're going to be publishing into social spaces, then your Twitter account needs to be as engaging as the alternative individual that I would subscribe to.  There's no sense being @ComedyCentral if you're not going to be as funny as @dickc.  If you're going to have a CNN Tumblr, then you need to be as good at curating content as Soup.  Esquire, if you're going to be on Tumblr, you need to be as smart, sexy, and funny as Meaghano

Don't throw this "social media stuff" off to your youngest social media intern.  Go to these communities.  Go meet with Twitter, Tumblr, Facebook, MySpace, all of 'em and ask, "Who gets it?  Bring us to them so we can learn."