Are Websites 

to Become Obsolete?

During every cycle of technological growth, someone declares an aspect of our daily culture “dead.” SEO, print media, blogging – even the internet itself – they’ve all been tapped for extinction. Yet we still have newspapers to read, we still have search engines to please, and blogs now number over 152 million.
This does not, however, negate the sentiment that some (or even all) of these mainstays are on their way out. If you think of death more as a transformation into something new, then print media is definitely experiencing that process. As is SEO, blogs, infographics, and even the mighty website itself.
It’s an obvious truth that websites as we know them are a thing of the past. They are evolving out of necessity, and in a sense, into utter oblivion. Why? Because that’s simply the nature of technology; it’s anything but static. And if your website is static, it’s an endangered species.
Why Websites Must Evolve or Die
Think about a typical website, say circa 2005. It’s a hub of information, yes, but a pretty flat and stagnant hub. Sites in this vain trying to compete in today’s marketplace have an insurmountable challenge. Look at dynamo apps like Flipboard and Facebook’s Paper. They are alive, by comparison; bursting with images and media, multifaceted, and far more engaging. Even the most successful blogs, updated daily, can’t compete with this kind of freshness and relevancy.
Technology is central to our lives because it flows at the pace of human evolution. Things that are static will always fall away, because life requires energy and movement. If you’re finding yourself stuck in the evolution of your business, take a look at your reliance on static pages and information. Remember that the internet in many ways mirrors the methods of our minds. It’s always firing, also sending new information. The most successful examples of online media these days matches that vibrancy.
How Social Media Breaks the Mold
Sites like Twitter and Facebook are not traditional websites because every second spent on either brings about a new experience. They are the polar opposite of static media, with streams of data and information available every nanosecond.
Furthermore, social media is insanely popular because it is highly customizable. If you were inundated with every tweet and status update, social media would cease to be relevant. Because you can choose whose information you are presented, it’s tailored to your liking, and engenders immense loyalty.
Is it any wonder why Google is fervently pushing folks to Google+? They understand the evolution taking place. We as business owners should too.
Consider a dynamic feed like Twitter’s juxtaposed with a static website. On the former, you could get lost for hours consuming fascinating details. On the latter, you’ll get the entire download in just a few minutes, and be ready to move on.
Companies that still cling to the notion that singing their own praises will amuse the masses are already finding success is fleeting. Given the choice between an ever-changing flow of excitement and a self-centric diatribe full of hard sells, it’s easy to see why social media is spelling death to the static website.
Adapting Your Online Business to the New Paradigm
If you want to think like a trendsetter, reevaluate your business with an eye to a new presence. The old way looked like this: build a website, do everything possible to make search engines rank you, launch numerous marketing campaigns, and essentially work your tail off trying to get attention. The problem is, consumers aren’t all looking for your services like this anymore.
The new game in town is found in the ever-present flow of dynamic media. If you want to compete with any sense of longevity, engage your future customers into a dialogue first. Hook them into your sphere by providing multiple channels of relevant, unique, and quality content offerings. Use social media to have a daily stream of industry-related blasts, creative reveals, and various other ways of joining them in the daily flow. In other words, meet them where they are at, with information they actually want to consume.
Websites of yesteryear are like stop signs now. They’re always there, espousing the same information. And they’re expecting users to find them. It’s your job to find your audience, and to do so in a manner that matches their day to day behaviors. It’s your job to offer your audience things with tangible value before they become your customers.
The Good News and the Bad News
The more challenging aspect of this new stream-like way of marketing is obvious: it’s new, it’s different, and it requires more effort out of the gate. But the really, really good news is that the customers you do retain through this method are likely to remain fiercely loyal, if you provide a good product and service. Marketers in the modern age have to, in essence, romance their future customers. Once you do so with integrity, people are likely to keep coming back, because an actual relationship is formed.
In many ways, this is bringing more honesty to marketing. Since we really do have to work harder and harder to acquire new customers, we need to make darn sure we never take them for granted. Follow-through is as essential as the initial content offerings – all these pieces create the perfect company model. Balance is integral.
The sooner you dive into the new paradigm, the more likely your business will thrive. Change is always inevitable, and the true success stories are those who dared to shift focus before mass consciousness caught up. There’s still time to be an early adopter – step one is evolving your dying static website.
What are some key creative ways you’ve already evolved your online presence?

Digital producer, online marketer, community manager, and multi-faceted writer Tina Courtney-Brown has been managing cross-functional teams for online businesses since 1996. Tina has assisted many clients in maximizing online production and marketing efforts, and is a staff writer for SiteProNews, one of the Web’s foremost webmaster and tech news blogs. She’s produced and marketed innovative content for major players like Disney and JDate, as well as boutique startups galore, with fortes including social media, SEO, massively multiplayer games, community management, social networks, and project management. Tina is also a certified Reiki practitioner, herbalist, nonprofit director and spiritual counselor.  Learn more at her personal website, or find her on Facebook and Google+.

5 Ways Twitter Is Making RSS Obsolete

5 Ways Twitter Is Making RSS Obsolete


Be honest here: do you subscribe to RSS feeds?  More importantly, if you do subscribe to RSS feeds, do you actively monitor them and read the content posted to them or do you ignore it or forget to look?  It’s no secret that a lot of news stories are being broken on Twitter before they’re seen anywhere else in today’s news stream, and as a result more folks are turning to the ever-popular social website not just to communicate, but to learn.  Here are three reasons that Twitter is becoming the one-stop shop to get your news, and why RSS is becoming less-important to mere mortals.

A Level Playing Field

Let’s say you’re the biggest Shaquille O’Neal fan in the world.  Would you rather read an RSS feed from a Shaq fan site or follow him on Twitter so you can hear all of the developments in his career first-hand?  Alright now let’s take into consideration the fact that Twitter lets you actually interact with Shaq.  Sounds like a fan’s dream come true, right?
Much like blogging before it, Twitter provides a level playing field that gives everyone the same opportunity to interact and contribute to the community.  Moreover it cuts out the middle man so that you can follow industry leaders directly rather than going through a third-party source, and the same is true for your potential customers.  Let’s take the Shaq example above and change it to your favorite brand – now customers can not only receive updates and support for the products and services they love but they can communicate and interact with people who work for the company directly.  If you’re marketing the opportunity is pretty obvious.

Social Curation

Twitter is all about following people who post content you like, and as a result you have an extra layer of curation that RSS can’t provide.  If I subscribe to my favorite tech news website’s RSS feed I’ve opened up my floodgates to all of their content.  Whether I’m interested or not, each story they send out over their feed will need to be reviewed so that I can pick out headlines I like.
On Twitter, because I’m following people who post news and content I enjoy, I’m more likely to be exposed to relevant information.  More importantly there’s an added opportunity to discover new things on Twitter.  If I’m following Donny and he posts something I haven’t seen before I’m more likely to follow through because I know we like similar things.  On the other hand, if a foreign news story comes through my Engadget feed that doesn’t seem interesting it gets skipped 9 times out of 10.

Instant Access

As the mobile device market continues to explode more people are turning to the phone in their pocket to not only consume but produce news.  The reason news breaks on Twitter first is because it’s so accessible and viral.  With a mobile phone connected to Twitter we effectively all become news reporters.  See something cool on your way to work?  Snap a twitpic and send it to Twitter – a few retweets later and your own personal news story has gone viral.
I don’t care how good your favorite news website is, they can’t compete with 100 million independent journalists giving first-hand coverage of the events in their everyday lives, and even if they could, by the time a story was edited and posted to their site for your RSS reader to pull down it would have already broken 1,000 times via Twitter’s unfiltered news stream.

People Like Interaction

RSS feeds are a one-way street.  I subscribe and then content gets delivered to me, and I can choose to partake or not.  In some cases I can click through to a blog post, sign into the website from which the feed originated, and finally leave a comment but that functionality is not inherent to RSS itself.
The whole point of Twitter is to communicate.  If someone posts a cool article I can very quickly retweet it to pass it along to friends or send an @ reply to give feedback to the author.  In the end Twitter promotes communication and gives businesses an opportunity to build relationships with their prospect clients and customers.

Universal Adoption

Finally, Twitter is cool, modern and is becoming a standard medium for businesses and consumers to interact.  When was the last time you heard or saw a company plug their RSS feed on a radio broadcast or TV commercial?  It doesn’t happen.  RSS is too complicated to quickly explain in short order.  On the other hand everyone understands what a social network is and roughly how it works.
If your blog or website has an RSS feed but you’re not on Twitter you’re missing the boat!  Ask your everyday customer if they subscribe to your RSS feed or if they even know what an RSS feed is.  You’ll probably get a blank stare.  Now ask the same about Twitter.  Chances are very good they’ve at least heard of it or know someone who uses it if they don’t already themselves.  If people are already on Twitter your small business should be too!

I certainly don’t think RSS is dead except for as a primary means for news aggregation.  It still serves a useful purpose on the back end of websites so develops can display information, and it’s still a great way to subscribe to certain kinds of content like podcasts.  That said even the geekiest folks I know are starting to turn to Twitter to see what’s going on with their topics of interest instead of an RSS reader.