Recently, I was quoted in an article on Adagio’s TeaMuse as saying how Social Media had opened up my blog to a wider audience. While I am honored to even be mentioned in the same article with other tea writers, and while the statement attributed to me is true, it is only a small part of the impact and not necessarily the most important part.
The most important benefit I see in being on Twitter and Facebook is a much more personal connection with readers. People “out there” feel they are reading something by someone they know. I end up reading their blog posts, too, and getting a wider feel for what interests them and their views on tea and related topics. Quite a few great article ideas have been spurred by tweet exchanges, too.
Blogs started out as ways for people just to put their thoughts and ideas online to share with whomever had a moment to read them. Blogs are now outlets for writers like me whose opportunities to get their work seen would be too limited if they were totally dependent on sites like TeaMuse, which sticks to a monthly “publication” and features only a handful of carefully chosen articles, such as my review of the Heron’s Tearoom in North Carolina. (That article actually gave me the idea for launching a tea review blog: Little Yellow Teapot Tea Reviews which has been morphed into this e-zine.)
Blogs continue to morph, becoming showcases for subject experts. Their tweets on Twitter helps their loyal readers keep up with their latest postings, plus keep that personal touch by tweeting not just links to their posts but their own experiences with tea and replies to other tweeters.
Blogs and Social Media are also being used by companies to get closer to customers and to offer more detailed information (generally and specifically) on the products they sell. Just as companies used to tout that they had a Website, now they tout that they have a blog, a Twitter account, and a Facebook page (and an employee who is devoted to be their Social Media person). I’ll be taking a more detailed look at some of these blogs and presences on Social Media in an upcoming post.
Finally, blogs are now being used to sell products (teas, teawares, etc.) and otherwise generate income. Some have quite a few affiliate links where the blog owner gets a percentage when you click on the link and buy the item at the other end of that link. I’ve dipped my toe into this by posting an affiliate link to the LibreTea mug, which I truly like.
Where do blogging and social media go from here, at least as far as tea is concerned? Well, let’s see, just need to polish my crystal ball a bit. Rub rub rub… ah, that’s better. Darn, still nothing. The future of both depend on you, the readers, and on the technology developments in the heads of techie geeks working busily on the next innovation.
As for the article, author Amy Charland embarked on an ambitious topic but, due to the word limit she was under, she was only able to fit in a little bit of the information I’m sure she gathered for it. Maybe we will see follow-ups that focus on some of the veteran tea bloggers out there. Certainly a better title would have been “Tea Blogging History: An Introduction.” It leaves the door open for more. Best wishes, Amy, on future articles.