Wednesday, April 8, 2009

Twitter and chat – will it drain or feed our blogs?

The interaction between the blogs is a great part of the fun of blogging. I don’t think I would have half as fun doing this if I was like a lonely island, inhabited by myself and rarely ever visited by someone else. The PPI is not intended to be an eremite cave for contemplation in solitude. It’s supposed to be a pub and a hub.

Until now the Blogosphere has worked just fine for me. We constantly exchange thoughts through our blogs in several ways. We make short comments when we stop by, we extrapolate on the posts of others in follow-ups and respond to memes. You can literally see the ideas bouncing around like a pinball ball.

Recently however, I’ve realized that there is a lot of other interaction going on that I’m not a part of. As a matter of fact, I’m standing by the sideline, or rather – I’m completely outside of it; I haven’t got a clue of what’s going on behind those curtains.

BA Chatroom
The insight has dawned upon me step by step. I’ve noticed how bloggers more and more are referring in their posts to discussions they’re having with each other in other media than their ordinary blogs. “As we discussed in the Blog Azeroth chatroom the other day” or “On Twitter we talked about…”

I never know what they’re referring to since I don’t twitter at all. I have occasionally stopped by shortly the BA Chatroom, but I can’t hang around there all day long while I’m working. And if I’m sitting at my computer at night, I’m either playing, having the whole screen covered by WoW, and my attention directed towards what’s going on there, or I’m writing blog posts.

Have you ever tried to write a text and follow a chat conversation at the same time? Maybe some of you younger bloggers have that simultaneous capacity – I definitely haven’t got it. Either I’ll write a lousy blog post or I’ll lose track of the ongoing discussion. So my visits there tend to be not more than a brief “just saying hi”. I’m nothing but a temporary guest and I will never feel as I’m one in the crew.

Twitter
And then there is this Twitter thing. Taking the risk to sound terribly old fashioned, not up-to-date with the modern media landscape, I must admit that I still fail to see the point. I’m not quite sure what’s holding me back, but I think requires me to split my intention in too many directions. I’m split up enough as it is, since I’m notoriously curious about things and tend to inhale all sorts of useless information, just because it’s there. Add Twitter into it and my head will explode.

Another issue I have is the 140 letters restriction. I know I tend to rant, and that putting things brief is a noble art, but that is too little for my taste. The level of the conversation gets so low that it becomes completely uninteresting to me. I want to exchange thoughts, not random shoutouts of whatever thought comes into my head. I don’t settle with those fragments, blowing around in the air as dry leaves. I want them to grow on a tree; I want them to be connected to something bigger.

So I don’t hang around much in the chat room and I don’t twitter. The question is: is it a problem. Will my blog be cut off from the rest of the Blogosphere, since I’m not into those other networks, which obviously are getting stronger?

Probably not. I still have interaction with some bloggers through comments and linking. And the blogosphere is no different to real life in the manner that you can’t be everywhere and do everything at the same time. You have to choose which fields you want to play with and I’ve chosen to focus my time and effort when it comes to WoW-related out-of-game activities to my blog instead of a chat room or Twitter. Let the chatters and twitters have their fun; there are still enough people around who want to read blog posts rather than one-sentence messages.

Drainage or inspiration?
Still I can’t rid myself of a nagging worrying feeling, and I’ve been trying to pinpoint it. I think what’s bothering me is the question if all this chatting in other media in the long run will distract bloggers from maintaining their ordinary blogs.

If they’ve already shared what’s going on in the game through other channels and ranted their heart out in the chat room, will they still be motivated enough to post about it as well? They’ve discussed it, they’ve formulated their thoughts and they’ve had some feedback. Will the urge to blog be as strong as it would have been without those other let outs?

On the other hand, it’s very much possible that the chatting and twittring has the very opposite effect. Maybe they provide ideas and inspiration for bloggers to come up with new posts.
If you look at institutions such as Blog Azeroth and Twisted Nether, I’m convinced that they contribute a lot to the fact that there are so many new blogs popping up every day, and that there are so many blogs that keep running, month after month, year after year. Maybe Twitter and the BA chat are just two more institutions to provide the community an infra structure.

As long as the bloggers won’t turn lazy I’m fine with it. But if people slow down on their posting because of it, I think it’s a loss.

A sentence in twitter or a chat will be heard for a second by a few, and then be lost in time and space. A great blog post will last for years. Think about that when you decide where to put your energy and focus in the blogging community.

24 comments:

gnomeaggedon.net said...

Definitely inspiration.

I don't think I have seen any convos drain out to the point that they don't end up as a blog post.

Quite the reverse. Someone's offhand quip or sought after solution will give rise to a flood of posts.

Think of them more as a stream of blog comments (without an original post to spur them) rather than competition to a blog.

it's also nice to get that opportunity for "bar room" conversation... a series of one liners that get you thinking.

We managed to catch up once on gchat.. and it was wonderful to have the immediate interaction.

It's the same with the other media.. instant gratification leading to long term discussion.

Twitter is a world to itself, in that you only ever get snapshots of what is/has just happened.

It's a great way to discover bloggers that you otherwise wouldn't stumble across.

It's also a great way to bounce ideas, or confirm content. throw it out there to your "100's" of followers, and see what comes back

DeftyJames said...

I am an anti-Twitter person myself; always have been, always will be. The analogy above to bar-room chat is spot on. The only time I'll ever go to a bar is to play pool (billiards). And if you like bar room chat, you will like Twitter. If you despise barroom chat, you will stay away from Twitter for all your life.

That comment shouldn't be taken as an anti-Twitter rant; I don't think it will ruin the Internet or blogs. But what is right for one person is not right for everyone. Some people like to hang out in bars and throw one-liners around and hit on the opposite sex. Some people like to have long winded chats in diners. Still others prefer the rigor of scientific debate. I think the medium you choose to communicate in says less about the medium and more about your personality. As my Momma would say, "If the shoe fits, wear it." And if it doesn't fit, find another shoe. I think there will always be bloggers because there will always be people who like that type of communication best. And if Twitter opens up the Internet to a new wave of people or a new style of expression, I can live with that. Just like I can live knowing bars exist. Just don't ask me to go to one.

Aurik said...

@defty If you think of twitter as a 'replacement'or equivalent to blogging then of course you're going to be dissapointed.

A better analogy would be the difference between writing a letter and writing a note - if you're telling your flatmate / partner / parents that you're going out to get some sugar then they don't need a three page letter and it's these small cumminications that twitter works well for.

@Larísa I can totally understand the chatroom thing - whilst I love sitting chatting in there I cannot concentrate enough and often ended up afking most of the time. The fact they've moved to yet another chat protocol which requires yet another different chat client also doesn't help. :P (wtb irc).

Twitter, I think, has actually kept me blogging and has kept me closer up to date with other bloggers in general - I've found a lot of new blogs from it :)

However! Using twitter via the website did not work at all for me - I use twitterfox, which pops up any twitters I recieve every 3 minutes in my browser window - essentially it becomes like a slow IM / chat channel but I can completely filter it out when I'm busy with other things.

I think you should give it a go and stop worrying about making perfection in 140 words - just as you wouldn't need perfection to say 'Gone to get some sugar, back in 10'.

/hug

holydiscipline said...

I am a Twitter person myself and I agree with gnomeaggedon - I find that it does a great job of providing ideas and inspiration rather than draining ideas from the blogger in a forum where an idea will "only be around for a second."

Not to get nit-picky, but sure, the text might be up for a second and then it will scroll on by, but that one tweet can be the inspiration for a blog, for a thought process that helps a player understand their class a little better or an insight into the mechanics of their guild or a particular fight. It's more than just "chat" that goes on in Twitter. There's an exchange of ideas both on a "professional" level (and by that I refer to blogging and WoWing) and a personal level.

Getting to know bloggers on a more personal level creates a new facet to their blogs and what they have to write. Which is something that isn't available otherwise, I think, unless you already have a pre-existing friendship with the blogger. And that's a really cool thing.

Plus, being on twitter and being networked to other bloggers gives me a chance to discover blogs that I would probably have never found before. It's a great way to find blogs that are current, rather than clicking multitudes of links on "index" websites, since you're not sure if the blog is active or not. (I especially like this part of Twitter myself.)

And I will admit, the character limit sucks, but of course we work around it. I've had people say to me, "Why would you want to be on a website where you say what you're doing?" And status messages might be what it was started to be, but what it's morphed into is more like an instant messenger - if you're into the "chat-sort" of thing, then you're into it. If you're not a Twitter person, then nothing I can say will change your mind ;) (Although I have to say I was tempted to ask you to join many times before this entry, but know I know better) :)

Klinderas said...

I make sure to try to post every day, and to try to post something worth reading.

Even with twitter!

Heck, twitter certainly gives me inspiration from time to time. It also give people another way to talk to me, even though I don't spend a lot of time on it.

Samodean said...

A quick, random comment in BA chat weeks back has grown into what could be one of the most epic events to hit the blogosphere in the history of ever.

Okay, maybe not, but BA and Twitter have definitely helped me grow.

thedoctor said...

"Will my blog be cut off from the rest of the Blogosphere, since I’m not into those other networks, which obviously are getting stronger?"

Absolutely not, nothing will replace the Inn!

spinksville said...

Maybe try it and see what you think? I like the sense of community from twitter, unlike a chatroom it doesn't matter if you are online when everyone else is.

I mean, knowing what the internet is like, who knows what we all will be doing in a year or so? But I think blogging has established itself as a new and pretty exciting way for people to self publish and build communities of interest. I don't think that's going to go away.

gnomeaggedon.net said...

Interestingly... a Tweet was sent out saying "Check out Larisa's post on Twitter".

That's one of those things about twitter... spreading the word far & wide, often about non-wow things

Klepsacovic said...

I talk to different people in different ways about different things for different purposes. In other words, unless a super-blog medium comes along, I don't find it likely that I will stop blogging.

If I'm feeling philosophical or like I need to explore the future a bit, I like my blog for that. I don't find that those trains of thought work well in direct conversation. They are easily wrecked by interruption and the social demand for constant shifting of focus to deal with every incoming response. Before long I'm just responding to responses and can't do much thinking.

Tiny, quick messages don't work well for me. I can be concise, but for me it requires a process and sometimes a lot of time and editing. If I try to just write something short and quick I always end up feeling that I left out too much or ended up with too much ambiguity. I hate poor communication; it's too conducive to accidental arguments or just plain looking stupid.

I'd avoid thinking of any of these things as new, at least not right away. Distracting text conversation, is that not the core of any guild chat? I think I've referred, briefly, to in-game conversation. In that regard those conversations have helped my blog, not hurt it.

Blogs give the writer practically unlimited time and space to say exactly what you want to say, how you want to say it, and you can edit it 50 times or never. Sure a chat can bounce ideas very quickly, but it's much harder to develop them into something that really works the mind, as I said earlier on.

Though I am curious about this Blog Azeroth thing, haven't heard of it. What's that gray thing? Oh that's my rock, I live under there.

Vape said...

"Will my blog be cut off from the rest of the Blogosphere, since I’m not into those other networks, which obviously are getting stronger?"

I'm fairly new to the world of WoW blogging, but speaking for myself: No blog that has the insight and forethought to post on this very topic and things like it needs fear Twitter. Discussions like this hold my attention much longer than, say, Rilgon's Twitter feed (which is quite entertaining in its own right).

I view each blog that I frequent as a sort of second generation of a newspaper, but very specialized in its content.

News media today uses Twitter like its the best thing since Guttenberg, and a large number of people find out newsworthy things on Twitter before they'd go to CNN.com, but it's a matter of depth.

Feed-based micro-publishing like Twitter has its place. I think it will only server to expand the appeal of alternative media like blogging, not threaten it.

Human interaction hasn't become that shallow.

Yet.

Rosi said...

Oddly enough, I was directed here by a tweet ;)

Scotty said...

I think twitter/chat will help bloggers with inspiration, and advertising...

Most blogs, the ones I read at least are pretty well thought out, decent length posts that have clearly taken a lot of time and effort to write (this very blog is a great example of that)

Although I dont use them, I imagine twitter and chat is more for short sharp messages...

Think email vs sms, both are useful, both have their place, but personally, I wouldnt like to have to choose

*vlad* said...

I don't see a conflict of interests. Anything that encourages interaction between game players is good, I think.

I don't bother with Twitter myself, seeing as all my blog posts are made during my lunch break at work; I barely have time to read half the blogs I want to in that time.

Ben said...

One thing to remember is that blogging is a transient media. It's not a matter of _if_ it will die, it's a matter of when.

That said, I enjoy both Twitter and blogging. I'm actually a Twitter purist, despising folks who use Twitter as a sort of public IM conversation. It's meant to be used as a means to communicate short, pithy thoughts/statements/etc.

On my site Twitter is just another form of me communicating with readers and followers.

Daria said...

Just keeping up with my blog reading everyday already distracts me from work, so I can't imagine having chatroom talk going by constantly.

I haven't seen Twitter at all but if it is what I imagine it is, then I can't see it replacing blogs.
While I'm sure it provides great ideas and news, it requires too much attention.

I don't see myself using it, but this is also coming from someone who doesn't even send text messages.

Darraxus said...

No worries Larissa, I dont Twitter either and I tried to find the Blog Azeroth chatroom only to get lost 0_0

Ixobelle said...

zero interest in twitter.

none.

gnomeaggedon.net said...

Hey Larisa, you need to add a new category into your "Blog Achievement list", just before "Get linked by WoWInsider. It is:
The Mini-Link
Get Tweeted by WoWinsider...

Rilgon from Stabilized Effort Scope http://www.stabilizedeffortscope.com/ was tweeted this morning for a 500 hit Twitter Crit.

wowgoldworld said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Faulsey said...

Actually, for me, the combination of Twitter, BA Chat and Blogging is the only thing keeping me playing WoW.

It used to be, when I played FFXI and when I first started on WoW, that I'd play a -lot- for a couple months, burn myself out, and quit for a few months, then come back to it.

With WoW these days, I continue to play solely so I can stay involved in the community - Oh, I still enjoy the game, but apart from a few heroics, I don't really do much on it at the moment, mostly because the way my job works I can't really raid on set days, so I don't raid at all now.

I've certainly found both Twitter and BA chat to be great inspiration for blog posts - both in depth posts and silly, fun posts.

And @Ben: I'm a twitter "IMer", and I see no reason why it shouldn't be used like that. There are so many people I speak to on twitter that for real IM, the only options would be to gather up all their E-mail addresses and pester them to go on MSN or Pidgin, or get everyone to join a chat room - and why go to the bother when we can just use Twitter? We all still use it the "normal" way, turning it into "IM" mode as needed.

Syrana said...

I don't think Twitter or BA Chat will cut off blogging. I'm relatively new to the Twitter scene, but it's been a great way to connect with other bloggers, find new bloggers, and exchange ideas.

I love when someone does a quick "Twitter Poll" to get some fast feedback.

True, I don't use Twitter as it was originally intended and it becomes more instant messaging, but I like it when I'm on... but I'm not on it more than I play or more than I blog.

I do really like it for the nights when I don't have a chance to play... get some of that social interaction fix for a bit.

It's also helped me with finding some more readers. They are good networking and social outlets, but they wouldn't be able to replace the blog.

I mean.. I get inspiration out of guild chat too sometimes, right? :)

Kromus said...

I dont have a clue what Twitter and that...room thing is; ill have a look but im not bothered- i enjoy the personal gain of blogging either way =).

I think if anything it should provide inspiration cos blogs are a means of writting your thoughts in dated stone.

Larísa said...

@Gnomeaggedon: Yeah, I guess it’s a world in itself, maybe it’s just that I don’t fit into it. Even if I’m running a virtual pub, I’m not much of a bar person. It’s nice to have a chat with a person, but throwing out one-liners to 100 random people who you don’t know if they’re reading… Hm… Don’t really get it.

@DeftyJames: Thank you. I think I’m with you in this one. Long winded chats is fine with me. Hitting on the opposite sex in a bar is not. What makes me a little bit worried I guess is when I find that more and more of the WoW bloggers are hanging around in the bar. I don’t get the point, but I DO think I’ll be more and more cut off from the other guys in the long run. Or rather: cut off from the twittering and BA chatting bloggers. But there still are a few other outsiders around. That’s a comforting thought.

@Aurik: But what’s the POINT in telling everyone “gone to get some sugar?” There’s something here I’m missing. I feel like an analphabet.

@Holydiscipline: Ah, I guess I’m not a twittering personality. Just as DeftyJames pointed out. I think I get to know the bloggers through their blogs. I have looked at the twitterthings posted on a their blogs to see what I’m missing. And the one-liners I’ve seen so far definitely haven’t looked as something indispensible.

@Klinderas: When you choose to do something, as twittering, you make a priority and choose not to do other things. Personally I try to comment pretty much on other blogs – not the least on new blogs, where no one else ever comments. Making that first greeting comment to a newborn blogger. That sort of things. It doesn’t take many seconds but it’s something I choose to do – instead of twittering what I’m having for breakfast.

@Samodean: and as usual I have no idea of what epic thing you’re talking about… At least I think that you twittering and chatting people should be aware of that a chunk of your readers don’t understand those references.

@Thedoctor: thank you! I hope there will be a spot for me too, the non-twittering, non-chatting gnome…

@Spinksville: actually I don’t think it will happen soon. My workflow doesn’t allow it, and when I’m home there isn’t any room for it either. But as you say, never say never. Who knows what the community and the internet is like in a year?

@Klepsacovic: actually the in game conversations in guild chat and with friends sometimes give me sparks of inspiration that eventually will end up in blog posts. But it won’t satisfy my need for creative writing, my need to rant about things, my cravings for writing just for the fun of it, this outlet when the brain needs more space, as BRK puts it in his new blog.
About BlogAzeroth: I hope you’ve seen the BA forum? If not, there’s a link to the bottom right of my blog. Follow it. Register at the forum (it’s open for bloggers). Then you’ll get access to some member-only departments of the forum. In one of those you’ll find information about the BA Chat – where to find it, how to join it. When I’ve popped in there there have often been some 10-15 people in this chat room. Some of them active, some of them AFK. But as I said in the post, I haven’t been able to make it work out for me so my visits are very short and random. The most active chatters seem to know each other very well, my guess is that they spend VERY much time chatting there. As a newcomer and low-attender I felt a little bit offside (which is natural). So I’d better stick to my place under my rock. It’s cosy and safe there, you know!

@Vape: “ Human interaction hasn't become that shallow. Yet.” That’s true. But the “yet” thing is also true and it makes me a little bit sad. I feel like a grumpy old lady, but to me it seems like people are more and more lazy when it comes to reading something that has more depth than a pool of rain water or is longer than your own nose. We’re heading into a world of one-liners.

@Rosi: well, not mine! I’m a free passenger! :)

@Scotty: Yeah, they have different purposes and as I’ve noticed by those comments, the chatters and twitterers are very much excited about their newly found channels. But as I pointed out above – our time and energy isn’t unlimited. Even though a twitter line will only take you 20 seconds to write, it’s 20 seconds you could have used commenting on another blog or taking care about the commenters on your own blog… It’s all about priorities.

@Vlad: no, I don’t have the time either. I seriously can’t understand how you twitter guys make it, unless you’re all unemployed.

@Ben: It’s a matter of when it will die… You’re probably right, but did you have to say it so bluntly?

@Daria: it’s probably connected somehow. I don’t send many text messages either… I know how to do it though, I’m not THAT old… :)

@Darraxus: thank you! It’s good to know that there’s another blogger who’s left out in the cold.

@Ixobelle: Yay! The Great Ixobelle is with me! /Hug!

@Faulsey: Hm… Maybe people who’re not satisfied with their social situation in game, who haven’t got a raid group/guild to hang around with, will find more pleasure in BA Chat and Twitter? They’ve got a need to vent with someone? Could explain it perhaps.
This said, I must say that I love the community as well. But I can experience it through the blogs themselves.

@Syrana: It’s great to hear it works for you. Maybe I’m just a little bit envious, since I can’t take part of that and I feel a bit left from the party and networking you guys are having.

@Kromus: Many blogs nowadays publish their twitter thing on their blogs. For instance Gnomeaggedon has a link to his twitter posts: http://twitter.com/Gnomeaggedon. From there you can get to the twittering of other bloggers. Click around and you’ll see.
Blog Azeroth: follow the link down to the right of this site. I think it’s about time you find the forum. Even if you don’t want to use the chat room, you should introduce your blog in the forum so people get to know about your existence. There’s a lot of great information and inspiration in there for newborn bloggers, so register and check it out!