The New Twitter and the Future of Blogging

As you might already know, Twitter announced this week that they’ll be redesigning their user experience dramatically. They will partner with several other sites to allow users to publish content in tweets. These sites are: Dailybooth, DeviantArt, Etsy, Flickr, Justin.TV, Kickstarter, Kiva, Photozou, Plixi, USTREAM, Vimeo, Yfrog, and YouTube

But a comment a co-worker of mine made was, I thought, very interesting: What effect will this have on Tumblr?

Tumblr is a blogging platform that many people love for it’s ability to easily share media in almost exactly the same way, the difference being it can also host the pictures, videos or even audio recordings shared. The one thing Tumblr has always had going against it is a lack of users. This may be because comments can only be made by one’s connections.

Twitter, however, is already widely used and has many people trolling other people’s content. You might find a Tumblr page if you know the address, or if the author has done the right kind of SEO to get it found. Not that there aren’t great and popular Tumblr blogs – it’s just that there isn’t a dedicated group of users like there is with Twitter.

Twitter vs Tumblr

Twitter vs Tumblr

If I’m going to be honest, though, Tumblr – and more generally, blogging – is BETTER than Twitter. And I’ll tell you why:

A friend of mine has a blog on Tumblr documenting his 180 days using only his iPad for personal use, covering each day on the blog until he can buy a new Mac. Like Twitter is attempting to do now, Tumblr allows him to share media on the page, not links to other sites that hold it.

But as a blogging platform, it also allows him to write. If he has something to share at length, he can.¬†Twitter, by it’s definition, doesn’t allow that. I think this is a growing problem with social media being so widespread, that the simplest, most effortless kind of communication is what will always fair best. Blogs, on the other hand, which started it all, fade in popularity because they require something of both the reader and the author: A willingness to enjoy lots of words.

This thought occured to me first, ironically, on Twitter. I was talking with an old friend from my LiveJournal days, @Giania:

@CiaoEnrico: I remember not only writing 1000 word posts about my life, I read other people’s 1000 word posts. I miss that!
@Giania: Yeah me too. I feel like everything’s faster & less clear these days. I have a love/hate relationship with the shift

Twitter’s great for quick exchanges like this, granted. But some of us like sharing a lot more than this – and friends are willing to read it, trust me. When you only have a dozen or so friends, all of them writing about what’s going on in their lives, you care and want to be involved. You keep up with them, offer advice, get into arguments, console… there may not be as many connections as there are on Facebook or Twitter, but the connections you do have are of higher quality.

Maybe the problem is that so many of us who come to Social Media don’t know how good it can be, only that it’s a great way to be potentially famous. So many people cynically value responses, comments and views for their ability to make what they’ve posted get seen by more people – not because of the real reason for comments and responses – socializing with other people.

In short, I like what Twitter is doing for publishing. I’m not crazy about what they’ve done to truncate conversations.

Until people decide they have more to say than 140 characters at a time will allow, “short” is simply where it is.

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