Recurring Decimals…..

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Twitter killed the blogger ?

with 8 comments

Not that I was very persevering at it, but the advent of Twitter seems to have cut into my already dismal state of blogging. Most off-the-cuff remarks I might have considered putting into a blog [1], I now find myself finishing in 140 characters or less. An example would be the early morning (by Australian time) Champions League final game between Barca and Man U. that Barca won through some superb midfield play, which in other circumstances,  I might have devoted a paragraph or three, I Twittered (Tweeted? Twat ?) about.

For lazy bums such as myself, 140 characters or less is just too tempting; get the rush of sharing your  (half-formed) thoughts with the world out of the way quickly – thoughtful analysis and introspection be dammed.

Then there are other advantages: you have a list of people who follow you on Twitter, and with judicious calculations of whether they are online (or will be) or a  knowledge of their interest, you know you will attract their attention to your Tweet (Twit?). With blogs, it has recently become a crap-shoot: your RSS feeds (wow, that sounds so 2005-6ish!) could be on the subscription list of hundreds (mine isn’t), but most people, I suspect, dont bother reading beyond the first 140 characters anyway. However, this could be a problem with Twitter too: there are those insanes that ‘follow’ hundreds and thousands, and I have no idea if they actually read a quarter of them. But at least you are assurred of being skimmed over by a few, versus the neglect of all.

On balance however, I am not a big fan of Twitter. So call me old-fashioned and stuck in the Web2.0 age, but here goes some reasons:

First, I have noticed that the overall productivity of quite a few of my favorite bloggers has declined since the advent of widespread Twitter usage. This is a personal loss – I do get their Twitter updates, but often it gets lost under a mountain of trivial stuff. Blogs – I can read at leisure. Twitter – early mornings, I cannot be bothered beyond the 5th, or the 2nd if I haven’t had my coffee yet. So I assume I am missing out on the richness of much rants, fisks, and other such goodies.

Second, the tendency of many Twitters (Twats? Tweeters ?) to go on a self-absorbed chronicling of their everyday mundane activities is often disgusting, not to mention boring as hell (ok, so that was the third soy-latte-chai you had today morning, now get over it and be a man by ordering a triple-shot Venti or whatever abomination).

Finally, while Twitter can be put to good use in quick dissemination of information (e.g during the Mumbai blast) – or for interesting updates on the go with iPhones  (e.g. a  few droll observations by the ever reliable gawker from a suburban pub tonite) etc., the total misuse or worse, cluelessness, of the platform by many is absolutely irritating. A well known blogger and journalist I was following for a while suffered from the worst case of verbal  diarrhoea I have had the misfortune of reading – his opinion seemed to be that the 140 characters limit was a simple inconvenience, easily abrogated by breaking up a blog-sized posting  (never pithy to begin with) into 30-40 Twitters!! I exaggerate of course, but not by much.

So unfollow these people you miserable Luddite twat, I hear the cry goes. Rest assured, my Twitter following is kept at the bare minimum: I think I follow a little more than 30 people (!) – four of them are celebrities, or people who I consider celebrities (Stephen Colbert, Kal Penn, Mindy Kaling and Samit Basu), a few were reciprocal followers (I have stopped this now, unless I know the person) and why they wanted to follow me in the first place I don’t know, a couple are institutional Twitters (e.g NIH, CDC) and I plan to expand into this soon, and the rest are people whom I used to follow on their blogs, some I have met personally as well.

As such, I don’t think that Twitter is a very bad thing, but hope it will be put to better use.

Anyhow, there ends a not very brief rant. And now, excuse me while I link this to an Twitter update 😛


[1]: Even on a good week, less than 50% of putative blog posts actually get past the drafts stage.

Written by BongoP'o'ndit

May 28, 2009 at 7:55 am

8 Responses

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  1. I agree with blogging becoming more sporadic with twitter. Previously if I had a single thought, I had to stretch it out to a bloggable size by adding filler material and songs and stuff. Now with twitter it can be disseminated in raw concentrated format in a single sentence. But like you, I still am a fan of blogging because the temporary writer’s high you get after you finish a blogpost cannot be replicated in twitter.

    By the way, I don’t have an iphone. I use a three year old antique cellphone and each of my tweets takes me five minutes because I am terrible at texting.


    May 28, 2009 at 8:41 am

  2. Blog will survive Twitter, the Web 2.0 equivalent of the twenty-twenty.

    For social media to survive in its true sense (vis-a-vis potential to make a difference as an alternate media source) it is imperative that blog survives what is essentially a social networking twitter.


    May 28, 2009 at 11:47 am

  3. “the tendency of many Twitters (Twats? Tweeters ?) to go on a self-absorbed chronicling of their everyday mundane activities is often disgusting, not to mention boring as hell”

    You mean, Twitter doesn’t really mean it when it asks, “What are you doing?” Damn! I’ve been doing it wrong all this time.

    On a serious note, I agree about blogging getting the short shrift thanks to Twitter but as Gawker points out, it may be getting rid of all the unnecessary verbage. I know I tend to stretch my posts at times to get what a tweet would easily accomplish. But then, blogging is so much fun too.

    And twat? Really? Not if you are urban dictionary-aware 🙂


    May 28, 2009 at 11:48 am

  4. @gawker: apologies – I thought everyone excluding me walked around with big rectangular screens that they kept jabbing at during conversations !!
    Extra kudos for your effort in keeping us entertained.

    @Anil: So are blogs Test cricket or ODI 🙂

    @Pat: Pat was aware of the (slightly more) polite meaning of the word….. one learns new things everyday. (but nothing personal ….except perhaps the 4th para from the end 😉 )


    May 28, 2009 at 4:52 pm

  5. The only real utility I have derived from Twitter so far is that of getting some links to interesting news stories. Twitter has not been a waste of time, nor has it been addictive, but it has certainly been underwhelming.


    May 28, 2009 at 9:02 pm

  6. In fact, I agree with the Overlord. No withdrawal symptoms when away from Twitter. But then I don’t use my phone to tweet or to read tweets.


    May 29, 2009 at 12:01 pm

  7. Really! I wonder how do people keep up after following 500…1000…5000 users? I guess after a time u have to accept u cant be reading your timeline all the time.
    First time here. Is your blog name inspired from the famous Hoh Joh Boh Roh Loh by Sukumar Ray?


    June 26, 2009 at 2:13 pm

  8. @Reema: Blog name is inspired by Sukumar Ray, though not Ha-ja-ba-ra-la; it’s from Lakshaner Shaktishel. You are the first person to notice the link 🙂

    Keep visiting, I promise I will update the blog soon 😛


    June 26, 2009 at 6:14 pm

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