Why I still <3 blogging > Twitter

by Stephen Tall on October 3, 2012

This post isn’t even meta. It’s meta-meta. Meta2, if you will. It’s about bloggers blogging about blogging. And in case that’s not niche enough for you, it starts off about Lib Dem bloggers blogging about Lib Dem blogging.

On the plus-side that bit will only take 250 words and then I give vent to 3 reasons why I still <3 blogging > Twitter (aka love blogging more than Twitter).

Lord Bonkers’ alter ego Jonathan Calder — “the Lib Dem blogfather” as I once, rightly, termed him — kicked it all off, picking up on my remarks at the recent LibDemVoice Blog of the Year awards. (See, I told you this post would get meta. I wasn’t joking.) Here’s one of the wise things he said:

… the awards are not the event they used to be. Insofar as this means there is not the self-promotion and lobbying there was even two years ago, it is welcome. But it also reflects a decline in the volume and vitality of blogging in the party.

This observation prompted further insightful introspection from (in chronological order):

Blogging is a dying art – it must not end before it’s begun. (Andrew Emmerson)
Look, I’m doing my best….:-) (Richard Morris)
A blog about (Lib Dem) blogging – the debate continues… (Neil Monnery)
The stories of the death of blogging may have been greatly exaggerated (Andrew Emmerson)

To which I can only say: I agree with Andrew. The conclusion of his latter post, that is:

Twitter is fine, and useful for short debates, the same with all social networking, it’s also very temporary, which means that any views posted may last for about 30 minutes maximum before they really disappear into the twitter stream abyss. I think there’s room for both. I encourage both. The same cry applies don’t let traditional blogging die!

(Actually I’m not that sure Twitter is useful even for short debates — no useful debate can ever take place in fewer-than-140-character exchanges — but I’m not going there today.)

But what he does highlight is three points about Twitter that increasingly frustrate me and why I dedicate more time and energy to blogging than I do the ‘micro-blogging site’ (as it once was touted to old-school bloggers like me trying to get our heads around it):

1. The unsearchability of Twitter. Remember that really useful link you tweeted last month and you want to find again? Tough: Twitter swallowed it. Maybe they’ll create a tool that releases it some time. Maybe not. Maybe they’ll let other folk create archive tools for Twitter which last more than a few minutes before Twitter changes its policies and breaks them. But probably not until they’ve worked out a way to monetise tweet-retrieval.

2. Ephemera vs The Long Tail. The most popular post on this blog is nothing to do with politics. It’s this quickie about the Oxford comma, which, thanks to some neat SEO, has been read by almost 15,000 people since September 2011, including 500 in the last month. If I’d tweeted it, maybe 100 people would have seen it in the next couple of days, and no-one after a couple of weeks. If you want what you write to endure, blog it don’t tweet it.

3. I don’t control my own content. I’m always surprised more people aren’t bothered by this. But it bothers me. I type stuff into Twitter. I am legally responsible for it. I own it. Yet I have no way of archiving my own content nor of choosing another way of displaying it. Yes, it’s a free service and I don’t have to use it. But so are the WordPress and Blogger platforms and I can still download my content and port it elsewhere if I choose.

Oh, and one final point. As you may be able to tell, I like words. A lot. And blogging kicks Twitter’s ass if you like words.


New meta-blog from me > Why I still <3 blogging > Twitter http://t.co/xxupg4IW

by Stephen Tall on October 3, 2012 at 8:13 pm. Reply #

@AAEmmerson @neilmonnery @richardmorrisuk @lordbonkers Fyi, I mentioned y'all here: http://t.co/IKTWTSym

by Stephen Tall on October 3, 2012 at 8:23 pm. Reply #

I’m just about old enough (20-something) to have not grown up with the internet, and I can’t help but find “traditional blogging” a hilarious phrase. I know what he’s saying but it’s still funny that something created and developed so recently can now be seen as outdated. 😀

by asquith on October 3, 2012 at 9:18 pm. Reply #

I'm with you on that @Asquith still feels weird to call it traditional blogging!

As for the usefulness of twitter for debates – It was just me being kind and skirting around the issue really. Sure there is a lot of mileage in that debate itself.

Now that would be Meta-Meta-Meta-Meta.

by Andrew Emmerson on October 3, 2012 at 8:27 pm. Reply #

Yes, there’s definitely a point to be made that the form of blogging which crystallised about 10 years ago can’t be replaced by Twitter. Recently I invoked (on twitter) a blogpost which I remembered reading when it caame out, four years ago, and considered relevant. We’ve also got archived newspaper articles being pointed out now.

It is a kind of art to express oneself in 140 charachters but it will never really do. To my mind the best use of twitter is to provide an easy linking service to blogs and make pithy observations on them, rather than as one’s sole means of communication. I don’t have my own blog but I’d sincerely hope others continue to do so.

Then you’ve got Tumblr, which seems to be a sort of blogging for people who can’t concentrate for long enough to read or write a traditional blog post. We’ll see what comes of that, but there will always need to be long-form analysis and reporting of some form.

by asquith on October 3, 2012 at 9:43 pm. Reply #

New meta-blog from me > Why I still <3 blogging > Twitter http://t.co/qvDqvbar

by Stephen Tall on October 3, 2012 at 11:14 pm. Reply #

New meta-blog from me > Why I still <3 blogging > Twitter http://t.co/qvDqvbar

by Louise Shaw on October 3, 2012 at 11:50 pm. Reply #

Why I still Twitter http://t.co/2zhTcdTM

by BexhillBattleLibDems on October 4, 2012 at 12:48 am. Reply #

I love words. You are good at the words.

by Louise Shaw on October 3, 2012 at 11:51 pm. Reply #

Thank you 🙂

by Stephen Tall on October 4, 2012 at 8:02 am. Reply #

I like Twitter cos I'm a lazy blogger!

by Daisy Benson on October 4, 2012 at 9:44 pm. Reply #

I’m like you. I blog because it gives me far more scope to explore my thoughts than twitter or Facebook. Like you my most popular post has nothing to do with politics and I have 20 pieces over the 1,000 views mark and only two of them are political. My top one is closing in on 200,000 views and if that was only on social networking sites it wouldn’t have cleared 1,000.

The best example I can give to this is I blogged about my reactions to the Freeh Report and I think 40-50 people read it. About six weeks later it got picked up by a prominent blogger in the US and within hours it had been read by several thousand.

Blogging is about exploring your thoughts and opinions. Twitter is about instant analysis and quick chit-chat.

by Neil Monnery on October 4, 2012 at 2:00 am. Reply #

New meta-blog from me > Why I still <3 blogging > Twitter http://t.co/KcV3cprF

by Stephen Tall on October 4, 2012 at 2:13 am. Reply #

[…] subsequently argued a similar point, following a post by Andrew […]

by Reaching the Terrible Twos | Alex's Archives on October 6, 2012 at 2:59 pm. Reply #

[…] There’s been an interesting debate over the last few days about the state of Liberal Democrat blogging, triggered by a thought-provoking piece from Jonathan Calder about the Lib Dem Voice Blog of the Year Awards and with a recent contribution from my Lib Dem Voice Co-Editor colleague Stephen Tall, which includes a good round-up of links to other people’s contributions to the debate. […]

by Wither Lib Dem blogging? The internal/external dilemma | Mark Pack on October 6, 2012 at 4:50 pm. Reply #

.@MarkReckons joins the debate on 'The state of blogging' http://t.co/IdfpXQtK My thoughts here http://t.co/xxupg4IW

by Stephen Tall on October 7, 2012 at 11:53 am. Reply #

.@MarkReckons joins the debate on 'The state of blogging' http://t.co/IdfpXQtK My thoughts here http://t.co/xxupg4IW

by Louise Shaw on October 7, 2012 at 4:27 pm. Reply #

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