Rob Frydlewicz is best known as a veteran agency researcher at agencies such as NWAyer, FCB and Carat. And now he has expanded his skill base to include social media and blogging. Rob is part of a blog network that consists of several media executives who write on a variety of pop culture subjects. Rob writes two blogs: www.HistoryAsYouExperiencedIt.com and www.ZeitGAYst.com.
In this interview, Rob talks about his blogging experiences, what he sees as trends in the social media landscape and the future of blogging as a media communications form. The full interview is located here. )
CW: Rob, much has been written recently about the evolution from blogs to social media. Do you see blogging on the wane?
RF: No. In fact I think that social media such as Facebook and Twitter complement blogs by driving traffic to a blog's longer-form narrative. And because blogs are open to all potential visitors via search - not just friends, friends of friends or subscribers - it enables us to get our opinions and insights out to a wider audience in a more detailed form. But I also think that for blogs to survive, they need to coalesce around a common theme and create a blog community like we have done here at TheStarryEye.typepad.com/home. Ours is a pop culture community with blogs on television, sports, pets, travel, new age, art, graffiti and pop history. As a group, our blogs benefit from synergies between topics as well as different outside sources of traffic and visitors. Some blogs, like The Arteur art blog, get significant traffic from Google images while others such as New York Sports gets visitors from several Mets-oriented blogs. Together we have built a wide and deep visitor base.
CW: Where do you think the future is in blogging? How can you be a successful blogger?
RF: Like any avocation or hobby, blogging isn't for everyone - it's a calling. And to be a successful blogger there needs to be more than just interest - it requires dedication & discipline (a good idea and writing proficiency helps as well). Also, you can't be tripped up by concerns over revealing yourself to the world. Like my personal history blog, I think more people will see it as a way to create a cyber-centric time capsule.
As with Facebook and Twitter, more people and companies with no inclination to do it themselves will realize the importance of having a blog for their business and hire consultants to write and maintain it for them.
As a media researcher, I'm fascinated by blog metrics and measurements and monitor the quality and quantity of my blog often. It's a thrill to see the sources of visitors especially when I see someone from a faraway place like Malaysia or Egypt visiting my blog. And I also get a charge when I see one of my blog posts ranked first or second in a search result.
CW: How do you think new technology - i-Pads etc - will impact social media?
RF: Enhancements will continue to make it part of everyday life and a portal for gathering information. I'm sure there will be new services to compete with FB & Twitter. Perhaps classes about the ethics of using social media will become part of school curriculums to help future generations learn from our mistakes.
CW: You write a GLBT blog. Is the GLBT market its own unique consumer set with specific purchasing behaviors or is it a sub-set of the mainstream culture with similar spending patterns? What makes the GLBT consumer unique?
RF: I think we're going to see that as more people "come out,", and as being gay continues to become a regular part of American life, gay people will be more willing to participate in market research surveys. And I think a more representative sample will show that demographically the GLBT population has a lot of similarities to the general population.
And despite media coverage making it seem that everyone in the GLBT population wants to raise children, there is still a big pocket of gay men & lesbians who don't and so will continue to have discretionary income for products & services that define the "good life" (e.g. travel, liquor, restaurants, clothing, shopping at high end stores).
As far as child-rearing is concerned, it means marketers may need to include gays & lesbians in ads or address their unique needs as same-sex parents.
Finally, marketers need to seriously consider adding gay & lesbians to their mix of consumers portrayed in ads. For instance, I was struck by an ad for Sealy mattresses I saw during the Super Bowl (don't know if it was a network ad or local in NYC) that pictured five different couples in bed, and none was a same-sex couple.