Nels writes that some are quitting twitter for blogging due to its longevity: research shows tweets really have a lifespan of just an hour, whereas blog posts may have comments and discussions on them for days, weeks, months or even longer. They’re certainly more searchable than old tweets and old Facebook status updates.
Paul Carr writes of another reason to continue to blog rather than tweet: depth.
“Throughout my earlier archives, I was able to find lengthy, sometimes surprisingly personal, posts – recounting the highs and lows of starting companies, making and losing friends, leaving London, beginning to travel around America and Europe… and countless other published episodes that backed up, and enhanced the contents of my private notebooks. But then, as I clicked forward through the archives to more recent years, something odd happened. At a certain point, the number of posts in each monthly archive dropped off a cliff, particularly where details of my personal life were concerned.
The reason, of course, was that I’d started to use Twitter for that kind of personal stuff. Unperturbed, I moved my research attentions away from my blog archives and over to my Twitter archives – and that’s when I started to panic: for all the dozens of updates I wrote each month, there was absolutely no substance to any of them.
140 characters simply doesn’t give enough depth or breadth to commit events, memories or feelings to the permanent record.
…blogs may have been twee or self-absorbed or clumsily written or emo or just plain boring – isn’t that the joy of a diary? – but they at least required the writer to take the time to process the events of their life, and the attendant emotions they generated – before putting finger to keyboard. The result, in many cases, was a detailed archive of events and memories that they can look back on now and say “that was how I was then”.
And then along came micro-blogging – and, with a finite amount of time and effort available, the blog generation turned into the Twitter (or Facebook) generation. A million blogs withered and died as their authors stopped taking the time to process their thoughts and switched instead to simply copying and pasting them into the world, 140 meaningless characters at a time. The result: a whole lot of sound and mundanity, signifying nothing.
To argue for a mass switch back from Tweeting to [blogging] in the interests of the permanent record is as ridiculous as campaigning for everyone to abandon instant messaging and return to letter-writing. The fact is people are busy (or lazy, depending on your view of humanity) and for the vast majority, immediacy will always trump posterity.
…by constantly micro-broadcasting everything, we’ve ended up macro-remembering almost nothing.”
Leo Laporte also wrote to his return to focus on blogging – on ownership and engagement:
“I feel like I’ve woken up to a bad social media dream in terms of the content I’ve put in others’ hands. It’s been lost, and apparently no one was even paying attention to it in the first place.
I should have been posting it here [on my blog] all along. Had I been doing so I’d have something to show for it. A record of my life for the last few years at the very least. But I ignored my blog and ran off with the sexy, shiny microblogs. Well no more. I’m sorry for having neglected you Leoville.”
It wasn’t easy for me to put together my lifestream – especially pulling out old Facebook status updates and while I love Twitter and Facebook, I’m getting enjoyment out of blogging more regularly again. There was something immensely satisfying writing about the birth of my second son nine days ago on my personal site. It was a different feeling to the immediacy of tweeting his birth announcement and getting back a flood of comments and tweets on Twitter and Facebook:
“Yeah!!!! Just gave birth an hour ago to a gorgeous baby boy Austin no drugs or complications or stitches :) feeling on top of the world”
I’m not going to close down my Twitter or Facebook accounts in the near future, but I am thinking long term about where my written memories are stored. Are you?
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