02 Jul Has Tweeting killed Blogging?
In the same way that ‘vacuuming’ is the generic term for hoovering, the generic term for ‘tweeting’ is microblogging. Blogging because Twitter allows you to share your thoughts or ideas with others – micro because you can only use 140 characters to do it.
Why 140 characters? Apparently it stems from the early days when Twitter used SMS messages which were limited by many mobile phone carriers to 160 characters. The Twitter team decided that 140 characters for the message plus an extra 20 for the username would ensure that only one text message would be sent (and charged).
When I first started blogging, it was the only effective social media platform on the block but things have changed and the stream of intellectual discourse that often characterised blogs seems way too wordy to be of interest to Generations X and Y. To get their message out today many people switch on their video camera and ‘broadcast themselves’ via YouTube. Meanwhile Twitter has become the attention manager that blogs often aspired to.
In the early days one of the great advantages of a blog over a news or other published article was that readers could comment on the material and a dialogue could be established between author and reader, and between readers themselves. Today comments seem to be used less and less in blogs, partly this could be due to the hijacking of comments by spammers (when I re-launched my new web site based on WordPress they overwhelmed my moderation area), but generally I think people are less prepared to spend time on writing a comment when they can quickly share a link with their Twitter or Facebook followers. This image illustrates what I mean:
For those in the know of course Twitter and blogging are a marriage made in heaven. Here’s how it works for me:
- I pick up on an interesting Twitter hot topic
- I reflect on the topic and make some notes
- I craft a blog article based on my take on the topic
- I then Tweet a link to my blog article and ensure that I reference the original Twitter ‘conversation’
Hell later I may even video blog it all!
So thank you Twitter for re-vitalising blogging. And thank you for forcing us all to be oh so economical with our words. One hundred and forty characters is easy compared to those oh so time consuming blogs!