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Is Twitter Killing Blogs and Blogging?

Twitter
Something I’ve noticed over the past few months is a growing number of formerly-profliic bloggers being less active while spending more time on Twitter.

As well, a growing number of blog readers are staying within the friendly confines of Twitter to get their news and access to user-generated content.

So it begs the question whether Twitter is delivering a one-two knock-out punch to blogs and blogging?

My sense is Twitter is emerging as a vibrant alternative to bloggers and blog readers. Some bloggers who may find the grind of writing daily are now able to share their thoughts in quick bursts on Twitter, and still like they are contributing and cultivating their digital brands.

Meanwhile, Twitter has become a quasi-RSS reader where people gain access to the information (news, blog posts, services) they see was valuable without having to visit blogs directly or use an RSS reader. Many of these people are using still blogs but perhaps not as actively.

Going back to blogging, I recently had a conversation with an entrepreneur who’s engrossed in getting a new service off the ground. For months, he’s been agonizing with having a blog as a marketing and content tool.

After getting the idea he didn’t have the time or energy to blog, I told him to Twitter instead given he could deliver a value-added service when and if he had the time each day. It was as if I had taken a 1,000 pounds off his back by suggesting something so simple.

This isn’t to suggest blogging is going into a death spiral but other tools are battling for attention that may address the needs of people who believed they had to blog. Truth be told, blogging isn’t for everyone – it can be a labour of love that takes time and energy with little in return (e.g. traffic, recognition, comments, cash) other than personal satisfaction.

And blogs can also be difficult to keep up as a reader given content keeps on getting pumped out, especially from the leading bloggers who now employ teams of writers.

This may go a long way in explaining why Twitter is traction.

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  • http://scobleizer.com Robert Scoble

    Twitter +is+ blogging.

  • http://www.markevanstech.com Mark Evans

    Robert,

    You’re right, they both fall into the blog “camp” but I would suggest they’re different animals – sort of like SUVs vs. a Honda Civic – that appeal to different people for different reasons.

  • http://www.nexj.com rob tyrie

    Twitter can be messages that beg for the depth of blogs, video, mags or books depending on the need of the information of consumer. I use twitter to lead me to interesting things like blogs.What may be dead is the really short blog post. I don’t think that new media can replace an existing one, they just evolve. I think Twitter is like info-grease,it removes friction to other sources.

    R

  • http://twitter.com/jdandrea Joe D’Andrea

    Your entrepreneur friend and my wife share similar stories.

    Nancy had been resisting blogging for her travel business – for years. I recently introduced her to Twitter as a way to dip her big toe in the blogging waters.

    It took some getting used to, but now she gets it! She microblogs regularly with travel tips and buzz. Meanwhile, she gets feedback and ideas for longer-form blog posts as dividends.

  • http://blogs.amd.com/patmoorhead/default.aspx Patrick Moorhead

    Twitter is an entry-way to blogs. Not everything can be communicated in 140 character bursts. FriendFeed is a potential disruptor to blogs. FF could really drive blogging mainstream, but once folks start their first FF blog and they want to add features, then they go to Blogger, Typepad or WordPress. There just could be room for Tweeting, FF, and real blogs. This is just the natural evolutionary cycle of these things. Remember when folks said that “portals” were going to dominate and kill search engines? Well Google kinda proved that theory wrong.

  • http://twitter.com/acurrie AC

    If there were as many available utilities for my blog as there are for Twitter I might answer “no” to the title of your post — but things like this?

    http://www.tweeteffect.com/index.php

    Amazing!

  • http://billdoskoch.blogware.com Bill Doskoch

    Scoble’s thought +is+ underdeveloped.

    Tyrie and Evans got it right.

    I have a blog, but the really quick-hit or stream-of-consciousness stuff now goes on Twitter almost exclusively.

    The speed of Twitter has changed how I perceive my blog.

    I tweeted the following on Jan. 7:

    “I suspect I’m not the only one to observe this, but my blog feels like a newspaper these days compared to Twitter. :)”

    Twitter also brings a lot more stuff flowing into me.

    Here’s another question I asked out loud on Jan. 14:

    “If my blog just becomes a repository of things I first saw from someone else on Twitter, will I have failed? :)”

  • http://www.gemmastothard.kingstoncorporation.co.uk Gem

    it depends on whether I have a lot to say in one go or not as to whether I tweet or blog, but twitter is definitely better for getting people to view my etsy store…and it is so much handier to just click the link when you know someones wrote a new blog than checking in on the blog everyday especially with a limited time threshold…

  • http://www.lucafiligheddu.com luca

    I think Twitter is not killing blogging, but it’s providing a great and more effective alternative when you just want to share something that is not worth an entire blog post. For me, at least.

  • http://edsocialmedia.com Steve Ritchie

    Twitter is a nice complement to blogging (and to video and photo sharing and recruiting and relationship building…). If you follow interesting people you are bound to be sent to good content. And that is key – Twitter alone only gets you so far.

    Sometimes I see super insightful Tweets that make me think, but much more often the pay off for me is that I am made aware of blog posts or other well developed content that I wouldn’t have found on my own.

    Twitter fits wonderfully into the social media space because it is another way to share good content – not necessarily because it +is+ good content.

  • http://www.digital-constructions.com/blog/blog.html Ed Richardson

    Personally I think the two can exist alongside one and other in perfect harmony, in fact I’ve just published a post on my blog about my developing relationship with Twitter.

    The two are separate beasts, micro-blogging providing an instant hit of thoughts/content as it happens.

    Traditional blogging providing a more time consuming thoughtful approach.

    I see a future for them both and intermediate applications such as Friendfeed. To this end I’ll continue using a number of formats until I see fit to do otherwise.

  • http://openmode.ca Malcolm Bastien

    The guy you mentioned is going to miss out on a lot.
    Twitter may be blogging, but being on Twitter is not the same thing as having a blog.

    And saying that because other people can blog more often than you generally would be a really bad excuse to not do it

    I would tell him to have a blog but don’t write blog posts for it. There are plenty of other ways to populate it with stuff to make it a good marketing/comm tool.

  • http://thefuturebuzz.com Adam Singer

    Microblogging/lifestreaming is not the same thing as blogging, they are not in competition and in fact the two complement each other.

    More on this topic here

  • http://www.geekazine.com geekazine

    With only 140 characters I would say no. Twitter is the Blog for those with ADD. Attention spans need not apply. Most important – how much is looked upon and cataloged like a Blog?

    At any rate – Friendfeed is more of a Blog killer than Twitter.

  • speedmccoy

    Twitter is my “RSS” reader so to speak. I glance at incoming tweets like a news ticker. Then I click the included “tinyurl” to get more information. If a blogger tweets his/her headline, I’ll go read their blog post if intrigued. Twitter can be used to funnel readers to your blog.

  • http://twitter.com/socialmedia411 Julie @SocialMedia411

    Twitter is not a replacement for blogs – however, it is to a large extent a replacement for readers. We’re seeing many people requesting that individual bloggers start sending new post Tweets through Twitter. For a lot of people it’s simply a more efficient use of their time.

  • http://www.offmadisonave.com Eric Reid

    Twitter is certainly a kind of blogging, one that lends itself to doing things more easily, can get more comments, and more people to see what you are doing than may read your entire blog post.

    That having been said, Twitter will never kill blogging, because some of us actually need more space to express a complete thought, and tend not to trust a voice that only speaks in 140 characters. Twitter certainly has its uses, but to say it will kill blogging is like saying text messaging will kill e-mail.

  • http://ab9rf.com Kelly Martin

    Twitter has actually facilitated my blogging, both by increasing my audience and by giving me ideas on things to blog about. I often use Twitter to air ideas that are yet too inchoate to blog about; the responses I get on Twitter sometimes help to flesh out my thoughts.

    I agree with Rob above that Twitter is likely to kill short blog posts, but I think we can all agree that this is a good thing.

    I have yet to figure out the utility of FriendFeed. I’ve used it and it just feels awkward to me. Perhaps I’m not using it right.

  • http://christine.net Christine

    I absolutely agree – as a content creator, my blogging has gone down from roughly 1x/week to 1x/month, while my tweeting has gone up from 2x/week to 2x/day.

    That said, Twitter has emerged as real competition not to the blogging platforms, but to the feed readers. As a reader, I am now only checking my feed reader 1x/3 months, but clicking through to perhaps 10 blog posts/day through twitter. Though fabulous, NetVibes is not going to make much money off of me at my vastly reduced activity level.

  • http://www.adrianeden.com Adrian Eden

    Some people, like myself, have Blogs to express themselves and share their minds with the world. I’m not so much worried about the traffic to my site as much as how high quality that traffic is. I look to inspire and add value, and nothing is more valuable than time, so sharing my thoughts on Twitter saves time and adds value, which is nice!

    Have a productive week my friends !

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  • http://bhc3.wordpress.com/ Hutch Carpenter

    Mark – I agree Twitter saps some energy from blogging. A fully formed blog post, or nailing a sentiment in 140 characters? Hard to beat.

    I think there continues to be a need for blogging by those who aren’t professional bloggers. These are folks who blog, but do it as part of their professional (non-blogging) life.

    A few more thoughts in this post, Why Professionals Should Continue to Blog in the Era of Twitter http://bit.ly/wDxw

    The gist of the post is that Twitter and blogging are complementary activities for professionals. Each serves its own purpose.

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  • http://blog.zackbrandit.com Zack Brandit

    While blogging is slowly coming to maturity, newer and simpler platforms such as Twitter and FF are galvanizing interest. I think that though such platforms can replace blogs on the short term, users will see with time that both are actually complementing each other.

    One advantage of people using Twitter lies in the fact that when writing a real blog post, they take the time to make it really relevant. Personally, I see micro-blogs as an extension of my own blog (still new at it). The most interesting aspect is that there are many ways to combine both. We can expect more new conversation models to come and probably many different ways to make them interact.

  • http://www.thestrategyweb.com Martin Meyer-Gossner

    Twitter gives us 140 characters for statements – vision need more space for creativity. Blogs will stay but the amount of bloggers will decrease. Twitter can be used as one platform to build communities. A valuable asset…

  • http://stevegarfield.com steve garfield

    Twitter is blogging.

    Reverse chronological posts, each with a permalink, BUT the permalink is not permanent because older posts ‘go away.’

    Are they still there but not displayed?

    I’d like to know.

    The oldest post I can go to on my twitter history is 7:40 AM Mar 12th, 2008 .

    My twiter history only goes back 320 pages.

    http://twitter.com/stevegarfield?page=320

  • http://evaulian-thebestoftheworst.blogspot.com/ Eva Ulian

    I also tend to think that blogs will take on a different aspect due to the growing popularity of Twitter. There will no longer be the rat race to see who can blog first about a given piece of news, nor the emphasis of imperative regular blogging. Blogs will become areas of specialization where one can deepen one’s interest for what cannot be found elsewhere- at least that’s how I foresee things to be in the future.

  • http://stevegarfield.com steve garfield

    Update: The permalinks look like they are still there when you accesst them directly.

    Snowing in Boston!
    3:20 PM Apr 4th, 2007 from web

    http://twitter.com/stevegarfield/statuses/19417351

    It’s the paging interface that doesn’t go back past 320 pages.

    Hmm.

  • greg

    Suggesting Twitter is going to replace blogging is like suggesting that RSS feeds will replace the BBC Web site.

    The only conditions where that makes sense is for bloggers who contribute little more than 140 chars of text-only content at a time to begin with.

  • http://chacha102.com Chacha102

    If Twitter is killing blogging, then this post would have never been made. Because … its blogging :)

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  • greg

    I think you were closer in your post about the isolation of Twitter (http://www.markevanstech.com/2008/12/28/the-webs-addicted-minority/).

    You complain on the one hand about large blogging sites that crank out too much information to read (which I totally agree with, I’ve had to unsubscribe to them because it’s exhausting to try to keep up). And then you recommend using twitter, which seems more like a stream of inane chatter interspersed with links to blogs or useful information.

    I see two things happening when using twitter, and please correct me if I’m wrong (and be honest) because as I said, I don’t use twitter:

    - constantly being interrupted throughout the day as new content gets posted and takes your attention away from actual work. For me, RSS is already bad enough.
    - spending a long period of time each day/week/whatever trying to “catch up” to old tweets, many of which were likely time-sensitive and no longer relevant. Kind of like trying to extract information from a 40-page topic on a forum.

    I still fail to see the value of twitter, and frankly, I don’t CARE to see the value of twitter (and while you’re at it, get off my lawn!). I’m open to someone changing my mind, but right now I can’t get past that fact that it’s effectively just a big chat room.

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  • http://www.meetfriendsmakemoney.com/blog/ Shinil Payamal

    I agree with @Scobleizer. Twitter +is+ Blogging. I hardly blog about anything since I got addicted to Twitter!

    Best Wishes,
    Shinil.
    http://twitter.com/shinils

  • http://usechangeabuse.com rapella

    Disagree with @Scobleizer. Twitter +is+ +not+ Blogging.
    You need to perform some intelligent activity when blogging.
    A chimp can twitter.

  • http://businessmindhacks.com Alex Schleber

    Wow, 35 comments and so far no one has mentioned the in-between options of Tumblr and Posterous (etc.). Mini-blogging(?) without the IM/SMS-like post length restrictions of Twitter. And check out the integration of a Tumblr blog into a main blog at longtail.com. Awesome.

    In truth, if you hook your main blog, your mini-blog(s), and your Twitter micro-blogging stream together in the right way, it shouldn’t be a Zero-Sum Game.

    Also, I due to the “Twitter keeps me from blogging” complaint, I have been working on a way to create short posts automatically from your Tweet stream (similar to, but more selective/powerful than, Twitter Digests already present as a feature in the “Twitter Tools” plugin).

    Follow me on Twitter, I follow back:
    Twitter.com/AlexSchleber

  • http://bernaisesource.blog.com/4563693/ Dan Greenfield

    Great post. Reminds of the studies in the 1990s decrying the shrinking soundbite lengths of political candidates on broadcast news. Who said twitter is the new soundbite? Sad, but true attention spans continue to shorten.

    Characters with spaces = 223

  • http://wilsonhines.wordpress.com Wilson Hines

    Yes, my blogging has suffered greatly! I am amazed at how much I tweet and how little I blog now.

  • http://space.canoe.ca/gadgetguy/blog/view/343472 Greg Gazin

    Great post!

    Twitter is blogging…MicroBlogging

    For me Twitter is good for …”Oh by the way..” I also use it to give people a heads up or a reminder to check out blog posts.

  • http://www.alvinychin.com/blog GadgetMan

    Twitter is broadcast updates within 140 characters, broadcast SMS in my opinion. It is kind of like blogging, but you’re limited in what to say. If you need to write something quick and on the mobile, Twitter is the way to go. However, if you want to write something more substantial which can easily be tracked and commented on, then blogging is the way to go. It’s hard to follow comments back on Twitter messages, since the messages that come through are in chronological order. So it’s hard to see the threads. FriendFeed is much better in this regard.

  • http://www.archcityhomes.com Karen Goodman

    I write a blog and use Twitter, and use them very different purposes. My blog gives me a chance to talk about topics in depth and to share my expertise with people that might consider hiring me (I'm a real estate agent). I try to write using a personal tone, but I keep it very professional and stay on focus.

    Twitter is basically networking. I get to talk about my life, share some tips, and point people to my blog and other posts that I've found helpful. People get to know ME on Twitter, but there is no way to communicate depth of information. Pointing someone to a post solves that problem.

    Anyone can twitter. Only a select group have the writing skills, perseverance and knowledge to blog.

    @karenstl

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  • Ricardo Carreon

    Mark,

    I recently wrote an article on this. Twitter seems to be more suited for distribution of content, for keeping up with your network and event to do some type of IM with your friends. One major difference that I have noticed is that tweets have a very short life span and usually die within 1-2 days of publication (if they don’t become a trending topic or are RT’d by many people). Blog posts continue to have a longer life span mostly given search engines such as Google. An interesting post on a relevant topic can be successful for years and doesn’t get lost quickly within the avalanche of tweets.

    Here is my article with my thoughts on the subject: The Ephemeral tweet: Is Twitter really Killing Blogs? http://ow.ly/1dEg3

  • Mark Evans

    Ricardo,
    You and are definitely on the same page! Thanks for the comment and the article.

    Mark

  • http://www.buraq-technologies.com/ ambreen11

    What a diverse and helpful round up of tips. I need to start using Twitter more, its fun and you do some great ideas with it, and it is definitely a great networking tool.