Twitter killing blogs?

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The likes of Paul Boutin and Ian Sample have talked about why micro-media like Twitter and the like are the future and blogs are on the endangered list. The argument goes something like this: blogging is now too big, its hard to find the good content from the bad with all the noise out there and the gifted amateur is now replaced by mainstream media.

They consider Twitter to be the new frontier. Its brevity means that its harder to write truly awful tweets. Whilst some of their points have a certain amount of merit, brevity is a valuable concept, I disagree with Boutin for a number of reasons:

  • Even if blogs as a platform died, the metaphor of blogging is so ingrained in the online text media from the comments sections under each story on the BBC and The Guardian to the personality driven columns of the New York Times Online and The Telegraph Online that their influence would live on
  • Web search allows us to find the compelling content out there, if we can’t find and follow the blog that we want,  a modicum of skill with Google, Yandex or Yahoo! will yield a good number of other options. Indeed, blogging is search’s friend – regularly updated content with high relevance is just what the search index ordered. If you are bothered about your personal online reputation, having a blog is a great way to help assure the quality of the reputation that you will have on Google
  • Blogging has a place because long form written communications has its place.  Not all communications fits into 140 characters: ‘Pass the peas please Norma’, ‘I am running late’ or ‘I am at my desk’ don’t necessarily set the world on fire. The banal nature of the vast majority of SMS sent bares witness to this, exposing them into the public light must be a nightmare of blandness despite the superstar-Tweeters like Robert Scoble whom Boutin so admires. Boutin’s argument isn’t about the platform, but about exclusivity, I saw the same thing 20 years ago when ‘normal’ people started going to the underground house nights that my friends and I were part of
  • From a business point of view BuzzLogic conducted research showed that consumers trusted blogs more than micromedia like the Facebook status messages from their friends or Twitter. That trust has a value when it influences purchasing decisions, which means real money
  • Twitter isn’t a replacement for blogs, but it does lend itself to augmenting blogs in a similar way to RSS, I currently get 10 per cent of my traffic from Twitter, people see the link to my latest blog post and click through. Or where someone has written or done something online which speaks for itself, posting the link on Twitter may be sufficient, Stephen Davies does this a fair amount

In summary think that the views expressed by Boutin are too simplistic as he assumes blogging is just about the cult of the celebrity in a web of noise. Instead, I think that blogging isn’t dead; its context and the way we relate to it is changing. In some ways, augmenting blogging with micro-media provides us with more vibrant content.