Robert Scoble, asked on FriendFeed yesterady, “Can you be a thought leader without blogging” and I commented there but I’ll givemy short answer here: no, you can’t. At least not long term. Allow me a few moments to clarify.
First off look at blogging for what it is, at it’s deepest core, it’s writing. It’s conveying ideas using words. Before the internet this was done on paper, before that stone. People who have been thinkers always wrote down their thoughts and captured them using whatever medium was available to them at the time. In some cases that was just telling a person, who then told another person, who then to..you get the idea.
In an era where we limit our thought capacity to 140 some-odd characters to send to the internet via a messaging system we “didn’t know we needed” it is possible to condense some thoughts down to this paliatable size. But not all thoughts work in the confines of 140 characters or less. Some require exposition, they require explaination and context. Not everyone reads, listens, and watches the same stuff you do. So sometimes you have to provide context for your thoughts. Why did you have it, what led you to it, how did you arrive at a conclusion. All these are important to the overall thought process, they can also be instrumental in accurately conveying that thought.
That’s not to say you can’t be a thought leader of some kind if you limit yourself to services like Twitter or FriendFeed (which Scoble has taken to doing lately). Robert Scoble is blogging less and using FriendFeed more. He has found a medium that works best for what he does. Scoble understands technology, and he understand the it’s changing world quite well. This is perhaps the outcome of being a part of that world for so long. He watches so many avenues of thoughts from other people that he can see trends and routines a lot of people can not. Since he’s blogging less, does that make him less of a thought leader? Probably not. He’s simply adopting a new method for conveying his thoughts. Will it work long term? Well that’s what we’ll have to wait to see. I for one thing that it might, but it’s going to be a few more years before you can not blog, write, or something of the sort and be a thought leader. You have to be able to provide context, that’s hard to do when space is limited.