I’ve come to a painful realization in the past few months: I need to blog more and tweet less.
Don’t get me wrong – I’m a huge fan of Twitter. I’ve learned a lot from them from both a user-perspective and a product-perspective.
The problem, however, is that tweets are ephemeral. They offer an interesting combination of news sharing, brief commentary, and even a smattering of public dialog. Unfortunately, they dissipate like snow flakes on a warm windshield.
I’ve been posting on the blog for several years now. Almost 700 posts total. But there is no question that my blogging activity has dropped considerably as I’ve tweeted more. This is my first blog post in over a month.
And where are those tweets now?
In 2006 I wrote a thoughtful, but brief blog post about the Orion program, and the reinvigorated plans to establish a permanent presence on the moon. A few weeks ago, President Obama put forth a proposal to kill the program. I tweeted several times about it… but no blog post. It’s sitting on a “to do” list of blog topics that I haven’t completed.
Does it matter?
I suppose it depends on the reasons that people have for blogging. For me, blogging serves multiple functions:
- Blogging allows me to collect and share opinions about topics of interest (e.g. The Real eBay Magic: Irrational Commerce)
- Blogging allows me to demonstrate my interest / skills around a topic (e.g. The Personal Economics of Farmville)
- Blogging allows me to share knowledge publicly (Roth IRA Loophole: Everyone Can Qualify in 2010)
- Blogging allows me to keep a diary of topics of interest (The Self Organizing Quantum Universe)
- Blogging allows me to personally experiment with social media (Category: Blogging)
Unfortunately, I’m worried that the trade off between tweeting and blogging is having a significant long term impact on many of these goals.
My working theory is that Twitter is influencing me to blog less in two ways:
- It’s real time. As a result, I’m more likely to comment on something during the day, rather than waiting until the evening to blog about it after work. But, once I’ve commented, the pressure to blog about it lessens.
- It’s where I get my news. As I’ve started depending on Twitter more for news than Google Reader, my old workflow of going through blog posts and articles, finding topics of interest, and then blogging has been broken.
Now, Twitter has its own value. In terms of traffic generation, I find it phenomentally effective. It has also become my primary conduit to gain environmental awareness of topics both personal and professional. Twitter has also enhanced my professional reputation in a number of circles – circles that rarely if ever discovered by blog.
As a result, while I’m still going to tweet frequently in the coming month, I’m also going to make a renewed effort to blog more frequently over the next 30 days. At minimum, I’m going to shoot for 1-2 posts per week, to get some rhythm back into the exercise.
I’m also going to experiment with some different tools and features to see if I can’t help turn topics that I find interesting enough to tweet about into topics I’m interested enough to blog about.