Sorry @Sznq, Twitter is no substitute for a blog

I just had a brief debate with Suzan Gray which merits a longer response than Twitter can accommodate in 140 characters (and which also demonstrates my point):

sznq tweet 1.png

… to which I replied (somewhat tongue in cheek):

paul tweet.png

… and Suzan retorted:

sznq tweet 2.png

While Twitter is known as a micro-blogging service, it is really more of the following:

  • verbal diarrhea enabler;
  • notification service; and/or
  • status update service.

I’ve debated its use as a chat service and despite being very poorly suited for chat, users do use it for that.

twitter_64.pngWhat Twitter is not, however, is a replacement for a longer form blog. If anything were to come close to that (assuming there is a real need to replace longer form blogs) it would be more like Posterous or Tumblr than Twitter or some other service limited to 140 character bursts.

People who believe that Twitter is the best thing since *INSERT THE LAST GREAT THING* are drinking way too much Twitter Koolaid. Twitter launched in about 2006 and was touted as being so amazing because of its simplicity: you could sent 140 character messages and connect to other users. Well, that simplicity is rapidly disappearing with Twitter starting to look a lot like FriendFeed (although I am sure some fanboys and fangirls will insist it has retained its pristine simplicity or try rationalise that simplicity’s loss) and Twitter is still so unstable that the #failwhale has become part of pop culture (maybe its a feature, not a bug).

Twitter is not all its fans make it out to be. Sure it is a useful service and as much as I dislike it at times like this, I use it daily. It is not the best of breed when it comes to a number of its uses but I have learned that what drives adoption is not quality (otherwise Jaiku and FriendFeed would be huge) but rather what seems cool and is good enough. People on the Web can be stupid that way.

When it comes to blogging, Twitter can’t possibly be a viable medium to express complex thoughts and ideas in much detail. Twitter is the Web’s fast food. It just isn’t going to be as good for idea and information sharing as longer form blogs. What it is good for is connecting people to those longer form content items and that is how the majority of people I am connected to use Twitter.

Twitter “micro-blog” posts are fleeting and virtually insubstantial in real terms. A tweet is soon lost in the massive (and rapidly growing) ocean of tweets. Twitter search only goes back a couple days and if you are a prolific tweeter, your oldest posts are gone because Twitter only retains a limited number of your tweets (my first tweets are lost to me). Blog posts, on the other hand, remain as long as the blog is maintained. They form a more coherent and comprehensive story and are, themselves, sources of breakout discussions and stories.

So you think is a better expressive tool than ? #fail!



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