As Twitter-mania continues to spread and new social media tools battle for dominance in an already saturated marketplace, a curious debate has arisen pitting Twitter vs. the blogosphere. Yesterday, Joseph Jaffe, a thought leader in the social media movement, stated that blogging is dying and Twitter is to blame.
Joseph argues that Twitter’s form of micro-blogging is reducing our desire and even our ability to create and participate in dialogue that is both distributed and extended (something found within traditional blogs). While in many ways I agree that Twitter exploits our society’s “information-junkie” culture, characterized by an increasingly short attention span, I feel that Twitter actually helps me organize and find value in the gobs of information available.
This leads back to one of the basic uses of social media: organization. Twitter acts as a filtering system from which I can select from multiple sources of information and determine whether what is being posted is worth a good read. How do I decide whether its worth my time? The micro-blog. These short 140-character summaries serve the same purpose that an abstract might serve on a lengthy research report. I can evaluate the information and decide whether I will find value by clicking through to access the extensive long-form thought.
As Fred Wilson stated today at the 140 Characters Conference in New York, the value of Twitter “is in the power of the passed link.” In many ways the micro-blogging service acts as a portal to generate traffic to pages around the web through the posting of links and summaries of their content, much like Google or Bing. What differentiates Twitter from these search engines, is its innate ability to generate traffic to blogs and personal pages of individuals instead of corporations or news sites.
Before I utilized Twitter, Google was my go-to source for scouring information, most of the time generating search results that led to editorials, news stories, and published information. While that’s all and good, now I can use Twitter to access information from thought-leaders, industry executives, CEOs, people you would normally pay good money to see speak at a conference or trade show. So while some may argue that Twitter is killing the traditional blog, I couldn’t disagree more as I continue to delve into my dynamic professional network of people, leaving the static website in the past.