Monday, May 11, 2009

Why Twitter Killed The Blogging Star

(due apologies). Here's why I think why:

1. It's quick: That's why they call it micro-blogging. Contrast this with writing a long post. I'm not saying posting is better than tweeting. But tweeting is quicker than posting. There's just a "send" button and no "publish" button. You get what I mean.

2. It's always on: Thanks mainly to my mobile phone, which is always on and with me wherever I go. I've not tried writing a blog post on my cell phone and I won't. I know it's too tedious. But Tweetie is the most used app on my iphone. And my data usage is many times more than my voice usage on my cell phone. That kinda tells you it's own story.

3. It's about nothing: With due apologies to Seinfeld, but you can tweet anything. Yeah I know that's what they said about blogging too. But this is different. For example: even though there is an entire blog post in this tweet - "The day someone explains to me what Viva La Vida (the song) is about, I will be grateful. For some reason I can't explain I know St. Peter.." I don't know if I can add more to that thought. (btw, on Coldplay, do read Sasha Frere Jones' take on Coldplay - especially the bit on the lyrics of the ipod song)

4. It's an ego trip: You'd kill to have someone called "sexyhawt69" following you even if you realise later it's just a bot. See the words "follow", "follower" and "following". And then the words "post", "comment", "trackback". 50 comments on your post or 50 new followers in 10 days? Go figure.

5. It's voyeuristic: I just have to know what you're doing to. Digging your nose, sitting on a bus, having a miserable day, angry, happy, joy, sad. What is about our mundane lives that makes others more excited than us? Who knows. But go write a blog post that talks about what you did from morning to night. And then write 10 tweets over 10 hours. No, really do it, to understand what I mean. And then tell me. Because I've not figured it out myself.

6. It's a conversation: This is the part I enjoy the most. A blog post is a monologue, followed by some more monologues in the form of comments. Twitter is conversation. It happens by the minute and goes haywire. No waiting for a response. I've had long tweet debates over politics, music, tech, and a whole lotta more stuff. Sometimes one-on-one and then with two-three people. It's as close as I can get to a real life conversation.

7. It's about who you follow: And not about who follow you (as Twilight Fairy - who introduced me to Twitter - told me early on). I've met some hugely fun people with whom I tweet on a daily basis. And even I'm surprised at what all I've tweeted to absolute strangers. From my son's birth (live between 12am and 8am last year), to his naming and re-naming, to when I was in the ICU a few months back with chest pain. I don't know if I like sharing or I just get a kick out of people staring at my life. Who knows. It's fun.

So here's the deal: It's not that I'm obsessed with Twitter. Or that I'm bored with blogging. It's just that for the last one odd year whatever I've been thinking has been expressed better in a few seconds and in a few words. Which is the other thing about Twitter. You have to shrink everything in those few words. All your emotions and feelings and your very boring life. Which never interested anyone on a blog post. Is suddenly the only thing you want to tweet about. And others want to read about.

I don't think Twitter is even comparable to blogging. There is a joy in writing a post that no 140char tweet can ever replace. Which is the other thing about Twitter. If it shrinks your words, it shrinks your span of attention too. Not something I want on a permanent basis. I will always love to blog. I will always want to blog. If I had the time and patience to sit and type. Like I did today.


prolificdyslexic said...

Hey! Just what we were discussing. You post and I post. Mutually motivating :)
Nice post

Gautam Ghosh said...

we talked about it in the delhi blogger meet, and I quoted this US guy who blogged that twitter is a stream of thoughts and context setting is impossible. If one replies to my tweet in the next couple of hours I can get the context - later than that I am unable to figure it out.

So Twitter is great for context free conversations.

Blogging for setting the context and presenting a cogent logical argument.

You finally had to blog to 'really' explain why you like Twitter over blogging, didn't you?

Raviratlami said...

You finally had to blog to 'really' explain why you like Twitter over blogging, didn't you?he.. he.. he..हे हे हे... હે.. હે.. હે...

Roy said...

interesting point ravi!

Twilight Fairy said...

inspiration is being received. must. blog. soon.

BTW I din really say it.. many ppl on twitter say that and I agree with it :P.

Roy - That wasn't Ravi, that was Gautam who said that :)

Arby K said...

Been using Twitter for two primary uses so far - Conversations and networking. Most of the ppl I converse with on Twitter are ppl I came to know via Twitter. It helps to get a better understanding of people who may have similar interests as you do, but someone you may not know otherwise, despite orkut / facebook.

J. Alfred Prufrock said...

I just don't get it. I've been on Twitter in a dormant state for quite some time, but I'd rather SMS a friend I want to communicate with.

And for thinking, ranting, telling stories, sharing a laugh, there's the blog.

So why tweet?