While blogging is not the be all, end all that it once was in the social Web experience, it would be a mistake to write blogging off as outmoded and no longer relevant (even if it is for those sufficiently ahead of the adoption curve that blogging is old hat already). The one big advantage that blogging has over other media we increasingly use on a day to day basis is its capacity to communicate ideas and messages in longer format posts. Sure Twitter is great for putting stuff out there and (arguably) having interesting real-time conversations, but Twitter is constrained to 140 text characters at a time. Anyone who thinks that Twitter is an appropriate medium to communicate a thought process, possibly with multimedia, is deluding himself.
It is easy to get caught up in the new Web bling and declare old media obsolete. To an extent we have seen that with the “newspapers are dead” debate (I believe that paper based newspapers are on their way out but the professional newspaper will still be around for a while longer if publishers can make successful transitions to digital options – preferrably RSS, even if this is a paid subscription option). The real shift from blog centric communities a year or so ago to where we are (or where we are heading) is that it is becoming increasingly difficult to establish new communal centres focussed on our blogs as the background noise increases. Instead the answer is to consider shifting to a distributed community model and send your content in its various forms out into the social Web using a variety of distribution channels, whether those be lifestreaming services, social platforms or individual services at a time. This is at least the model I have adopted because my friends (real-life and online contacts) are all over the place. Some of them use FriendFeed, some prefer Jaiku. Others use Flickr as their primary photo service and many use Facebook for their social interactions. The point is that it makes more sense for me to send my stuff out to my friends rather than trying to persuade them to subscribe to and follow yet another service or content stream. This is about finite attention and how not to divide your friends’ attention even further unnecessarily.
Coming back to my thoughts about blogs, the format of a blog may vary, as may its platform but there is a place for longer format content pieces and that is something blogs are great tools for. I sometimes forget this in my rush to try out the new stuff and then I remember the value of a blog when I read some of the better written posts in my NetNewsWire subscriptions.