November 28, 2020

Blogs vs. Twitter:

Twitter feed is far less substantial than the blog had been. In fact it is difficult to see a single tweet of interest, whereas this person’s earlier blog posts had been, with some regularity, worth a look. If we don’t “follow” this person, we miss the possibility of some future interesting tweet. On the other hand, if we do follow, we clearly have to wade through a bunch of garbage. The signal-to-noise ratio will clearly be way worse than it had been on the now-dying blog.

Blogs are sometimes more substantial and I think reports of the death of blogs due to Twitter and Facebook are wrong. For me blogging has been a great way to collect and share thoughts on a particular issue, to collect ideas for future longer projects, and to create a public persona as an expert with something to say about the topics I know a lot about. I like to think the blog has been useful to people I wouldn’t otherwise get to communicate with. I’ve come into contact with many people, especially those on the ground addressing the issues I write about here, through this blog. Blogging has been and I hope it will continue to be great. It also takes a lot of time to get a post to what I want it to be before I post it.

Points of difference between twitter and blogs:

1) Twitter isn’t a substitute for blogging. Some people may choose to Twitter instead of blogging, but I wouldn’t assume that anyone has that kind of either/or relationship. A tweet is not meant to accomplish what a blog post is meant to accomplish. Neither is killing the other, they aren’t in competition anymore than, say writing books vs. writing a blog.

2) People like Twitterers’ minuscule details: In my case, though we’re not talking big numbers either way, more people follow me on Twitter than subscribe to this blog. One man’s garbage is another’s treasure, or entertainment. I find Twitterers who stick to posts about their one professional interest boring. Other people love them, and more power to them. I don’t since that is what blogs are for. If you come to twitter looking for ideas about a topic, you’re better off watching Twitter trends and searching keywords than following individuals; Twitter usually offers great topical coverage only in the aggregate.

3) Looking at a Twitter feed or profile isn’t the same as following someone on Twitter: If you follow from within a Twitter account, there’s a setting so you don’t have to watch that banter unless it’s between people you also follow. That changes the signal/noise ratio a lot.

6) Twitter is a great site for language play. The 140 character limit is a fun challenge for wordsmiths, and those who do it well are joys to read. As a genre, in as much as it is a genre, the language of Twitter is just way more fun than the language of blogs.
If you don’t like Twitter, don’t use it. Encourage others to keep on blogging by letting them know how much you appreciate the volunteer work they do through blogging. But don’t be disappointed because people don’t twitter how you want them to blog. That just doesn’t make sense.