I’m concerned that tweeting (which I do most days) is compromising my blogging (which I seem to do only around once a week now).
To a certain degree, blogging is something that requires perseverance. It’s very much like keeping a diary (albeit generally a public one). You need to set aside regular writing time. Writing about what’s happening in your life is a great mechanism for quiet reflection and also a way to organise your thoughts. I’m not a commercial blogger, so I don’t care much for advertising products or self-promotion. I do occasionally write about causes or topics that I’m passionate about, but it’s usually just because they are occupying my thoughts at the time.
I tend not to blog about work or anything too personal, so there are months with no posts back from when work was occupying most of my time (late 2008 to early 2009). I think that it’s a bit of a shame that I have little record of what I was thinking during those times. I like that this blog is a record of my thoughts and memories for the last 5 years, and missing entries probably represent times that I will tend to eventually forget as a result (which may not be a bad thing). Importantly, this blog is a record that I own. I can take it with me if my hosting company goes belly-up, decides to charge for hosting, or starts deleting old content to save space.
Which brings me onto tweeting.
Twitter is definitely better at capturing immediate thoughts and impromptu online conversations. Granted I could post a bunch of very short posts to my blog, but: most people wouldn’t see them until they next visited my site; some people may read my site via a feed reader, but it may take a while for the posts to appear; people wouldn’t be able to respond as easily as on twitter; and it would take a lot more of my time (since the writing interface isn’t as fast).
My main issue with twitter has been that it’s volatile in many ways. For example, they may bork the interface in a future update, or start injecting advertisements, or decide to become a paid service (unlikely), or start deleting old tweets. I recall reading one day that there is a 3200 tweet history limit, and then another day reading that the federal library is archiving all tweets (as an historical reference). Chances are that twitter won’t be around forever, at least not in its current form as a popular cultural/social online service. Remember myspace, ICQ, geocities, IRC? They’re all around in some way, but most people have moved on.
Still, what’s the point of worrying that my tweets might be lost at some point if the fact is that they would never have existed in the first place if twitter wasn’t around? Also, maybe such fleeting thoughts and inconsequential conversations should be transient anyway. What’s the point or archiving them if you never read them again? There will always be more than enough current posts to occupy your time, without having to live in the past.
Hmmm, this feels a little inconclusive.
I started writing this post because I’ve seen a lot of abandoned blogs, usually written by people who now just spam facebook and twitter. I found it a little sad, and I wondered if I’d end up doing the same thing. After thinking about it, I’m pretty happy with how things are. Sure I write less frequently to this blog, but I write consistently enough to capture key aspects of what I’m up to in my life. I’ve considered installing a twitter archiving plugin, but maybe that’s a vain effort to hold onto communication that should just be enjoyed in the moment.
I guess the only real resolution from all of this thinking and writing is that communication is more enjoyable when it’s participatory. Maybe people abandon their blogs because they don’t get much feedback anymore, and services such as twitter and facebook do more to encourage sharing and comments. I try to counter this by leaving more comments on thoughtful blog posts… I hope that doesn’t make me appear creepy… (you know, when I’m the only one commenting on some stranger’s blog).