Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Twitter and "mini-blogging"

The popular description of the unique service that is Twitter is that it's a "mini-blogging" or "micro-blogging" service. By this, they mean you can post 140 characters of text, just enough to let folks know what you're doing. Most people, as I've mentioned elsewhere, are fairly good about posting just one or two posts every now and again. Be that as it may, when certain of the folks that I am following go to certain meetings or watch some things on TV (yes, there are still people watching scheduled network TV in 2008. Go figure.), they tend to live-blog the event, rather than just toss out a micro-post or two.

I never watched a minute of the 2008 Olympics live (well, I may have seen some in a restaurant, but never on purpose), yet some folks felt compelled to document every medal, every event, as though I had NBC on in the corner. Now, this week, I am being treated to posts about the Democratic Convention. Next week, it will be the Repuiblican Convention. Don't these folks realize that this is counter to what Twitter is all about? What part of "micro" is hard to understand??

So, next time you're planted in front of the tube, or if you're in a conference with a great speaker, monitor yourself. If you've posted more than two tweets in a half-hour during an event (@replies don't count), do your followers a favor. Stop. Turn off Twitter, and fire up a real blogging tool. You have stepped over the line, and are no longer micro-blogging, you're "fer real" blogging, just with the wrong tool. Capture those Tweet-worthy ideas into the proper tool, ruminate over them a little, compose a proper post, and then push it out into the world - and make sure you tweet the post, so we can all read it. Your friends who have purposely decided not to watch what you're participating in will thank you. Your friends who are at (or watching) the same event will kick themselves later when they see your wise, polished words on your blog, and compare it to the disconnected slivers they burped out during the event, while not paying attention to the next point. Through your post, there will be a second chance for you and the world to consider your recollection of the event, and the blogosphere will have more quality material from which to search and quote. Future generations will possibly benefit as well.

And maybe there will be fewer FAIL-Whale sightings.

Edited Monday; September 22, 2008:
I just found this great piece (as usual) from Merlin Mann, which puts forth the idea of pausing far better than I had thought about it. His idea is that all social networks need a pause button of some sort, just like you can pause your newspaper or mail delivery. The nice thing about pause, rather than the "unfriend/re-friend" sequence is that it's invisible to the followee, and thus avoids the drama that certain folks have with people managing their own information inputs.

from dusty archives - Largo Lodge

[ed. This piece was written some time ago, but I found it recently while moving hard drives on a computer. I thought some folks may find it ...