In military circles, a ‘scorched earth policy’ – according to Wikipedia – is “A strategy which involves destroying anything that might be useful to the enemy while advancing through, or withdrawing from, a given theater of operations.”
Perhaps it’s symbolic, but that’s exactly the approach I took to my digital presence this past Memorial Day weekend. I started a fresh new site on the future of media over on Tumblr. Then I promptly turned around and slashed both my TypePad-powered blog, which I ran from 2004 to 2009, and my Posterous blog, which I started with some fanfare back in 2009. With just two clicks of a mouse I rid the web of literally thousands of blog posts, some of which I am proud of – others less so – and redirected the URLs to the new site.
Now before you write off this decision off as simply a mid-life crisis, let me explain why I did so. There’s actually a method to my madness.
I fundamentally believe that we are entering the next great era of the web – The Validation Era. In this age of too much content and not enough time, the public will increasingly need to hear things validated across four interconnected media clovers that are converging across four different screens – phones, tablets, PCs and TVs. To be successful, businesses and individuals will need to continually ensure their engagement spans the media cloverleaf.
These four media spheres include:
- Traditional media – powerful mainstream brands like CNN, the BBC and more
- ‘Tradigital’ media – emergents like The Next Web, Politico and others that have social DNA
- Owned media – corporate/brand content (web and apps) that emulate media
- Social media – digital embassies in the big hubs – Twitter, YouTube, Facebook
That’s why I decided to jump to Tumblr and why I didn’t stay with Posterous or move to WordPress or SquareSpace, all of which are solid platforms.
Tumblr is a truly unique hybrid. It sits squarely in the center of the Media Cloverleaf. It’s highly social, with an incredibly engaged community and connective tissue to the aforementioned hubs. It offers most of the benefits of the large blog platforms (eg Owned media). And, last but not least, it is being used by dozens of traditional and ‘tradigital’ media brands like The Next Web and Sports Blog Nation.
It became clear to me in recent months that there is no other platform has the full Media Cloverleaf in its wraps the way Tumblr does. So moving to Tumblr seemed like the perfect way for me to walk my talk and engage across all four clovers with a maximum return on my time.
Now, if you’ve read this far even and you buy my rationale, I am sure you’re scratching your head as to why I deleted my old blogs, scorching the ground I once resided on. The answer is Google.
I believe that Plus One, if adopted, is a game changer. These endorsements, plus Facebook likes and other social signals, will help tell Google what to pay attention to and what to let fade away. I want to make it easy for Google. The only way to do so was to scorch the earth. Anything more will confuse it. I want one site to earn the +1s, not three.
My strategy isn’t right for everyone and I may be proven wrong one day. However, I am banking on what I learned from one of my PR mentors years ago. She advised to go where the media is rather than asking them to come to you. Today, the media spans four clovers and Tumblr seems like the perfect play. Time will tell.