Blogging killed by Twitter? I don’t think so

I’ll give Paul Boutin credit for writing some seriously good link bait, but that’s all his recent essay for Wired is worth. Paul argues that we don’t need blogs anymore thanks to Twitter (and for good measure he mentions Facebook and Flickr too). He advises anyone thinking about starting a blog to think twice, and anyone who already writes one to pull the plug:

The blogosphere, once a freshwater oasis of folksy self-expression and clever thought, has been flooded by a tsunami of paid bilge. Cut-rate journalists and underground marketing campaigns now drown out the authentic voices of amateur wordsmiths. It’s almost impossible to get noticed, except by hecklers. And why bother? The time it takes to craft sharp, witty blog prose is better spent expressing yourself on Flickr, Facebook, or Twitter.

I guess Paul is a “glass-half-empty” kind of guy.

Of course it’s difficult to get noticed in the blogosphere – there are so many blogs out there! Of course something you write is going to attract comment trolls – you can’t please everyone! Of course blogging takes more time and effort than Twitter – but that’s because you’re writing so much more!

But none of that is reason enough to give up on blogging.

Obviously I’m a big fan of Twitter, and I do spend quite a lot of time posting there, but I don’t think I could replace my blog with it. I find the two are complementary – quick comments and updates go on Twitter, longer thoughts go on my blog. That system seems to work well for me.

Same goes for the consumption side of things. Tweets are searchable instantly, true, but good luck following a thread. Short conversations between a couple of people are okay, but anything more and you’ve got problems. Blogs don’t have this problem of course, thanks to comments and trackbacks. And let’s be honest, Google indexes blogs fairly quickly anyway.

Paul says:

Twitter — which limits each text-only post to 140 characters — is to 2008 what the blogosphere was to 2004.

I’d agree with that. Twitter has lots of buzz right now, that’s undeniable. Just as the election in 2004 helped blogs increase in popularity, the current election is giving a boost to Twitter. What I don’t agree with is the notion that Twitter’s success sounds the death knell for blogs.

I think blogs remain incredibly valuable and will be with us for a long time to come.

6 thoughts on “Blogging killed by Twitter? I don’t think so

  1. I agree. Twitter and blogs serve a different, complementary purpose. As a naturally verbose person, I find Twitter’s 140 character limit stymieing–I understand why it exists, but for that reason along I could _never_ give up blogging for just Twitter. It’s like those who thought that computers signalled an automatic and immediate transition to a paperless society. Not so much.

    The interesting thing about Facebook is it provides that “Notes” feature which is pretty much a “Facebook blog.” This lets lots of my friends and acquaintances who might otherwise never blog write what are, essentially, blog posts. Sadly, most of them are those inane quiz-type chain posts that people pass along. But once and awhile there’s something “good.”

    Boutin appears to be presenting a subtext that presentation wins out over content–videos are naturally superior to text; short is naturally superior to long because it’s easier for someone to read in today’s fast-paced society.

    I agree that text-only blogs are going to decrease in number as the Internet evolves further. As it becomes easier to integrate rich media into our blogs, more people will start integrating audio/video into their posts. We’ve seen the first step: people embedding audio and video into their blog posts. If anything, however, this is going to increase the usefulness of blogs as they become aggregators of content, rather than portals, like tweets currently are–a blog post will //incorporate// audio and video; a tweet just links to it.

  2. Thanks for the comment Ben – all great points.

    I particularly like what you said about blogging and Twitter being like computers and a paperless environment. That makes a lot of sense, and I’m sure that’s how many people look at it!

    Definitely bloggers are integrating media into their posts, but I still think text will remain the primary content type. It’s just so much easier (at the moment) to search and scan.

  3. I have been blogging off and on for years, but only recently took to Twitter – I just don’t understand the point. It feels as though it is the culmination of this generation’s need for instant gratification, but on crack.

    But, as any internet junkie, I will continue to Tweet, until it finally clicks for me.

  4. I agree, it’s good linkbait, but I don’t buy that blogs are going to disappear.

    Blogs, obviously, have a lot more space to go further in depth on a topic. Twitter is a series of short bites and it really is impossible to follow conversations there. Besides, not everything has to be a conversation. Sometimes you just want to make a statement. Blogs are a good place to do that.

    I like blogs due to their more reflective nature. I like analysis. I like expanded points of view. Twitter doesn’t do that well.

    This whole thing is similar to when TV came along and they said radio and newspapers would disappear. It’s not a zero sum game. It just makes a bigger pie.

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