If blogs are killing newspapers, is Twitter killing blogs?

Today I fell in love with a blog. I wandered onto the blog through an online petition and couldn't stop reading. Her writing was witty. Her posts were intriguing. Her layout was fun and inviting. Her blog was…last updated in January 2009?

How could this happen? This smart, funny DC-based gal called herself a social media junkie but her blog was a graveyard of social media conventions past. Maybe she joined the Peace Corps, I thought. Maybe she had to stop writing because she's running for office. Maybe she's in the hospital in a coma. Then I clicked over to her Twitter page. She was definitely not in a coma or in the Peace Corps. She's just been twittering. A lot. Like, every hour.

My initial instinct was to send her a snarky @ reply on Twitter telling her she needed to get back to blogging more. But then I realized that I was, frighteningly, becoming That Girl.

My blog is dying.

Twitter's just easier. There's a definite advantage to being able to write in short spurts whenever you feel the impulse. As a kid, I wrote pages and pages of scrawling print about horses and families of twelve who go on cruises. Never mind the fact that I didn't have a horse and my mom would sooner catch on fire than take us on a family cruise, my creativity poured out of me. I wrote all the time, everywhere -- much like I do now. It was just more than 140 characters at a time back then.

I signed up for Twitter fairly early on, when only one or two of my friends were on it and I, like most others who have been out of their house within the last five years, took one look at the fail-whale-ridden site and quickly left the page. But since the mass adoption of Twitter, which for me was early 2009, I've noticed a sharp drop-off in the amount of content I'm producing on my blog. I tweet in the morning carpool (when I'm not driving of course), when I'm in a bar, when I'm at dinner, when I'm at work and when I'm not doing anything. And I've started to notice - all of this twittering has got me chattering more and blogging less.

Sure, I'll bang out a long thoughtful post every once in a while, when its raining outside or I've been drinking too much wine. But all the little nuggets that I used to drop onto my blog over the last four years -- a video, a random musing of a few sentences, a shout-out to a friend having an art show or a candidate having a fundraiser -- have been sheared down into tiny, bite-sized tweets that oftentimes are merely a regurgitation of someone else's self promotion or discovery (that's a 140+ way of saying that I'm not afraid to RT). I went through a phase in 2007 where I took a camera everywhere and posted lengthy blogs with photos of people I met who I gave my blog address out to in hopes they would leave a comment or start reading my blog more regularly. Now I use my phone to snap a TwitPic and assume they'll figure out how to find me through Google. My style and even my social dialogue has completely changed.

Tomorrow night, I'm going to a tweetup. I probably will tweet the whole time I’m there ("OMG, just met @fillintheblank!") but I doubt I'll blog about it. After all, this post gets me off the hook for a few more days.

5 Response to "If blogs are killing newspapers, is Twitter killing blogs?"

  • Anonymous Says:

    omg...my blog has died too. I think I spend too much time trying to figure facebook and twitter out that I ignore my blog.

  • Print Brochures Says:

    I think it's kinda sad that people are preferring to twitter than blog nowadays. There are things you can't say with just 140 characters. And probably, those are the best things one could ever say. :)

  • missris Says:

    This is precisely why I have resisted Twitter. I like having to think about what I want to write and then sitting down to write about it. I get inspiration while I'm out and about and then have time to cultivate it and write about it later. If I were tweeting, none of it would ever get posted on my blog, I would just tweet about 75 times an hour.

  • Austin Eavesdropper Says:

    Rachel, are you psychic?

    I was just going down my blog roll, vising various folks...to discover that many hadn't updated in weeks, or even months. Although like your DC gal, the last posts that (most) wrote were funny, sharp, etc. etc.

    I do adore Twitter, and not only is it easier, it's so damn USEFUL. I've promoted any event I've been a part of with Twitter! I heard about Congress passing the healthcare bill through Twitter! However....

    Call me old-fashioned (funny when you hear what I'm about to apply that adjective to), but I do appreciate a well-developed blog. One that is well-written, visually stunning, contains useful information - whatever. I like getting lost in someone else's content. Twitter is great, but not as escapist (at least for me).

    Now, granted...blogs don't have that tasty immediacy that Twitter provides, but to find one that is thoughtfully written, or just really beautiful - those are gems. And becoming even more rare I feel in the advent of Twitter.

  • Mean Rachel Says:

    I'm with ya, AE. I think it takes more discipline to be a blogger than a Twitterer. It's lonlier (at least for me it seems that way), takes more time, requires more thought, typically has very little instant gratification and can be hard to maintain.
    With that being said, I can't remember the last time I cared to look at a tweet from last week, let alone a year ago. Blogs are kind of like my journals from childhood and high school -- important snapshots of my life that I might not really want to dive into right now but it's nice to know that they're there when I'm old and gray.