As lawyers, law firms, small business owners and solo entrepreneurs, many of us blog and engage on social networks. However, like clockwork, some major news outlet will proclaim the death or decline of the blog.

The latest, Blogs Wane as the Young Drift to Sites Like Twitter, comes from the New York Times. But, as Larry Bodine at Law Marketing Blog points out, While the Young Stray, Serious Readers Still Follow Blogs, noting that blogging among 34 to 73 year-olds increased.

Blogs offer control

The New York Times piece opens with a young filmmaker abandoning his blog where he no longer posted his video clips. “I don’t use my blog anymore,” he said, “All the people I’m trying to reach are on Facebook.”  But what happens when Facebook changes its terms of service, privacy and viewing options, or simply shuts down the account?

In answer to a Facebook update by social media trainer, Mari Smith, about some of the new, less desirable features imposed on us, I commented, “It’s why the blog will always be my forum of choice. Love and engage (and have biz pages/accounts) on the social media platforms, but years of work can go up in smoke at the whim of these guys.” The question and comment resonated with scores voicing their displeasure with the new features and the frustrating lack of control and options.

Blogging pays dividends in terms of Internet visibility, professional reputation, and more business. It also offers control — over content, look, feel and navigation, accessibility and delivery.

Keep it simple on social media

A recent study showed that once users connect with a brand (“like” a Page) on Facebook 90% never go back to the page. They interact with the brand solely through their News Feeds.

Unless you have a budget to hire an experienced social media professional to handle the creation and management of a business Page, I suggest keeping it simple. Concentrate on providing useful links and information and engaging via status updates.

Facebook and Twitter are useful communication and marketing tools.  Anything more — adding lots of bells and whistles and originating content — can leave you vulnerable with little control.

Use blogs as publishing platforms and social networks as communication channels

Blogging isn’t dead, Mitch Joel, influential blog and social media expert, acknowledges, also in response to the New York Times article. “Blogging is publishing and publishing online is just beginning to evolve”. He suggests that as mature as Blogging is, it’s just beginning to take on it’s publishing role.

Indeed, 2011 has been proclaimed as the year that law firm websites become “publishing platforms.

Blogging is publishing. It’s content. And it provides a home base for social media channels.