Nostalgia for blogs

Posted by Rob Walker on March 6, 2009
Posted Under: "Social" studies,Progress

Today a blog I read via RSS basically announced its own demise. The reason? The author now prefers Twitter. I checked the Twitter feed and it was, of course, far less substantial than the blog had been. In fact I didn’t seen a single tweet of interest, whereas this person’s earlier blog posts had been, with some regularity, worth a look. If I don’t “follow” this person, I miss the possibility of some future interesting tweet — at least a link I would have missed, something.On the other hand, if I do follow, I 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. I’m interested in this person’s thinking — but I’m not that interested.

Too bad. Maybe someone else who follows this person will pick up on the occasional interesting tweets and blog about them? Or will I eventually capitulate and start following, the days of (kinda) thought-out blog posts fading into —

Whoa, I better wrap this post up — it’s so long!

Further diversion may be found at MKTG Tumblr, and the Consumed Facebook page.

Reader Comments

I agree completely. Twitter is 99% noise and I prefer a well thought out and substantial blog post anytime. I think the internet needs a smaller amount of higher quality content, rather than a larger amount of low quality content. Twitter promotes the latter.

Written By Sensible Fellow on March 6th, 2009 @ 6:32 pm

I think what this amounts to is the contrast between reader utility and author utility. You and I get a lot more from a well-written, thought-out blog, but that stuff takes a lot of time to pull together. And since nearly everyone – even very well-read bloggers – who write a blog isn’t making any real income off of it, it’s something that’s basically a donation of time to the greater good. Which is nice, but keeping up a regular and useful blog can get tiresome with only gratitude as thanks. Whereas Twitter can be continually updated in interstitial spaces, without a lot of thought but rather random flashes of inspiration – which in turn can be a lot more useful for the author, tracking and recording what they’re thinking through the day and not impinging on what they’re *actually* doing.

I don’t disagree with the signal-noise ratio, but it comes down to the experience of the blogger/Twitterer – what, in the end, are *they* getting out of it?

Written By jkd on March 6th, 2009 @ 10:47 pm

Twitter should be a means to an end, not an end in itself. Just like myspace and facebook, twitter is social networking. If you ever want to own content (and eyeballs) you have to do it through a blog. If you are only using a myspace blog, facebook blog (does that exist?), or twitter you are being lazy–they get your eyeballs.

Written By Dr. Horowitz on March 7th, 2009 @ 12:18 am

OH boy, I don’t know if I even have time to Twitter or as stated above: have the eyesight these days to view all my feeds via.

In regards to the Creating a New Craft Culture Conference that you’ll be guest speaking at, I would love to see a video/ of your actual presentation!

Written By Nikko Moy on March 7th, 2009 @ 8:10 am

Hey! I resemble that remark!

Certainly blogs and twitter have very different functions and one is not a substitute for the other. I wouldn’t expect my blog readers to want to read my twitter stream. On the other hand, if the blogging muse is sleeping, and one doesn’t want to wait for the full length articles or books to be released, isn’t it nicer to let people know you can still be found somewhere rather than nowhere at all?

I love blogging but it takes a sustained commitment and concentration that can be really hard to maintain consistently over the long haul when it’s a labor of love. I hope my own slow blog period will pass.

Worth noting tho that I have more twitter followers than I ever had rss subscribers, so I’m not sure your sentiment is fully shared. Different but ovetlapping audiences.

Written By Nancy on March 7th, 2009 @ 9:07 am

The true identity of the blogger referenced will be revealed only to the winner of a future charity auction.

Written By Rob Walker on March 7th, 2009 @ 9:36 am

Nikki M: I don’t have any control over that event, but if they do such a thing I’ll try to mention here.

JKD & Nancy: I intended only to speak as a fan of a particular blog, not as a critic of people who choose to use Twitter.

Written By Rob Walker on March 7th, 2009 @ 3:23 pm

I use my Twitter feed to help drive traffic to my blog by posting links whenever the blog is updated. However, I try to keep variety in my Twitter feed by sharing interesting articles, sites, etc. I’ve come across, little bits of insight, and quick commentaries on what I’m working on.

Whether it be on my blog, or Twitter, I try to provide the reader with something of value; something that they might find interesting. And if I can throw in a bit of my personality in the mix so they can get to know me a little better, then so be it.

Written By Clint on March 10th, 2009 @ 3:48 pm
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